The world is filled with so many beautifully designed buildings that it is pretty impossible to say which one is the best. Architecture is not only an art but is the key element behind all these stunning buildings. However, do you know that one core element of architecture was architectural models?

What Is an Architectural Model?

File:Architectural model condo interior.jpg - Wikipedia

The world is undoubtedly filled with many breath-taking and beautiful buildings, with some that even defied and challenged the Laws of Gravity as established by Newton. However, architecture is not everyone’s cup of tea.

When we look at these stunning structures, don’t we often wonder how they came to be? Well, I think that the keys to the success of these building projects are the architects’ knowledge, talent, and skills.

But, another question that arises is: how do the architects bring the designs that are in their minds into life? The answer is simple. Architects use physical architectural models to designate the ideas that originated in their minds.

So, in layman’s terms, an architectural model refers to a physical and 3D representation of a structure. It is a great tool that is used to communicate architectural ideas and can also be used during the stages of the building design. Besides, this type of scale model is highly appreciated and considered as an object of beauty by certain observers.

The History of Architectural Models

Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas | Essay | The Metropolitan  Museum of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Architectural models have a rich and long history.

  • The first fired-clay model of building was made around 4600 BC. However, as per researchers, the model was not used to represent architectural ideas but was instead found buried as funerary objects.
  • One of the earliest architectural models includes a model of a pottery building that was made up of soil embryos and had a resemblance to wood pavilions. This model was made during the Han Dynasty in China.
  • Another old model was found in Malta (particularly at the Tarxien Temples) and was placed in an archaeology museum in Valletta.
  • It was not until the fifteenth century that architectural models were started to be used for construction projects. Back then, the main objective was to use these models to create designs as realistic as possible.
  • Did you know that during the Renaissance period, architectural models were widely used? And the greatest example is the Model of Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower.
  • It was only in the late twentieth century that a link was made between fine art and architecture. Architects started to use 3D models to represent their abstract level of ideas. Sometimes, models of unbuildable designs were created only for visionary purposes and to make the fantasy appear more real. And I have to mention how the model of Kiesler Endless House fulfilled the visual desire of the public back in 1959.
  • And, obviously nowadays, with the CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and advanced model-making techniques such as laser cutting machine and 3D printing, high-quality models with unparalleled detail and precision can be created. In fact, models are fabricated in less time and have a higher and better degree of detail compared to those of long ago. And most of these models are used for urban planning and architectural design of homes, hotels, resorts, office buildings, retail spaces, educational institutions and other buildings.

What Is the Purpose of Architectural Models?

Business people having a meeting in office with laptop and architectural  models – Stockphoto

  • Models can sell a project: Architects use the 3D models for project visualization so as to sell the project idea to a client.
  • Models can save both time and money: It is evident that a model can guide contractors by pinpointing any possible construction challenges. The 3D visualization helps them to identify and address specific issues and consequently saving time and money.
  • Models can help with fundraising: Moreover, a well-built architectural model can inspire the confidence, enthusiasm and understanding of investors and can help to raise money to finance the project. Besides, the model allows the donors to see exactly where their money will be going.

If you liked this article, please share your comments and don’t forget to come back for part 2.