University of Technology Sydney

11285 Advanced Modelmaking

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Architecture
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks


This subject extends students' basic modelling construction skills and introduces them to different modelling techniques and media. Students highlight the model's conceptual, generative and illustrational ability to convey design ideas across a range of scales. The definition of model in this subject is broad and the curriculum may include the notion of the model in both its physical and digital forms, with emphasis on the production of physical artefacts. Students develop a material sensibility that reveals the tactile, visual and structural potentials of any selected materials. The class explores additive, reductive and casting modelling techniques using diverse materials. Where appropriate, students extend their existing knowledge of software to incorporate advanced digital fabrication technologies, including milling, rapid prototyping and laser cutting.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. explore the value of physical models as an integral part of a design process for both academic and professional contexts
2. understand and apply a variety of three-dimensional model construction process and techniques
3. experiment with materials and construction techniques so as to develop a sophisticated appreciation of materials and their qualities, both as individual elements and when assembled
4. employ a physical model based working method that conceives of the subject as an object laboratory where ideas and techniques are workshopped and developed each week
5. demonstrate an advanced level of representational expertise across traditional and new media techniques to better facilitate participation in contemporary debates and modes of working both within the academy and the profession
6. an effective communicator of architectural ideas and formal propositions, with a focus on visual and verbal modes of communication.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Undertake a critically directed, self-aware mode of disciplinary thinking (A.2)
  • Constructively contribute to peer learning by communicating through various modes of oral, written and graphic communication (C.2)
  • Display leadership qualities throughout the production and delivery of the project (C.3)
  • Develop innovative approaches by challenging disciplinary conventions (I.1)
  • Apply a sophisticated understanding of architectural scale to aid the development of an architectural proposition (P.2)
  • Evidence a three-dimensional understanding of spatial sequence and organisation (P.4)
  • Evidence disciplinary knowledge through the application of physical and/or digital mediums (P.6)
  • Employ an iterative approach to learning using disciplinary specific research methods (R.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is taught by practitioners with high levels of expertise in architecture, design and other associated and relevant arts based practices. The overall staff student contact equates to three (3) hours per week.

Learning activities – within and outside formal class contact: This subject is offered as a faceto-face workshop learning experience incorporating hands on reviews and demonstrations. This may be occasionally supplemented with an illustrative lecture. Students are expected to acquire hands-on experience with all materials and techniques during the course and for this reason the learning activities revolve around the production of a series of project-based and design focused physical models. These projects are devised to promote an understanding of the complex negotiation of the pragmatic, technical, intellectual and creative practices and may be undertaken and assessed individually or in teams.

Feedback will involve group discussions, and act as the primary mode of formative feedback. Formal feedback on assessment items will typically involve short presentations and critique of work presented to staff and peers. Students should support this work through a range of alternative supporting formats including text, images and/or audio-visual presentations. It is expected that students refine work undertaken in the workshop sessions and all formal activities are to be complemented by independent student research and exploration.

Students are required to attend all sessions, and to follow the suggested progress patterns. Students are also required to actively participate in the group discussions during the studio teaching.

Content (topics)

The subject content will focus on exercises that encourage learning through making. This involves the production of a series of models exploring both materials and techniques, to develop a personal language and professional ability in the subject matter. This process requires an iterative working method where students develop and refine each assignment and aggregate the results into the presented projects.

The content areas include formal explorations into the communicative language of physical models, materiality and development of knowledge, techniques and skills. The learning achieved in respect to these issues will be demonstrated in the two assessed project presentations, which include the results of the modelling exercises and the final exemplary projects. There will also be a research and reflection requirement to demonstrate the ability to consider, contextualise and characterize these work practices.


Assessment task 1: The Model as Material Object


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.2, C.2, C.3, P.2, P.6 and R.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Accuracy and quality of 3D digital model 35 2 P.6
Quality of physical models and prototype studies. 35 4 R.1
Demonstration of fluency in techniques and materials. 10 3 A.2
Quality of oral presentations 5 6 C.2
Graphic supporting material, including drawings, photographs and references 10 5 P.2
Weekly attendance, diligence with work and contribution to discussions 5 6 C.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: The Model as Narrative Object


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3, 5 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.2, C.3, I.1 and P.4

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 60%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Overall concepts for models, material exploration and authorship 40 1 I.1
Demonstration of fluency in techniques and materials 25 3 A.2
Graphic supporting material, including drawings, photographs and references 20 5 P.4
Weekly attendance, diligence with work and contribution to discussions 15 6 C.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Required texts

Recommended texts

Models and Other Spaces, OASE #84 Models Maquettes, NAi Uitgevers, 2011

Models are Real, The Japan Architect #91, Nobuyuki Yoshida, 2013

Supermodels, A+U #522, A+U Publishing, 2014

Displayed Spaces, New means of Architecture Presentation through exhibitions, Spector Books, 2015

Model Making, Conceive, Create and convince, Arjan Karssen and Bernard Otte, Frame Publishers,2013

Architectural Model Making, Nick Dunn, Laurence King Publishing, 2010

The Architectural Model, Tool Fetish Small Utopia,Scheidegger & Spiess, 2012

Abruzzo, Emily + Eric Ellingsen, Jonathan Solomon, Eds. Models. Princeton Architectural Press, 2007, New York.

Aranda, Benjamin & Lasch, Chris. Tooling. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2006. Available electronically at UTS library:

Berkel, Ben Van. UN Studio Fold - Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos. Thames & Hudson, London, 2006. [Call number- 711.409492 BERB]

Blanciak, Franasois. Siteless: 1001 Building Forms. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 2008. [Call number 721- BLAN]

Constant. New Babylon. Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 1974.

Dunn, Nick. Architectural Model Making. Laurence King Publishing, London, 2010.

Ferré, A., Sakamoto,T. and Kubo, M. (eds). The Yokahama Project: Foreign Office Architects. Actar, Barcelona, 2002. [Call number- 725.34 FERR]

Guthrie, David Morrow. Cube. Princeton Architectural Press, 2005, New York.

Hauptman, Jodi. Joseph Cornell: Stargazing in the Cinema. Yale University Press. New Haven 1999.

Lim, C.J. Bio-Structural Analogues in Architecture. BIS Publishers, Amsterdam, 2009. [Call number- 720.105 LIMJ].

Mayne, Thom. Morphosis: Tangents and Outtakes. Artemis Verlags AG, Zurich, 1993.

Mills C.B. Designing With Models: A Studio Guide to Making and Using Architectural Design Models. John Wiley, New York, 2001.

Rollig, Stella. Matt Mullican: Model Architecture. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern DE, 2006.

Seitz, William. The Art of Assemblage. Doubleday and Company, New York, 1961.

Ursprung, Philip, Ed. Herzog & De Meuron: Natural History. Lars Müller Publishing, Zurich, 2002.

Vyzoviti Sofia. Folding Architecture: Spatial, Structural & Organisational Diagrams. BIS Publishers, Netherlands, 2003. [Call number- 721 VYZO]

Vyzoviti Sofia. Supersurfaces. BIS Publishers, Netherlands, 2006. [Call number- 741.0449 VYZO]

Moure, Gloria. Tàpies: Objects of Time. Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona, 1995.


UTS References: