I have lost count on how many 3D modeling softwares there are out in the market at the moment. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on which 3D modeling software is the best one. As for me, I find Sketchup easier to use as most of my projects are mostly "orthogonal and boxy" to say the least.

I often tell my students how fortunate they are to have been privileged to live in this generation where they can selectively choose from a myriad of design tools to help them communicate their ideas effectively. When I look back on my university days at Deakin University, everything was analogue and the only tools that I employed were my sketches and study models, which I relied heavily to get my design ideas across.

I enjoy making study models and holding them in my hands while squinting my eyes for better focus. What I like most about physical models is that they can be highly interactive. I can turn around a full 360 degrees of a model and select the view from which I experience it, making the process of investigation, revision and refining ideas much more spontaneous and intuitively. I am in the opinion that model making should be part of every design process, even more so in the design studios and workshops of every architectural schools. Nothing beats the pleasure of seeing your idea materialized into a tangible form right in front of your sight.


study model

Model credit: Yeo Pik Qin


In his book, "Designing With Models," Criss B.Mills classifies study models into two different groups - namely, primary and secondary. Primary models are abstract in concept and are used to investigate different levels of complexity in the design process while secondary models are employed to look at particulars building or site components. The author further categorizes the two groups into several model types: (i) Primary - sketch, diagram, concept, massing, solid/void, development and presentation models; and (ii) Secondary - site contour, site context/urban, entourage/site foliage, interior, section, facade, framing/structure, detail/connections.


concept model sketch

Model credit: Choon Han, Yin Huei & Nathaniel


Different techniques are employed to provoke different thought processes that eventually results in ideas of greater insight and creative solutions.



A Collection of Leon Battista Alberti's Work




Recommended books on model making:

  1. Designing with Models: A Studio Guide to Architectural Process Models
  2. Model Making (Architecture Briefs)
  3. Architectural Modelmaking
  4. Model Making for Architects


Quotation source: Quoted in Matt Driscoll, "Model Making for Architects" 

Image credits:

Santa Maria Novella - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Santa_Maria_Novella.jpg

Palazzo Rucellai - https://i.ytimg.com/vi/MHuUBkyF8KI/maxresdefault.jpg

Pienza - http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/aroundtuscany/files/2013/09/cattedrale.jpg

Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini - http://www.alberghitipiciriminesi.it/foto/tempioMalatestiano.jpg


Quote of the day

My house is my refuge, an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience.

Luis Barragan