Architectural Model Making, Tools, Techniques and Materials

An Architectural Model is essential for the study of scale, shape and form. It is a scale model, used to illustrate a physical representation of an entity. Such models are created as miniatures, designed to provide the look and feel of the real object and its interaction with external conditions, without having to see it in reality. This is almost like a simulation.

Before you can create your model:

you require certain basic tools such as follows

. Technical pencils or HB pencils for drafting and marking on the material that will be used
. Cork backed ruler for taking measurements
. Breakaway utility knives to change the edge when the knife dulls
. X-acto knife for precision and accurate cuts
. Self-healing cutting matte to absorb the knife tip as well as protect the surface
. T-square or 90-45 triangle to render horizontal lines and angles respectively
. Scotch tape or masking tape including wet and dry glue to hold the model together.

You will also need pliers to remove unwanted material stuck on your model.

The material used for creating architectural models could be simple paper products such as foam core, poster board or wood. Each material has its own unique advantage and must be used appropriately.


For instance, the foam core offers strength since it does not bend and has a large width, hence can be used to build walls or spaces where you require the thickness. However the cut has to be precise and given its white color, it can be tough on maintenance. On the contrary, the poster board is flexible, economical and can be easily manipulated to suit your model.


The chipboard comes in various thickness, as a result has varying strengths. It also comes in neutral shades and is easy to use. Wood is a great choice for finer models, but heavy on the pocket. It is available in small sheets, so you need to think through about joining the links. You will require professional tools to cut through thick wood and make those fine cuts.

Depending on requirement and budget-

. glass
. clay
. Styrofoam
. acetate
and acrylic can also be used to build the model.

Before you can build your model, you must understand your audience and clearly establish the purpose of the model. Next, fix the scale or ratio of the model to the real object, depending on what you want to showcase.


For example, in smaller scales, you may not be able to show a lot of detail. Architectural models should be displayed on a solid base with a right choice of colors, else monochrome is a safer option.

Today using specific computer based tools, you can easily create 3D animation of models with the perspective principles including landscaping and movement of people to give it a real world feel. Where clients are unable to visualize the complexity of a project, 3D animation solutions provide accurate look and feel of the object in the real world. Architectural visualization is time consuming and labor intensive, but it is the future.

 Architectural Model Making, Tools, Techniques and Materials
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Architectural Model Making, Tools, Techniques and Materials
An architectural model is essential for the study of scale, shape and form. Architectural visualization is time consuming and labour intensive, but it is the future.
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Veetil Digital
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