Journal | September 2019

The Model


From the monuments of Egypt to the medieval cathedrals of Europe, the culture of model making is a practice dating back thousands of years perhaps even before drawing. Model making remains an established method of testing scale, volume light and proportion. The model crystallises the plan and space and deliver a realistic interpretation of relationships to the site, the landscape and built urban features. The methods of construction and prototyping may have shifted, however the underlying substance of a model remains a compelling medium.


Within architectural academics the subject of representation versus ontology remains a constant debate. Ontology means the study of “being" from the greek word Ontos. A model uniquely conveys “Ontos” perhaps redefined as a sense of scale. It cannot be fudged and is there for all to “experience.

Recently in celebration of my daughter's birthday we took her and a friend to a virtual reality studio. The experience involved donning a headset and strapping on hand controls and flying as an eagle in tandem with other “eagles” through a post apocalyptic ruin of Paris. I’ve proudly never been any good at video games and the experience while a little immersive didn’t really stimulate my imagination for this post apocalyptic world. The problem is that there is too much image and not enough substance.

While cultural commentators continue to predict the sudden, rapid, inevitability of virtual reality, I remain convinced that the model will endure as a method vastly superior at conveying an imagined architecture.

Barkhaus mode; 2 IMG_5034.jpg