Shaping Space – Architectural Models in context, call for submission

June 17, 2021

Today, the V&A and Building Centre share plans for a new free exhibition, Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed which will open in September 2021 at the Building Centre in Bloomsbury, London, to spotlight the essential yet under-explored role that models play in shaping the spaces we live in.

Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed will examine how models are used as a test-bed for materials experimentation and will touch on themes and debates central to current architectural practice, such as sustainability. Featuring a wide range of architectural models, from historical examples to works by international contemporary practitioners, the exhibition will demonstrate the dual-role of physical and digital model-making in the design process. From super-sized to miniature, visitors will be invited to experience the spectacle of built environments at different scales.

Zero energy estuary island Village V/K 4A model, made by Peter Barber Architects out of clay dredged from the bottom of the river © Peter Barber Architects

Renaissance of craft and values of making in the digital age

This special exhibition will highlight the renaissance of craft and values of making in the digital age, whilst exploring the rise of new technologies in changing the way models are made. It is part of the wider public programme Shaping Space – Architectural Models In Context. It will explore the idea that models can become key tools for multimodal learning, learning through visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic approaches to deepen our understanding of space and scale. The development of innovative methodologies for collections-based research linked with interventions in multimodal learning, embodied learning and learning-through-making aimed at school children and adults are topics the V&A Research Institute have been exploring extensively. The exhibition and public programme will provide a space to share this work with wider audiences.

An international collaborative project

The exhibition builds on research carried out by the AHRC-funded Architectural Models Network (2017-2019), an initiative set up to examine the role of architectural models as part of the creative process in historical and contemporary architectural practice. The core partners in the original network include the V&A, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Architectural Association (AA), Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Architekturmuseum (Technische Universität Munich), the MAP Laboratory (CNRS) and the Sorbonne. You can find out more about this international collaboration here.

Curated by the Building Centre in partnership with Simona Valeriani of the V&A Research Institute, this collaborative exhibition is designed by Roz Barr Architects. The show is generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council with additional support from the Built Environment Trust and the V&A.

The Tin Chapel model © Roz Barr Architects

Open Call

The Building Centre and V&A are calling for the submission of architectural models from around the world. Alongside our Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed exhibition we want to share your models on our digital platforms and social media as part of the wider programme.

Shaping Space will focus on three questions:

  • Why do you make models?
  • How do you make models?
  • Who are models for?

We are inviting you to share models with us that explore these questions, and reveal the diversity and significance of the role of models for a non-professional audience. Your models will be considered for inclusion in the Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed wider programme where they will be shared on our website, social media, and the V&A project blog.

To find out more, visit The Building Centre’s website for instructions of how to submit:

About the author

June 17, 2021

I am Head of Early Modern Studies in the V&A's Research Institute (VARI). The History of Architecture and of Technology are my main research interests. Currently I am working on...

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