The research network sets out to bring together all those interested in the history, current practice and future of architectural model-making. Its intention is to share knowledge, to take stock of the current state of the field and to identify productive areas for future practice and research.
Architectural models are used throughout the design process. Although they have much in common with other 3D representations, the complexity of representing a building, specific questions of scale and their public impact set them apart. Like architectural drawings, they are tools for thought and communication; they help to make invisible design processes visible and they document moments of communication that are otherwise ephemeral. Models, however, uniquely convey the embodied 3D qualities of a building and have been long seen as the most comprehensible form of architectural representation.
The Architectural Models in Context project will help develop a deeper understanding of the role of the architectural model in the design process, both historically and in contemporary practice. It will create an inter-disciplinary knowledge hub for those researching, working with, or interested in models. The project sets out to promote appreciation of the value of models and to promote their documentation, preservation and public display. On-line resources will be developed on architectural models for public and professional audiences.
Whilst the relevance of architectural models is acknowledged by a number of different research and practice-based constituencies – students, architects and designers who use them, model-makers who construct them, curators who look after, display and interpret them, conservators who maintain them, and academics who research them – to date, no forum for knowledge exchange exists; nor is there a comprehensive, searchable resource that lists the institutions in which such collections are housed. The network aims to provide this forum for dialogue and a searchable web-based resource.