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This year was the first running of the POC in Architecture Model Making Workshop, which was in collaboration with architectural practice Foster + Partners, in London. The workshop ran for two weeks, with five evenings held at Foster + Partners campus for students to explore the possibilities of model making in a large and well facilitated practice. Students who joined the workshop came from institutions across the UK including, University of Loughborough, Manchester School of Architecture, University of Cambridge, UCL, University of Bath, Coventry University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Nottingham and Newcastle University.

These students also ranged in level of experience, some were first year Part 1 students, others had just finished their BA Hons final year, and some going through their MArch degree. This allowed students to learn from each other, and work together as if in practice, as a team with each member bringing something different to the design output. The week was started by an introduction to F+P by Senior Partner, Armstrong Yakubu, who took the students through the main studio of the office which exhibits an array of models made by the in house model makers. He talked through different models, explaining their relevance to the specific project and how model making is important when conveying designs to a client or your internal team.

Armstrong Yakubu talking students through the Ample Campus model

Armstrong Yakubu discussing how models can also be used for understanding context and mapping

Savannah Williams and Yain Ali presenting

The office tour was followed by an introduction to the two week workshop by POC in A Founder Savannah Williams and professional Model Maker Yasin Ali. Students were now able to get into their groups and understand what the weeks would entail. Yasin also gave an induction to the F+P model making workshop space so that students could understand the facilities available and use them appropriately. After this, students went away amongst their groups to begin envisioning their proposal for their client and site. The initial model making evening on the students return was an opportunity for them to explore concept models and test ideas, whilst discussing them with architectural and model making staff. Enabling them to gain knowledge from experienced designers and makers.

Having the time to test ideas and understand the process of model making, also meant students grasped how much time it takes to assemble a model. What is the most efficient way to make a certain type of model? How can I make it look professional and clean within the time frame I have? How do I make my model stay together without showing its joints or gloopy glue? These were some of the things students were able to combat by obtaining advice and guidance from the model making staff at Foster + Partners.

Moments from the model making process in the workshop space

After testing ideas and getting to grips with the process, students had two evenings in the second week of the workshop to create and assemble their final models, which would then be presented at Foster + Parters Hub space. Each group did immensely well to conquer the challenges of working in a new environment, working with people they had never met prior to the workshop, design a proposal together and make a model that illustrated their design.

Each group presented in front of architectural staff and models makers with their models and presentation boards. Below shows each group outcome.

Group One | Worlds End Estate, Chelsea

The brief for this team was to create a new way of living, with their site being the Worlds End Estate which is in the district of Chelsea. Their client was Knight Frank and they had to design a residential proposal that differed from anything the client had previously done before. They focused on bringing greenery and biodiversity to the site, whilst introducing an organic language allowing residents to grow their own plants.

Photo of Group One

Photo of Group One and Armstrong Yakubu

Group Two | iMAX, Waterloo

This group had TFL as their client and the site was the iMAX, which sits in the middle of a busy junction in Waterloo. Their brief and challenge was to make this area more pedestrian friendly, with the choice to either remove the iMAX, keep it or build something new. The group decided that they wanted to keep the building and adapt it and its context to create a new walkable ramp that lead people to a beautiful rooftop garden, a place to watch the city. Amongst this, they turned the underpasses of the iMAX into gallery spaces to create a more pleasant existing pedestrian experience below ground.

Photo of Group Two

Photo of Group Two’s model

Group Three | Empty Site, Canary Wharf

The final group had the National Lottery as their client and their site was in the heart of the city of Canary Wharf. Known for is tower consumed and business like context, the brief was to bring something to the area that introduced culture and arts. The group created a low-rise design that calmly inhabited the site with a courtyard geometry, bringing art workshops to the area from independent creatives. Amongst the art workshop were gallery spaces for those of the city life to enjoy. They also had a changing facade which was generated from an African print pattern that vertically ran along the facade of the building.

Photo of Group Three

Photo of Group Three’s model

All photos taken by Foster + Partners

Overall, the workshop was a success to introduce students to a practice that is of such a large entity and see how staff use models to illustrate real projects, whilst learning from experienced architects and model makers. Students have said that the workshop was insightful, engaging and fun. POC in Architecture gives a big thank you to Foster + Partners and its volunteers for making the workshop a great experience and engaging with all the students, with a massive congratulations to all the students for developing a proposal in two weeks and assembling their models so professionally.

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