The architecture scale model is not dead and still has more value than money can buy! The technological advances in studying and presenting architecture should be taken advantage of whenever possible and those words just came from a visualizer who works in watercolor. Computer graphics (CG) are many and dominate most conversations on this topic and for good reason. CG visualization has gotten to the point that anyone with a free copy of Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google) can produce a walk through animation of even highly complex projects. Truth be told, in house sketch up work has taken a huge amount of work from independent artists as firms loose sight of using great imagery and in place use what is easy if not as visually pleasing or memorable.
How does all this technology have an effect on model makers? A picture is worth more than a thousand words…here is Mark Zuckerburg studying a physical model of Gehry’s new design for the FaceBook Menlo Park Campus. How could Gehry’s office otherwise have presented and discussed their design with a client? The possibilities are endless. Gehry’s office has its own spin off called Gehry Technologies and one of their products is Digital Project Designer a 3d design program! “His office is a giant warehouse overflowing with handmade, wooden models juxtaposed with state-of-the-art architecture software (some of which is designed by Frank’s in-house team)” says Everett Katigbak, Facebook’s Environmental Design Manager.
So why then a scale model? The reason is simple, despite being able to show off a project with the most advanced tools possible nothing compares to actually looking over the physical model. Being larger than a subject helps the mind and body be able to grasp mentally and physically in a way that no other medium can do. Money, talent and resources being no constraint, a physical scale model can still be the best tool!