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Architectural Model Making Techniques and Tutorial (a step-by-step model build)

In this tutorial, I demonstrate architectural model making techniques by building a simple study model from start to finish. I’ll walk you through each step along the way offering tips, tricks and the reasoning behind the techniques and methodology I use to build models.
We’ll follow the template outlined in parts 1 through 4 of the series, beginning with:
1 – Defining the model’s purpose. The model I build in the video is a study model and as such it isn’t perfect. It’s meant to be used as a design tool.
2 – We move to choosing a scale for the model. I found that 3/16″=1′-0″ had the right balance for our purposes; both detailed a sketchy.
3 – Next, we constructed a simple base for the architectural model to rest on. We used limestone tile for ours, but you should watch part 4 of the model making series for other ideas.
4 – From there we choose materials: chipboard (1/16″ + 1/32″) and basswood scraps will be used to build the model walls, structure, roof and details. Inexpensive materials ensure you’ll treat the model as a design tool and not be afraid to modify the composition.
5 – Next, it’s on to fabrication. Here I list tips about cutting, blade management, gluing and ways to keep your model clean.
6 – We end by discussing the details I’ve added including fine layers of chipboard, carpet samples to simulate turf, coir matting to represent landscape elements, tracks, gutters and bracing.

For more on the tools, equipment, and materials I use to construct models please see: http://thirtybyforty.com/architectural-model-making/

// GEAR I USE //

* Canon 70D: http://amzn.to/29klz7k

* Canon 24mm f2.8 Lens: http://amzn.to/29l7ac5
* Canon 40mm f2.8 Lens: http://amzn.to/29x2QcI

* Rode VideoMic Pro (hotshoe mtd.): http://amzn.to/29qlNM3
* ATR-2100 USB (dynamic mic): http://amzn.to/2dFDaKp

* Prismacolor Markers: http://thirtybyforty.com/markers
* Timelapse Camera: http://thirtybyforty.com/brinno
* AutoCAD LT: http://amzn.to/2dxjMDH
* SketchUp PRO: http://amzn.to/2cRcojz
* HP T120 Plotter: http://amzn.to/2dBGf1O
* Adobe CC Photography (Photoshop/Lightroom) Plan: http://amzn.to/2dhq5ap

* Architect + Entrepreneur Startup Toolkit: http://thirtybyforty.com/SPL

Please watch: “Inside My Sketchbook + An Architect’s Sketching Tools”


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  1. Hello sir. I've gone through lots of your videos and… your model making and your thought process seem to work out for rectilinear designs very well. I myself love curvature and abstract concepts. Involving this in box models can aid in aesthetics… can you introduce a proper method to construct curvilinear architecture? (PS: Your videos are so helpful… thank you!)

  2. I really appreciate a physical model, you just don’t see enough architects using them as a design tool these days. A sign of the times I guess. Thanks for the video, takes me back to architecture school and the last time I made a physical model. I think you may have inspired me to use less sketch up and more cardboard and glue.

  3. Mr.Kreative The Creative Engineer

    What are the materials did you use?

  4. Spray mount???

  5. Türkçe alt yazı eklermisiniz ?

  6. I’m a senior in high school and have decided I want to be an architect. You’re videos are incredibly informative and helpful! Thank you!

  7. I wish I had watched this when I was in school. Great video!

  8. Fantastically informative video. Has anyone here tried modelling curved glasswork?

  9. What materials are best for creating the interior and the outside?

  10. It doesn't happen that often that I watch a video and instantly subscribe…but today I did.

  11. hello !

  12. Just finished my first year of College at 36 years old. So far its been mostly odds and end courses that I need to meet the University's Core requirements, but I start my Design program this Fall. I find your videos highly informative. Thank you.

  13. its really great to watch your videos, i would like to know the name of the material which you use to make the models. by saying a model i mean to ask about the material used to make stuff like chair, bed rest all included and the walls and ceiling as well

  14. Mariyah Al Junaibi

    Great video thanks. Where can I get supertrees??

  15. Wow!! what a breath of fresh air your video was! I am a first year landscape architect student 100% online. This video was very useful to me as we are just starting to construct basswood study models. We already have used cardboard models and that came with a video. I still cannot achieve perfect cuts, I guess even model building requires practice to master.It could be in the knife too, right now all I have is an exacto knife. I hope some day I will be able to build perfect models as illustrated in your video.

  16. Could you do a video on how you stay on top of the work, I'm an architecture student and I always end up falling behind when the crit deadline approachs

  17. Andres Alberto Rojas Radrigan

    Do you own a Laser cutter.??? Can you make a video about that.?

  18. Im not to sure how much this can be done is thissubject but is there any interior techineques for interior details?

  19. Model making it's my only weakness ! And you help me a lot ! Thank you !

  20. May i ask, what did he say he used for the trees?

  21. It's hard but I can

  22. How would you model thick walls like adobe, straw bale, stone, and the like?

  23. I know this sounds stupid, but where do you get chipboard? I searched the local art supply store website and came up empty.

  24. it would be so much more helpful if there were subtitles marking out the metric measurements to your inch system

  25. What kind of laser cutter is that?

  26. your amazing thanks for sharing

  27. wao! this inspiring and educative,