Shaping Space: Architectural Models Revealed


Shaping Space presented a collection of models responding to three questions: Why are models made? How are models made? And who are models made for?


A collaboration between the V&A and the Building Centre, Shaping Space – Architectural Models Revealed presented the world in miniature; a collection of historical and contemporary models that revealed the evolution of architecture from the first maquette made as a tool for thinking, to a presentation model – a scaled down replica of an architectural intention saying; ‘here I am’.


Photograph by Francesco Russo


Architectural models are as old as architecture itself. The exhibition explored the history of models, and highlighted the renaissance of craft and the values of making today, alongside the rise of new technologies that mark how the digital age is changing our experience of and access to architectural space.


Photograph by Francesco Russo


As children, we encounter scale with wooden blocks and plastic bricks so that we become the master planners of our own tiny cities. From super-sized to miniature, Shaping Space invited the public to experience the spectacle of environments at different scales. The show celebrated the act of thinking through making, presenting the evolution of ideas through models in architectural education and practice. The exhibition examined how models are a testbed for material experimentation and touched on themes and debates central to current architectural practice, such as sustainability.


Photograph by Francesco Russo


Curated by Vanessa Norwood, Harriet Jennings and Mathilde Savary at the Building Centre in partnership with Simona Valeriani of the V&A’s Research Institute (VARI), this collaborative exhibition was designed by award-winning practice Roz Barr Architects, with graphic design by Studio Mathias Clottu.