The Importance of Model Making in Architecture

One of the most crucial aspects of a successful architectural undertaking is properly creating a miniature model of your design. Professional and aspiring architects alike know this fact very well, as creating models of buildings allows architects to bring their imagination to life and project it into the minds of their clients.

A 2D sketch, while crucial, cannot ever achieve the level of insight that a 3D model can. When you are missing out on a whole dimension of details and the articulation of said details through real-life depiction, it’s clear why model making takes such an elemental stage for architecture.

Architecture Modelling

There are several fundamental reasons why model-making is vital for architects in 2021. Models allow for happy mistakes, breakthroughs, and ideas that come from the unconscious mind as it’s right there in front of you instead of being inside a screen. The list can go on and on with highly advanced concepts. To keep the article within a reading length, we will focus on the most common reasons that do not come off too complicated, even for the average reader.

Architectural Models Boost Creativity

Creativity Boost by Architectural Modelling

Models are more accessible to an architect. They can walk around it and view it from different directions much more efficiently, and the models emulate a more realistic scenario, unlike the 3D software in a computer like CAD.  Yes, you can also do all of those things in 3D software inside a screen, but the experience isn’t the same when you have it physically in front of your eyes. It’s important to mention that these models are just as much for an architect as it is for the firm as well as the stakeholders and clients.

It stands out as a vital part of the creative processes that an architect goes through. Seeing the vision of a creative induvial come into physical form also boosts their motivation while providing them with the space to improve things on the go. Previously unseen flaws, untapped potential, etc., are commonly discovered in the process of making a physical miniature model.

Models Show Features that a sketch can’t.

Features of Architectural Modelling

Architectural model can highlight features that a computer-generated image or a composite sketch cannot, which is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why architectural models are considered highly important. If you want to demonstrate to someone how a specific element within the model will work in real life, having a miniature model will help you in ways that computer software cannot. Take, for example, the demonstration of windows within a building that allows light or illumination to filter through an area; models are ideal for this kind of situation. A model much like the digital 3D model also helps you demonstrate the proportions of a building and exemplify a clear sense of scale.

Models may often be needed for legal reasons.

It’s known that models are often needed to approve some projects legally. They are not just there for the aesthetic or a demonstration. A key component required for some legal processes is a physical miniature model. People like permit vendors and city planners will invariably ask to see models first as models provide a good idea of whether a planned structure will be suitable and meet specific requirements. Local authorities and city planners like having a model because it allows them to scrutinise the proposal of architects more. If you do not have a model in the circumstances like these, you are sure to be denied permission for further planning.

Models also Serve as a Demo.

Models can often serve as a visual demonstration to gain more customers. This is a common practice in other industries unrelated to architecture. The music industry, gaming industry, and even the movie industry follow a similar methodology. Movie trailers are released before the actual movie to get customers excited. A shorter demo track of music is often sent to the record companies for the music industry to persuade them to green light tracks. For the gaming industry, you often see beta and alpha versions of a game being released to the players to get them hooked while also assessing the bugs that might be still in the game.

Models are required for Multi-purposed and mixed-use projects.

Architectural Model Sample

When designing a project that has a mixed-use like public buildings, airports, hospitals, or convention centers, making a model is essential. A model has to be made with accessibility in mind, and it has to demonstrate if it’s easy to navigate within the building. Another important consideration is how the facility will incorporate all the needed uses and how things will fit within a particular environment. Often a physical miniature model is the only way to demonstrate such things effectively.

It helps communicate and convey ideas easier.

The investors and the clients have a better time understanding a physical model than a digital one. Making models is effective and efficient in regards to the communication of abstract ideas. You can also make changes to the final design before things are in effect.

3D models Vs. Miniature models

3D Models Vs Miniature Models

Both have their uses, and they work in conjunction with one another. 3D models are easy to make, and with the improvement in software over the years, it’s much easier to model and make architectural design these days. You can also modify things on the fly without having to recreate the whole model, and once you have a model that’s satisfying to you, 3D printers can be used to give them a physical form.


Both 3D computer models and physical miniature models are fundamental to architecture in 2021. There is a plethora of computer software that makes things more manageable, and the rendering of physical miniature models is also made easier thanks to technology. It doesn’t seem that any of the mediums will perish any time soon.

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