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Architectural Model Building

Architectural Model Building, Top 13 Reasons Why It Matters More Than Ever!

Architectural model building is a powerful tool in architecture, design, and construction.

It serves valuable purposes. This article will bring to light the most important ones.

For centuries, architectural design companies use architectural scale models to explore a concept or an idea.

It allows them to visualize a scheme in a plan, elevation, and perspective all at once.o

These scale models help them communicate their vision, ideas, and concepts.

They use it when dealing with clients, stakeholders, and end-users.

Architectural model builders create scale models for proposed and completed construction projects.

These include commercial centers, offices, educational institutions, and government buildings.

It also includes shopping malls, housing projects, hospitals, bridges, and other development plans.

Ronesans Giant Health Campus of building model in Istanbul

Ronesans Giant Health Campus of building the model in Istanbul

Architectural model makers use detailed blueprints, drawings, or sketches to build out the models.

It all depends on the purpose of the models and on what stage of the process they are in.

Then, they plan out the construction process of the model so that everything is seamless.

They also decide on the kind of scale, materials, techniques, and technologies are best.

Architectural building model for Doha Villaggio Mall

Model builder sometimes uses simple monochromatic cardboard boxes.

At other times, they use an array of different materials.

They can create mini landscapes with bushes, grass, and trees.

Many architectural model builders will use human figurines too, or like to include electric lights and other bells and whistles.

In this article, we will take a look at the several purposes of the architectural model making.

Architectural model builder create mini landscapes with trees

Architectural model builder create mini landscapes with trees

But firstly, here are some questions that might be in our minds:

Why do the architectural model builders still rely on the practice of handcrafting physical scale models?

Aren’t there more amazing technological advancements in the industry?

The ability to make 3D-printed models. Computer-aided design. Ultra-high quality 3D renderings.

Even with these technologies, architects still rely on model making. It helps them in various ways. It helps communicate their ideas throughout the design process.

Well, it’s not about rising technology replacing handcrafted models. It’s all about using technology to improve what artists and creative can do with their hands.

Edrington of Macallan new distillery 3D Printed Architectural Building Model

Edrington of Macallan new distillery 3D Printed Architectural Building Model

Technology is a useful tool that allows human creativity to thrive.

Let’s now dive into the different purposes of architectural model building!

The Top 13 Purposes for Architectural Model Building

1. Architectural Model Building Unleashes Creativity.

Architects use the model building because it brings their ideas to life!

It is a form of three-dimensional sketching. It helps them see how light can illuminate certain rooms and spaces. They can analyze the spatial relationships of every form or element of the design.

There are already powerful tools that may help do these things. Virtual reality and ultra-high quality 3D rendering have recently emerged.

But, building models by hand has helped model builder tap creative and unconventional solutions.

These are solutions they could not access when working on paper or on the screen.

Architectural model building project, Museum of the Future.

The architectural model building project, Museum of the Future.

Creating something out of nothing is something innate and almost spiritual and divine.

Creating something with one’s own bare hands accesses inspiration from the soul.

This allows much room for trial and error. It is where sudden breakthroughs can spring forth.

Model making inspires creative ideas that working on computers or papers don’t.

As they said, reverie is as important as technology.

2. Architectural Model Building Becomes a Powerful Communication Tool.

Different professions, disciplines, and industries have their own jargons.

It is hard to communicate ideas when people are using different industry languages.

It is like having people from different continents conversing in different languages!

Architectural models help designers bridge that communication gap with clients, inspectors, stakeholders, etc.

A well-built architectural model is a functional and informative communication tool.

It answers questions and solves potential problems that arise from miscommunications and jargons.

It is something that almost anyone can understand from a design perspective.

Three-dimensional physical models present a convincing means of communicating and exploring design elements.

It helps people understand spatial relationships, materiality, scale, and other design considerations.

Blueprints and sketches cannot communicate those to ordinary observers.

With this, anybody can communicate recommendations and revisions in design and development. It serves as a common language for everyone.

3. Architectural Model Building Helps in Design Review.

During design proposals and bids, clients usually need to make crucial decisions. They need to approve the initial designs before architects can finish the blueprint.

Model builder use models to offer a quick and concrete way to assess the initial design.

It helps get the go signal for creating the blueprints based on the approvals, or it helps point out necessary changes before jumping into the full design.

Ideas put into a 3D model are the easiest to review and understand.

It requires no prior understanding of blueprints. It’s not only a means of communication but a tool for analysis and evaluation.

A scale model helps homeowners and business investors understand a complex project.

It enables them to make assessments and grant approvals. This helps close the deal to begin the project as soon as possible.

A physical model acts as the perfect review devices for anyone who has a say on the final outcome of the project. It allows people to review the project and arrive at better conclusions.

4.Architectural Model Building Anticipates Construction Challenges.

Businesses that invest millions of dollars into a project almost always want architectural models. They want it built early on in the design stage.

There is a practical and economic reason for that.

They want to visualize spatial solutions immediately.

They want to invest large sums of money on a scale model to spot potential flaws in the design.

Architectural model building project, W hotel building model in Dubai

The architectural model building project, W hotel building model in Dubai

So, the 3D model has become an effective problem-solving tool.

It serves as a hedge against further costs and losses that can affect the bottom line. It makes perfect business and financial sense.

5. Architectural Model Building Hastens Project Inspection.

Architectural models are great tools to speed up third-party inspection.

They give a three-dimensional view of the entire project before final approval.

Architectural models are great tools for project review before construction begins.

Different inspectors can use these for analysis and evaluation even before construction starts.

Architectural model building project, Hong Kong International Airport 3nd Runway

The architectural model building project, Hong Kong International Airport Model 3nd Runway

If there are necessary changes, it costs far less to make them in the design phase.

Making extensive changes when construction has started or almost complete costs a fortune.

This purpose alone justifies the need to invest in an accurate architectural model.

It can help point out the flaws in the design before actual construction. An architectural model pays for itself many times over for this reason.

Without an accurate model, decisions cannot be on target to save valuable time and money.

This is crucial for inspection and compliance purposes.

6. Architectural Model Building Helps Fundraising Efforts.

When raising funds for a massive project, people want to see where their money is going.

The architectural model helps people visualize the materialization of their contribution.

Architectural model aides in raising that much-needed funding or investment.

It helps get approval from potential investors, joint-venture partners, stakeholders, clients or users.

It not only inspires them to contribute but to believe in its mission.

With dramatic lighting and other intricate details, it creates a sense of excitement!

It allows people to better visualize how the project will look like when it comes into fruition.

It makes investors own it and stirs a feeling of pride and support, which is important when raising funds. Even if it is only its scaled-down version.

7. Architectural Model Building Builds Project Credibility.

People expect to see models on larger projects. When a large project doesn’t have a model to show, project credibility may come into question.

When people do not get what they expect, it somehow decreases the credibility of the project.

It’s true that an architectural model building is an added cost.

It is a significant investment to spend on a realistic and accurate scale model, but it is almost always worth it.

Architectural model building project, Youth Center for Cultural for Z3A Macau

The architectural model building project, Youth Center for Cultural for Z3A Macau

People know that a large project needs an architectural model for several reasons.

Design review and inspection are only two of those reasons.

So, when a project does not have a 3D model, it makes people think that the entire project is not well thought out.

Or, they might think that the owners are scrimping to save on costs. That does not help in building confidence and credibility in the project.

An architectural model, no matter how simple, shows a strong commitment to a project. This is what people look out for.

8. Architectural Model Building is a Great Presentation Tool.

3D architectural models show how the buildings will look like from all sides and angles.

This makes it useful for casual observers. It helps them interact with the building in ways blueprints don’t allow.

A great model helps persuade government agencies to grant approval.

It helps present a great cause for a worthwhile project.

Hence, they are effective in presentations tools for any occasion.

Architectural model building project, Dan jiang Bridge Model in Tai Wan by Zaha Hadid

The architectural model building project, Dan Jiang Bridge Model in Tai Wan by Zaha Hadid

Architectural buildings are modern-day works of art. Form follows function.

That is a maxim in architecture and design. But, how architects transform open spaces into functional rooms is a wonder in itself!

So, it is rewarding to create architectural models to showcase the beauty of a project.

Nothing beats giving viewers a foretaste of what is to come. An impressive architectural model sells the actual building.

Even before the project has begun. That’s why it is a non-negotiable part of showcasing a new project.

It is a must-have for every presentation and advertising efforts.

Architectural building model project, Colombo Master Plan Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka
Architectural building model project, Colombo Master Plan Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka

9. Architectural Model Building is a Boon for Exhibits.

Architectural models also serve as aesthetic pieces for various venues.

3D models are often central showpieces in entrances and reception areas of buildings. It welcomes visitors and unveils the magnificence of the establishment.

It may also serve as a 3D map for visitors to find their way around the building or the site area.

Realistic models are also wonderful attractions in museums and exhibits.

These are common especially for breathtaking landmarks around the world. Think of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Gherkin in London, The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. They inspire millions to visit the real thing.

But, their impressive scaled replicas around the world draw millions too!

Architectural models are functional works of art. We admire them for their creativity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship. They echo the elegance of the design and almost spring to life with depth, color, and simulations.

3D models are grand masterpieces. You only need to witness one in its most amazing splendor to know what that means.

In the world of architecture and art, these scaled models are next to the real thing.

10. Architectural Model Building is an Effective Educational Tool.

Architectural models are also used by colleges and universities for educational purposes.

These models serve as profound examples for aspiring architects and model builders. These help those who want to learn from the great architects and model builders ahead of them.

Architectural model building project, Moynihan Station in New York by SOM

The architectural model building in New York by SOM, Moynihan Station project

These models also reveal different materials and construction techniques. Students can learn from them and emulate them when crafting their own projects. Models made from a single material present fundamental structures.

Models made from more varied materials can show lighting, piping, or interior design.

These scale models serve as invaluable learning tools for architects and aspiring architects.

They allow them to explore various design iterations in a more tangible and involved way. Building a scale model is costly, time-consuming, energy-consuming, or even nerve-wracking for some.

Yet, building them creates a deeper understanding of the nuances of the project. These are things that oftentimes digital tools cannot do.

11. Architectural Model Building is a Persuasive Sales Tool.

In sales, there is a short maxim that says, “Show. Don’t tell.” Architectural model building is the clear embodiment of this powerful sales principle.

This is the reason why so many scale models feature in sales presentations.

Architectural model building project of Wang On, Maya in Hong Kong for sales

The architectural model building project of Wang On, Maya in Hong Kong for sales

Selling does not only mean getting buyers, tenants, or investors.

It also refers to non-monetary transactions. For example, getting the support of the board of trustees or the government is selling an idea.

When selling the dream, architectural models are persuasive tools that one can use.

12. Architectural Model Building is great For Posterity.

Throughout history, scale models have played a role in pushing civilization forward.

Let’s take a quick look at the practice of model building of the ancient Egyptian Empire and the Inca Empire in Peru.

In the 16th-11th century B.C., ancient Egyptians buried their dead with small carved stone models. It served as a reminder of their dwellings on earth.

But, it also was their way of providing them with a dwelling place in the afterlife. They believed that eternal architects can fashion their eternal homes like the ones they have on earth!

These carved stone models offer us an idea of the architectural practices of ancient Egypt.

It offers us a glimpse of how their buildings would have appeared.

The architectural models are also very interesting for archaeologists, who can use them to interpret representations of houses in tomb scenes.

The conventions of Egyptian art, in which all objects are shown in their most recognizable form, mean that houses are represented in a very schematized way,” says Miriam Stead in her book Egyptian Life.

More recently, in the 15th century A.D., the Inca Empire in Peru has an intricately carved Sayhuite boulder. This has details of the irrigation canals and ditches, mountains, waterways, and livestock.

It reveals the architecture, engineering, and sophisticated irrigation systems developed by the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.

From ancient Egypt to the Incas, scale model building was essential.

Today, we bring the ancient tradition of model building to the next level. More importantly, we will carry this on for generations to come.

13. Architectural Model Building Have Many Other Purposes.

There are other many other lesser-known purposes for commissioning architectural models.

Models are also built for certain specific events.

Architectural model building project, Dubai Harbor.

The architectural model building project with 3DR Models, Dubai Harbor.

Trade shows, conventions, press conferences, public relations, are a few examples.

They are also helpful in the courtroom, and they can form part of a collection of hobbyists and enthusiasts.


Architectural models are always a thing of beauty. Whatever their purpose is.

These scale models are a work of art worth preserving for generations. They are masterpieces that are worth their weight in gold.

Despite the emergence of advanced technology, the model building will continue to be valuable.

It serves many practical, economic, and aesthetic purposes.

Also, it is part of our history. It defines an era. It serves as a concrete testament of humanity’s creativity, passion, and dedication.

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