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VCD Yr10 AOS1 Experimenting with models

Sketching in 3D?

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to;

  • Make an architectural model driven by a brief and demonstrates an understanding of the use of design elements and principles as they apply to form and environmental structures.

What you will do

In this unit students learn how to 'sketch' in 3d. We make models of architectural forms. The models will explore form in the same way sketching explores shape. We won't be making models of finished ideas. We will be using the model making process to visualise and evolve ideas for the rest of our course. Our models will be inspired by contemporary architectural practices.

In this unit you will create visualisation drawings and models and presentation drawings.

This unit is from the environmental design field.

Quick menu

Model answer

A beautiful simple garden gate structure, 2012.

Learning intentions

Learning intentions should be set at the commencement of each unit, then at regular intervals during the task.

Read through the content on this page. Discuss what you think could be learnt and form them into three 'learning intentions'.  Use sentences like, 'I will learn about making 3d drawings', or I will learn about 'media codes'.

Write your three learning intentions.

For advanced learning intentions, go with 3 different levels. 

  • 1 - What you will learn. (For example, the media code of camera describes the techniques camera operators use to record a scene)
  • 2 - How what you will learn can be used to create meaning or structure. (For example, camera techniques are combined with sound and/ or editing to create suspense).
  • 3 - How could your understanding of the learning be extended or related to other learnings. (For example, the use of camera has changed over the years and the invention of digital formats have allowed anyone to become cinema photographers)

Success criteria

Success criteria should be negotiated between students and their teacher. The class group agrees about what is successful completion of the task. Identification of success criteria is done at the commencement of each unit, then at regular intervals.

Now that you are familiar with what you will learn in this task, it's time to lock in how you will be able to demonstrate that you know it, or can do it. 

Write three success criteria, using sentences like the examples in the next column.

I will demonstrate that I have mastered the learning by;

  • 1 - I Can identify all of the camera techniques used in the selected clip.
  • 2 - I can use a camera to film clips in the ways I have identified.
  • 3 - I can explain how camera is combined with other codes to create meaning in a narrative.

Clarifying the need


In this outcome students learn how to 'sketch' in 3d. We make models of architectural forms. The models will explore form in the same way sketching explores shape. We won't be making models of finished ideas. We will be using the model making process to visualise and evolve ideas for the rest of our project. Our models will be inspired by contemporary architectural practices.

In this outcome you will create visualisation drawings and models and presentation drawings.


Let's take a look at some historical points in architecture.

Is beauty unity?

When you look at Palazzo Strozzi (1), you see that the outside is covered with one kind of material. Prior to the 1880s unity of surface and form was considered beautiful in architecture. This is known as a homogenous surface. This means the surface is all the same. It is wrapped in the same material. This gives the impression of strength and harmony. It is like a society where people are all thinking the same thing and having the same opinions.

During the late 19th Century there were immense changes in cities and societies. Artists and architects responded to this change with a new kind of design. Cities were vibrant, noisy, places where people were faced with speeding trams, busses, cars, relections in windows, bright lights, advertising signs and newpaper headlines. One architect to respond in a new way was Gerrit Rietveld. He worked alongside a group of artists called DeStijl (The Style) in Holland. His first building design is called the Schroder House (2) and was built in 1924.


(1) Palazzo Strozzi, Florence completed 1538.
(2) Gerrit Reitveld, Schroder House, Utrecht, 1924.
(3) Denton, Corker and Marshall, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, 1996.


The Schroder House (2) Initiated a completely different method of thought in architecture. The surface is not homogenous. It is a constantly varying surface of jutting planes. The 3 dimensional nature is enhanced by the use of different shades of grey. It is as if Rietveld is playing a joke on us. Some shades of grey push planes back and others seem to make them project forward. He is both enhancing and denying form at the same time. Sounds strange but in then end, the effect is to make the house more accessible, approachable and inviting. It is as if the house is opening up to the world, reaching out into the community. The white planes project to meet us, the black voids seem open and allow our eyes to move inside. When the surface is 'broken up' like this it is called 'deconstructed'. This architecture was inspired by the paintings of artist Piet Mondrian and by traditional Japanese houses, which could be opened up by sliding large wooden panels.

Rietveld's architecture was influencial and has inspired generations of architects since. Can you say how the architects Denton, Corker and Marshall incorporated some of Rietveld's ideas in their Melbourne Exhibition Centre? (3)



Collect images of architecture. Collect 3 images that show a building with a homogeneous wall surface and three that have a deconstructed surface.

Annotate one of each, describing the surface and how their surface communicates ideas.


The intention of this outcome is to explore and experiment with form, surface and void. You are not asked to make a model of something but to let the materials and process of model making drive your creative process and see what you come up with.

However, we all need to know approximately where we are heading when we start sticking things together. Here is a list of possible ideas for your architectural forms.

  • Ticket box
  • Kiosk
  • Ice cream stand
  • Garden Tea House
  • Swimming pool gate
  • Collapsable cafe
  • Toilet block
  • Homeless persons' shelter

the 'nano' house in inhabitat.

This house is advertised on the site 'Inhabitat' as the smallest that can fit a family of four. (
Special restrictions:

1 - The maximum dimensions of the 'building' you design is 6m x 3m. This restriction is to ensure that the scale drawing (done in the next task) fits onto the sheet of paper allowed. Pace out this size on the floor of your classroom to see how it looks, see what you can fit inside it.

2 - Each building must include at least one window and one internal space (divided from the main space by a wall and/ or door). This internal space must also include features like a toilet, shower, kitchen cooker or bench, storage cupboards etc. You don't have to make these in the model, but you will be asked to include them in the scale drawing plans, so keep the space in mind when you make the model.


In this stage, you are going to formalise your design process by researching small architectural structures or 'nano houses' and by writing a Brief to guide the development of your architectural form.
Sample Brief

Big Little Homes requires a design for a cottage to be placed in the gardens of a large house. It will serve as a tea house and changing room for the client.

The audience will be the owners of the house and their friends. They have lived in Japan so are familiar with this kind of structure. 

The purpose is to provide a focal point for the garden and to be used as a tea house and changing room, toilet.

It will be situated in the garden in Brisbane so needs to provide shade in the hot months.

The area is fairly small so the maximum size of the building will be 6 metres x 3 metres. The clients like contemporary architecture so they are expecting something to reflect their interest. It must be made from natural materials including stone. 



Do some research about the kinds of buildings shown in the list above. Collect a couple of pages of pictures you find. Respond to the pictures with your own observational sketches and annotations describing the features of the structures using design terminology.

A Brief

Write a Brief to provide a framework for your design. You will find a sample brief above. Each student needs to complete their own Brief to lock down which architectural structure you will explore.


Thinking in space

Sketching 2d

We will begin sketching ideas for our structure in line drawings then move to making a collage to test textures and combine them to create interesting surface combinations. One way to start is by making a collage with printed papers. Research and print natural and man made textures. This is kind of fun, because we get a chance to see how the textures and colours will go together quickly. We also get to play with 2d and 3d in shape.

Look below for a couple of collages I did to explore ideas for a structure.


A kind of tree house.

Sketching 3d

We move into the model making phase now. The intention here is not to make a model of a house you are thinking of, but to use the materials to explore form in the same way as you made two dimensional sketches.

You are asked to make a pile of fairly random pieces (you may make them the same widths, or lengths - to help them go together accurately) and then use them to build an enclosure. 

The whole job is intended to be experimental - to provide fuel for the more formal phases of the task. 

Read through the captions on the pictures below to see how to go about making your original model. Will pictures of your model be next on this page?

Full col image header

Research and print A3 sheets of surfaces. Google search for large images so they are clear whey you print them.
Then stick them to sheets of 'foam core' with 'Jac paper'.
Cut them into random shapes that share some common dimensions.
Cut them into random shapes that share some common dimensions.
Loyola College 2012
Loyola College 2012
Loyola College 2012
Loyola College 2012


Thinking about structures
Discuss the following terms - shape, form, void, surface, plane, line, texture, pattern. Write descriptions of each of them in your visual diaries.
MAKING structures

To make your model follow this process:

  • Collect large images of man made and natural textures,
  • Print them on A3 paper,
  • Use Jac paper to adhere printed textures to 3 or 5 mm foamcore,
  • Then cut up random shapes. Cut some the same size or width so you can make boxes,
  • Glue them together with a hot glue gun.
  • Check to keep your angles square.

The result is a model with a deconstructed surface. Remember keep it experimental.


Evaluation and deeper learning

In this section we will think about the learning we have done. We will review the main topics and evaluate our learning. Follow the steps in the tasks shown here to prepare your folio for presentation and grading.
What have I learnt?

Answer the following questions (on paper or if you use a computer, print them and stick them into your visual diary).

  1. What do you think architecture is?
  2. Describe what is meant by the term 'environmental design'.
  3. What is a 'brief'? Why is one needed in design?
  4. Who are the two main people involved in a brief?
  5. What is meant by 'audience'?
  6. How could we describe 'audience'?
  7. Define the following terms - shape, form, void, surface, plane, line, texture, pattern in sentence answers.
  8. Write a paragraph on how you have combined textures and colours in your model.
  9. Write a paragraph on how effective you think your building structure is in answering your brief? Will it perform the function you described? What might you need to change?
  10. Complete the 'Ratings' section to help improve this course.
Putting it together

Find where you wrote up what you thought the success criteria might be. Check that you have done something for all of the steps you wrote down.

Photograph and print pictures of your model. Put them in your visual diary and annotate them. Describe them using design language what you were intending in each part of your model.

Check the assessment criteria below to see if you have prepared your folio for each criteria. If not, take the time to complete each section.

Hand up your work on the due date as instructed.


Evaluation and deeper learning
Complete the evaluation, deeper learning and rating tasks as shown above.


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VCD Yr10 AOS1 Models
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I found this task engaging
I found it relevant
It helped me grow my skills
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Assessment criteria

The extent to which the student: 

  1. Effectively defines the communication need for an architectural construction in a Brief,

  2. Documents a range of research using existing and inspirational architecture and related ideas,

  3. Investigates the design elements and principles; shape, line, texture, pattern, colour through experimentation in architectural  sketching and collage,

  4. Investigates the design elements, principles and concepts; form, void, surface, plane, line, texture, pattern, colour through experimentation in architectural model making,

  5. Answers the evaluation questions meaningfully with appropriate design language.

Please note: To achieve good marks in criteria based assessment you must remember to include some work for each part of the task required. Spread your time evenly across the task.