Architectural models in context: creativity, skill and spectacle

An AHRC-funded research network hosted at the V&A. Instagram & Tweet @ArchModelsNet

About the Project

This 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.

Context

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.

Aim

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 and on-line resources will be developed on architectural models for public and professional audiences.

Outcomes

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.

Project Outputs

Architectural Network Events

A series of three workshops for the core partners and invited collaborators will take place in London, Munich and Paris; comprising presentations, visits to collections and visits to architectural and model making studios. These workshops will promote the exchange of ideas, identify knowledge gaps and lay the groundwork for future collaborations. Further details of public events on architectural models will be posted here in due course.

Project updates
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18 April 2018
Architectural Models?
This post has been written by Vanessa Norwood, one of the leading curators of architecture in the UK. Vanessa is a Network Partner in Architectural models in context: creativity, skill and spectacle, an AHRC-funded research network hosted at the V&A.  It could be said that the claim I am about to make is a step too far. […]
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27 March 2018
Experimental Modelling
The Architectural Association is a Network Partner in Architectural models in context: creativity, skill and spectacle, an AHRC-funded research network hosted at the V&A. This post has been written by Ed Bottoms, Archivist and Tutor at The Architectural Association. In 2013 one of the Architectural Association’s students constructed a giant model of an imaginary favela, inhabited […]
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House of many stories model 4be0b504e3649f560cb901a3500f5772 e1519815972990
28 February 2018
Architectural Models in context: creativity, skill and spectacle
A new International Research Network, funded by the AHRC, has launched at the V&A, led by Dr Simona Valeriani, Head of Early Modern Studies on the V&A/RCA History of Design programme, as Principal Investigator and Dr Olivia Horsfall Turner, Senior Curator of Designs, as Co-Investigator. This Research Network – Architectural Models in context: creativity, skill […]
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The Team
Dr Simona Valeriani
Senior Tutor, V&A/RCA History of Design

Simona Valeriani is Senior Tutor on the MA in the History of Design run by the V&A and the Royal College of Art (RCA). She is a building archaeologist and historian of technology, her research centres on early modern material culture with a particular ... see more

Dr Olivia Horsfall Turner
Senior Curator Designs, V&A

Olivia Horsfall Turner is Senior Curator of Designs at the V&A and the V&A's Lead Curator for the V&A+RIBA Architecture Partnership. She is in charge of the V&A's designated national collection of design drawings, including the collection of architect ... see more

Dr Niamh Bhalla
Research Network Coordinator, V&A

Niamh Bhalla is an art historian who uses contemporary theory to open up fresh insights into the embodied experience of art and architecture in the classical and medieval periods. She explores themes such as space, memory, the body and gender in relat ... see more

Edward Bottoms
Archivist and Tutor, Architectural Association

Edward Bottoms is the Archivist at the Architectural Association, where he also teaches in the History and Theory Studies and Professional Practice programmes. The AA Archives have a diverse collection of architectural models, from 1930s pieces constr ... see more

Dr Livio De Luca
Director, MAP Laboratory, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Architect, PhD in engineering, HDR in Computer Science, Livio is research director at CNRS and director of the MAP (Models and simulations for architecture and cultural heritage) Laboratory. Scientific advisor and member of several national and intern ... see more

Helen Dorey (OBE)
Deputy Director and Inspectress, Sir John Soane’s Museum

Helen Dorey is Deputy Director and Inspectress of Sir John Soane's Museum in London. An expert on Soane, his collections and his architectural legacy, she oversaw the reinstatement of Soane's Model Room, which reopened to the public in 2015. Sir John ... see more

Dr des. Teresa Fankhänel
Curator, Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München

Teresa Fankhänel is a curator at the Architekturmuseum der TU München. She has been interested in architectural models for several years. Previously, she was the curatorial assistant for the exhibition "The Architectural Model: Tool, Fetish, Small Uto ... see more

Professor Dr Sabine Frommel
Director of Studies, Art History of the Renaissance, École Pratique des Hautes Études, PSL, Sorbonne (Section of Historical and Philological Studies).

Sabine Frommel is the director of the Research Unit 'Histoire de l'art, des représentations et de l'administration dans l'Europe moderne et contemporaine' (HISTARA). Her research focuses on the history of early modern architecture (15th – 18th centuri ... see more

Professor Dr Andres Lepik
Director, Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität, München

Andres Lepik completed his doctoral studies on The Architectural Model in Italy (1353 – 1500) at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome. Since then he has published and taught on the history and theory of architecture exhibitions and contemporary developme ... see more

Dr Mark Morris
Head of Teaching, Architectural Association, London

Mark Morris is Head of Teaching at the Architectural Association where he lectures on history and theory. A recipient of the RIBA Research Trust Award, a Graham Foundation grant, and the American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Medal, he is author ... see more

Vanessa Norwood
Independent Curator and Consultant

One of the leading curators of architecture in the UK, Vanessa has commissioned and curated a range of exhibitions that celebrate architecture in a wider context. She was co-curator of the exhibition Venice Takeaway for the British Pavilion at the 13 ... see more

Dr Kent Rawlinson
Dr Kent Rawlinson Head of Collections & Public Programming, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Kent Rawlinson is Head of Collections & Programmes at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which holds one of the largest and most significant collections of architectural material in the world, including a wide variety of models. The RIB ... see more

Matthew Wells
PhD student, V&A / Royal College of Art (RCA)

Matthew's PhD research, supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award, investigates the role architectural models played in professional practice during the 19th century. Following architectural training (Liverpool ... see more