Home > In Memory of Zaha Hadid: Looking Back on RJ Models’ Cooperation of Architectural Model Making with Her.

In Memory of Zaha Hadid: Looking Back on RJ Models’ Cooperation of Architectural Model Making with Her.

The death of Ms. Zaha Hadid is a huge loss to global architecture.

As an architectural model making company who feels much honored to have been invited by Zaha Hadid to work with her on architectural design models, RJ Models deeply saddened by Zaha’s passing.

Here, some representative architectural models created by RJ Models in cooperation with Zaha will be reviewed in memory of her, a world-renowned dedicated and creative architect.


Project Beijing New Airport Terminal 4


Property CategoriesTransport + Civic



Beijing New Airport Terminal 4.

In 2011, this is a great honor that RJ Models was contracted to complete the conceptual design models of two mega-airports designed by Zaha Hadid prior to the design competition of the airports in Beijing.

Three weeks before the competition was scheduled to take place, Zaha Hadid contracted RJ Models to create an airport model, and ensure safe delivery to the competition site.


▲Drawing of the airport model.

1. The initial drawing stage:

Zaha Hadid commissioned a concept model that had a ratio of 1:2000, with dimensions of 3500 mm x 1500 mm.

This architectural model was intended to provide an overhead view of the airport and provide a general idea of what it would look like.

The next model would have a ratio of 1:1600 and a dimension of 2500 mm x 2500 and would be used to demonstrate the various zones of the airport and their functions.

Due to the time constraints, once RJ Models received the final design from Zaha Hadid using Rhino Software, they immediately marshaled a team of ten senior model designers to check over the drawings and repurposed them to divide the airport into its different components.

This reorganization process would ensure a smooth production process and ensure project completion within the mandated timeline.

▲Detail of the airport model.

2. Panel (component manufacturing):

During the redrawing process, RJ models had to devise a way to shrink the model on a scale of 600 to 1200 times smaller, while still maintaining the integrity of the curve found in the outer walls.

To precisely maintain the flow within the curve of the walls, RJ Models used multiple CNC machines to quickly carve and produce the various pieces for assembly.

Before putting the pieces together, the senior officers within the modeling division polished each individual piece to achieve a shine necessary to show off the flair within the design.

For more specialized pieces such as the domed skylight, we used 3D printing technology to have those pieces ready for final assembly.

We gathered up the pieces and had 30 different workers working overtime to combine the pieces together and reinforce joints so the model could be safely delivered within the requested timeline.


▲The miniature planes on the airport

3. Airport Model Painting:

The most important part of the model was how the exterior of the airport looked.

Zaha Hadid’s design had an “ultramodern” feel to it.

To ensure that the model lived up to the spirit of the design, our architectural model makers sprayed the exterior of the sample to exhibit the metallic feel of Zaha Hadid’s design.

▲You can see the design of the airport model.

4. The lighting of the airport  model:

Lighting was added to the model not only make the overall model stand out but also to impress upon the judges of the competition, Zaha’s vision.

To do this, our architectural model makers in China had five different shades of lighting on the model, to demonstrate the areas and functions of the airport.

For example, arrival and departure had their own different colors.

Furthermore, the lighting controller was placed within easy reach of a presenter to help with the presentation of the airport model.

This helped effectively communicate to the judges the various features of the airports, and the themes behind each one.

▲Whole design of the airport model.

5. Packaging and delivering:

To ensure safe and rapid travel from Shenzhen to the Beijing competition area, our packaging division which has many years of professional experience, produced a box for the model and arranged for three different truck drivers working in shifts to deliver the model in 24 hours, from Shenzhen to Beijing.

Therefore, they would meet five members of the construction division to finalize the installation of the airport model.

▲Lighting of the airport model.

Zaha Hadid’s review team upon seeing the speed and quality with which the model was produced were highly satisfied.

Upon reflection, this project was challenging, but also very self-satisfying.

Zaha won the champion of the design competition and had high praises for RJ Models, and so did her team. RJ Models has established a partnership with the great architect and her team since then.

▲Facade of the airport model.

RJ Models was pleased to have participated in the outstanding design team and are proud of the work of airport models we have done.

RJ Models did its best to show Zaha’s style of surrealism to judges by paying attention to details at every stage of the process: from plotting to lighting effects, from streamlined appearance to colors.

▲A comparison between the drawings, and airport model.



ProjectMorpheus Hotel


Property CategoriesHotel



In December 2014, RJ Models receives the cooperation invitation from Zaha Hadid once again to build a luxury resort hotel model named as the “Morpheus Hotel” project which belongs to Melco Crown.


▲A comparison between the drawings and hotel model.

Within 40 days time, RJ Models makes a size of 3000mm x 3000mm x2200mm, a scale of 1:80 hotel model used to display the beautiful outline and dreamy sense of the architectural design, guaranteeing that the developer and Melco Crown can fully feel the amazing and unique design before construction of the project.

The biggest challenge of making the “Morpheus Hotel” model is the production of many streamlined mesh structure components in the primary design.

The outline of the hotel excels nature with sculpture elements and mesh structure on the surface.

The unique design is very strict with the model components.

RJ Models arranges a number of senior draftsmen studying and calculating dimensions of the materials after receiving the 3D drawing from Zaha Hadid.

In order to improve the accuracy of components, RJ Models also redrew a more convenient and effective 3D drawing for understanding and production, making components perfectly displayed on the model below one-millimetre error rate from drawing to production.

▲Different lighting color of the hotel model.

Another feature of the model is the center of a hotel which is designed as an atrium full of sculpture style with a series of voids.

The very unique shape makes the hotel unlike anything else.

Its sculptural elements and exposed network structure impose very strict requirements on the generation of components.

To extrude the central location, the design needs to achieve the lighting gradient effect within a specified range.

RJ Models well understands the difficulty of installation in streamlined structure, for example, model scales down may cause uneven light and lack of space.

Therefore, RJ Models arranges a number of senior model makers and electricians discussing how to install and test lights, making the model lights dynamic and show a variety of different color gradient.


▲Founder of RJ Models, Mr. Ray Cheung, and his Partners, Mr. Terry Hui.

Finally, the model is appreciated and recognized by the customer.

Within three days, the model is delivered from Hong Kong and installed in Macau via RJ’s professional logistics and packaging service, living up Zaha Hadid Team’s delegation.

Morpheus Hotel is expected to be completed in June 2018.

Morpheus Hotel, planned to complete in 2017, is the fifth Melco hotel in Macau and an impressive work of Zaha that enriches the city full of passion and dreams.



DanJiang Bridge Model


Property CategoriesTraffic



▲Danjiang Bridge Model

RJ Models also made a bridge model of Zaha’s design in Shenzhen within 3 weeks for Danjiang Bridge International Competition.

The bridge model was delivered on time and used in the presentation in Taiwan.

During the fabrication process, RJ Models spared no pains to print drawings as a reference and laid wires through the bridge for creating streetlights of varied shapes, which were installed by our electricians and model makers through harmonious cooperation.

For example, for the purpose of better showing the shape of stayed-cable on the bridge under the scale of 1:500, RJ Models tried out many kinds of materials, and finally found a tough and thin thread–fishing tread in garment factory, which was used as final material to make the stayed-cable so as to demonstrate how the bridge would perform, and give credence to the feeling of the lightness of the bridge that Zaha intended.

Lighting the bridge was another focus since each light was unique.

Each light symbolizes different dance poses the Cloud Gate Dance Theater created, which is a local modern dance group in Taiwan.


▲Lighting of Daanjiang Bridge Model


The poses they created can’t be mass-produced, so in the process of making the model, we printed the design sketched out and took it as references for the street lights making.

During the final construction phase, to make sure the wiring under the bridge was perfect street lights, our installed electric wires under the bridge, and connected wires to lights made the model could effectively demonstrate Zaha Hadid’s design concept.

Finally, our senior packaging team used professional packing and technique and took over logistical management to successfully and securely transport the model from Hong Kong to Taiwan safely and set up the model in competition site and test it for stability for Zaha to present their design concept in the competition, all in the span of one day.

After repeated testing, a pliable and thin thread found at a clothing factory was used to make stay cables of the bridge on a scale of 1 to 150 for giving an elegant look to the model.

Although Zaha Hadid went on the win the competition, RJ Models felt the same pride.

RJ Models is proud of completed this elegant and splendid work through cooperating with Zaha Hadid.


▲Finsihed Bridge Model

Within 3 weeks’ time, RJ Models completed a model of scale 1:500, size around the 3.2-meter length and 0.7-meter width, which was used as a demonstration in Danjiang Bridge International Competition.

Eventually, we were informed that Zaha won in this competition.

The Danjing Bridge will be completed in 2020, it will become a spectacular charming scenery for Danjiang.


Project: Tokyo New National Stadium Project


Property CategoriesLeisure & Sports




▲Tokyo New National Stadium Model Project.

Later we cooperated with Zaha again and were really amazed at her design full of the fluidity of motion.

With ribbed shells at both ends of the main structure, the streamlined stadium model looks like a spacecraft from the future.

▲Drawing of the Tokyo New National Stadium Model Project.

For generating components in a more accurate manner, RJ Models carefully drafted and redrew, by itself, fabrication-friendly 3D drawings that are more understandable to model makers in Japan.

Any error exceeding 1mm was not permitted when components were generated from drawings for showing her design intent.


▲Drawing of the Tokyo New National Stadium Model Project.



Project Jockey Club Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

LocationHong Kong

Property CategoriesEducational, Building Complex



▲ Model of Jockey Club Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


The novel fluidity design of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower (JCIT) offers a creative and multidisciplinary environment.

The building looks different from different angles as is described in the first line of a famous poem: “looking transversely we see a mountain ridge and sidewise a peak”.


▲Model of Jockey Club Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

With unique appearance, JCIT has become a new landmark in downtown and contribute to Hong Kong’s status as a design hub in Asia.

▲Model of Jockey Club Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

▲Other design models with Zaha Hadid.

Although Zaha’s iconic design that combines angles with fluidity poses challenges to construction, we can see the power of fluidity and feel her big and brave heart from the models we made for her.

She has created something very special and unique that transcends time.

Why Zaha Hadid can do it? Because she is the ‘Queen of the curve’.

About RJ Models

It offers a range of top quality architectural model with a tight deadline for competitive rates.

With RJ Models, you can enjoy all our team support to focus on your project.

At every stage, RJ Models aims to provide top-quality architectural models to boost our client’s business to all architecture in the world.

Contact RJ Models & Start Making You the Top

    "Our vision is making the top quality architectural models to everywhere in the globe."
    Ray Cheung RJ Models


    Scroll to Top