Tag Archives: materials

Make Models: LSQ London

Client Linseed Assets
Dimensions 390mm(l) x 270mm(w) x 375mm(h)
Time to make 2 days
Materials Plastic tubes, copper colour paint
Model makers / designers Andrew Taylor, Dan Murray, Paul Miles and Mindseye

The project

The brief for the building in our LSQ London redevelopment was to create a new high-spec office and retail offer that captured the appeal of today’s West End while preserving the elegance and character of the original 1930s stone façade.

The office component of the project was aimed at re-defining this landmark building in Leicester Square as a desirable office destination with the reception, lobbies and office floorplate fit-out taking inspiration from the original features and fittings.

The retained façade allowed for an exceptionally generous ceiling height in the office entrance lobby which offered a unique opportunity to celebrate that height, with a sculptural lighting feature that could draw attention upward and mark the office entrance in a subtle, yet memorable way. The design of the feature references the cultural aspects of the West End in cinema, theatre and hotel lobby design.

The model

It can be hard to communicate lighting effects via sketches and renders, and it wasn’t until we made a working model of the installation that the wider design team started to understand its potential and the qualities of the light and materials. The model showed aspects that were otherwise difficult to simulate, like the warm molten-like glow of the metal catching adjacent lights, and the animation of the undulating form when the observer’s perspective shifts.

The model was at 1:1 scale based on an initial system of fibre optic splays from light projectors, each strand of which was to be threaded through an individual metal tube. The model replicates this with 5mm-diameter plastic tubes, sprayed with a metallic copper colour paint, at 30mm spacings. In total, the model used 27.5m of tubes. Fibre optics were considered as they allow the light source to be distant from where the output is observed, bringing maintenance benefits. The model represents about 1.2% of the overall area of the final installation.

The model allowed the client and design team to make informed decisions about the final scale, form and finish of the installation. Once Mindseye, a specialist lighting designer, joined the project, the system changed to LED with larger tubes with a longer, more uniform drop and increased spacing between the tubes.

The outcome

The final installation comprised 1,820 bronze anodised aluminium rods. It reads as an undulating canopy of delicate lights suspended across the ceiling void, above which the varying lengths of richly bronze-coloured tubes glimmer in shadow, exaggerating perspective and further accentuating the height of the space.




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Make Models: An urban rail station

Client Confidential
Scale 1:100
Dimensions 300mm(l) x 50mm(w) x 200mm(h)
Time to make 3 days
Materials White ColorFabb PLA filament, clear ColorFabb XT filament
Model makers Paul Miles and modelshop work experience student Stephen Ward

Ready for transport

We were excited to take part recently in a competition to design an urban rail station in a global city. Whilst we unfortunately didn’t end up winning, we’d still love to share a bit about the model with you.

This 1:100 sectional model was constructed to show how the station’s two raised levels – the walkway and train platform – are positioned over a stretch of busy road. It also demonstrates how planting can be used along the perimeter of both levels, as well as the ground plane. The model, which was completed in three days, had to be small enough for hand luggage and robust enough to survive travelling to the other side of the world, where we presented it to our client.

A great sum of parts

To make the model travel-proof, we decided to 3D-print it, as 3D-printed items tend to be sturdier than acrylic parts. Rather than print it as a single piece though, we split the main body into about 20 smaller components, which meant we could orientate each item to be printed in a direction that would allow for the best surface finish.

We produced the parts overnight on our ten Ultimaker 2 Extended+ printers, using white ColorFabb PLA filament for the main body. The tessellated, gently undulating roof was printed with clear ColorFabb XT filament. The generally high ‘tolerance’, or ability to fit with other components, of 3D-printed parts means we were able to quickly assemble all of the components with minimal finishing needed.

Final touches

Meanwhile, the balustrades and platform doors were laser-cut to achieve a finer level of detail. To give a sense of scale and animation, we printed cars and a train on our Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D resin printer and sprayed them silver. Finally, we used a mix of different-sized white trees from the London-based model-making shop 4D Modelshop to illustrate the planting possibilities.


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Make Models: FC Barcelona

Client FC Barcelona
Scale 1:200
Dimensions 700mm(l) x 500mm(w) x 300mm(h)
Time to make 1 week
Materials Clear filament and white selective laser sintering (SLS)
Model makers Paul Miles and Petre Craciun from Make, and Digits2Widgets

The project
In 2016 Make came second in a hotly contested international competition to design the Nou Palau Blaugrana stadium for FC Barcelona. In partnership with Baena Casamor Arquitectes BCQ and MANICA Architecture, we designed a 12,500-seat sports and entertainment destination as part of a wider masterplan.

The model
The model was built as part of our pitch for the project. Split down the middle, the sectional model comprises a white 3D-printed SLS element to show the exterior, and a clear 3D-printed filament section to show the orthogonal stadium, seating and interior.

The floorplates were laser-cut, and the tiered seating was 3D-printed with clear filament to show the viewer what’s going on inside the stadium.

Changeable plates show the different uses of the space in the proposed arena, from hosting basketball and hockey matches to putting on rock concerts.

Removable plate

Each level of the model interlocks around the columns and cores, bringing stability to the structure, and the model sits on a black acrylic base.

Eyes on the prize
We’re immensely proud to have delivered a world-class venue design for a world-class club. The stadium sets new industry standards for arenas around the world; it’s a compact, flexible, functional and highly efficient design that fits within the wider scheme and is rooted in the history of FC Barcelona.


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Designing in Sydney

Ian Lomas



Make’s Ian Lomas, who recently relocated to Sydney, explains why designing in the city is so different from in London.


Light and shadow

Any first-time visitor to or returning resident of Sydney is struck by the sharp precision of its light, which crisply incises shadows and details into the city’s walls, describing an architecture of light and shadow. A heady mixture of Mediterranean heat and Alpine clarity, Sydney’s high-definition light unrelentingly highlights each shift in texture and exposes every imperfection, with shade a place of retreat.

Arriving from London, characterised by its soft light and history of understatement, the Make team has had to question our established relationships with building materials. We relish this opportunity to explore the changed personalities of our long-time friends and collaborators – concrete, stone, brick, glass and metal – and choose materials that absorb and diffuse this light.

No material celebrates these characteristics more than the original sandstone quarried in the city. The stone seems to both drink the light and emanate it. The Lands and Education Buildings of our Sandstone Precinct project are hewn from the ground they sit above, with deeply recessed loggias, reveals and cornices richly brought to life by dark shadows and the fierce sun.

Render of the new Lands and Education Building

This material is now in short supply, and much of the stone quarried today looks drained by comparison. Wisely, our new extensions to these buildings don’t seek to mimic the originals but employ materials and forms that accentuate the grand sandstone base. A series of delicate diagrids appear to float in the sky above the Lands Building, while a rigorous rhythm of slumped glass bays, topped by a dramatic cornice of garden terraces, defines the reinstated shady garden court of the Education Building.

Render of the new Lands and Education Building

Topography and grid

The internet encourages us to experience the world remotely, through satellite images that serve to trick with their easy overview and tell us nothing of what it means to walk streets and experience places. From above the shifting grid iron of central Sydney, contained within a narrow peninsular jutting out into the harbour, the city seems as straightforward and recognisable as Manhattan. However, the steep hills, landscape and history have other plans.

In New York the buildings conspire to provide drama, with street canyon vistas focusing on the void of water. In Sydney the experience is more spatially complex, with the rolling topography, grid alignments and buildings playing sometime harmonious, sometime discordant melodies. This dramatic urban setting conspires to frame unexpected vistas, allowing seemingly diminutive buildings a dramatic presence, with grand set pieces often enjoyed through tightly focused slivers that tease the pedestrian.

When we were invited to participate in the Wynyard Place competition, we had to throw away our first sketch designs, which had neatly rendered Sydney in a two-dimensional plan. Our final, winning design was driven by the context, which we came to understand only after we walked the streets at length and experienced how people move, views change and the city guides you – something architects must do in all cities they work in. We deliberately took the massing apart and reassembled it to alternately anchor views down Hunter Street, open up vistas to the Shell clock tower and act as a backdrop to Wynyard Park.

Street view of the new Wynard Place building

Extracted from Make Annual 13.


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Bricks – not just for house builders

by David Patterson

Lightweight materials such as glass and steel are very much de rigeur (think of any of the recent BCO winner and they’ll most likely have predilection for one of the two), but the humble brick is having a quiet revival, particularly here at Make, as its sense of permanence, of durability, of tradition can not be beaten.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

The BRE’s latest Green Guide to Specification has assigned the highest possible accreditation, A+, to every external wall it rated that contained brickwork. Bricks thermal mass capabilities are superb. And in a 2007 investigation by RICS brickwork beat just about every other external skin option on price.[1] As the preserve of the volume house builder for decades that last fact may not come as a surprise, but at Make, we have been keen to understand how bricks can be used in a building where design and function do not have to be mutually exclusive. We’ve been researching this material, talking to colleagues and visiting manufacturers in order to develop our knowledge of brick and further understand its potential.

We’ve been exploring how brick can be used on the Amenities Building project for the University of Nottingham – a bar and dining hall on their agricultural campus that has to be robust and sustainable. We looked at how the appearance of brick can be used to create a warm and welcoming environment, both internally and externally.  In addition we considered how it can be used to form efficient service voids within the wall structure and by manipulating the bond in order to achieve calm acoustic environments. We spent time with our client visiting UK brick manufacturers and constructing sample walls on site to evaluate the materials in context.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

For Taberner House in Croydon, we’re working closely with Arup Materials and are considering innovative options for brickwork.  It is our aspiration to make the brickwork ‘earn its keep’ by contributing to the structural performance of the building rather than the conventional approach of brick as a cladding material.  This presents significant challenges as very few modern buildings have been built utilising a structural brickwork approach.

One thing I’ve noticed while working on these two projects is that the UK’s brick tradition is in danger of being lost as the large conglomerates buy up the smaller firms. There are some fine examples of design-led brick buildings in this country, now there needs to be a focus on the product and process to entice more architects to convert.

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham

Amenities Building, University of Nottingham













[1] http://www.brick.org.uk/about-the-brick-development-association/why-brick/

You can follow David on Twitter: @DavidGP72

Or find out more about each project on our website: The Amenities Building, Taberner House


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