The algorithm surfaced me a video of an architect explaining why they make scale models and 💥BAM💥 just like that I’m back on my prototyping bullshit. This time we’re learning about the how and why an architect might make a scale model of a project.

The idea of model making for me is to take advantage of this haptic connection between your hands, what you’re making, all the materials, and really create something that you couldn’t have predicted in a sketch.

A prototype exists to make a haptic connection between you and the materials, a 3D sketch. A tactile feel with actual atoms that the sketch could not reproduce. Although these materials are far from the final product, you get a sense of volumes, spaces, and their relationships to each other.

I’m going to try and render these as open spaces so I have volumes which are more solid but I also know that some parts of these are going to be more open. I expect this will spark new ideas. That’s the whole point of physical model making for me.

The prototype model exists intentionally between the pencil and paper sketch and the computer aided drafting and renders. By introducing a creative prototyping process you get an opportunity to explore and find new ideas. “I expect this will spark new ideas” is a much different statement than “Sometimes it sparks new ideas”. The cheap prototype helps inform the more expensive and thorough digitization process.

This is where hot glue really shines because it’s so quick to dry and you can see that it’s quite messy, right, but we don’t care

The reliance on hot glue stood out to me. Of all the available glues, cements, or an epoxy, they use a crude $9 hot glue gun to fashion their fancy architect models. The prioritization is quickness, not letting the tools inhibit progress or exploration. “It’s messy right now, but we don’t care.” More on hot glue…

If you were using wood glue or white glue to glue these surfaces together the dry time would be quite a bit longer. I can glue this in place and have a workable solution in less than 30 seconds

Though I deal with glue code every day of my life, I had never considered that the different types of glue can impact the pace (and quality) of your project. The tools and materials impact the goal.

I had two major takeaways from this video:

  1. Develop a prototyping process with a clear purpose
  2. Find or create tools and materials that allow for speed

From the precut inexpensive Jenga blocks, to the pre-cut slate tile sample roofs, to the fashioning of a corrugated barn door from cardboard; small material hints towards the final product increases the fidelity and essence of the product. “Essence” of a product is a tough concept to define, but this scale model prototype does the job wonderfully, and is a smidge more intentional than using generic LEGO to build a model.