Recovering a Model

For the completed project "Tidal Defense" click here.

When everything goes wrong.


ARCI311 - Architectural Design was a three part design paper focused around a single design project. The first part was a full analogue drawing assignment, detailing all aspects of the design proposal in 2D. Stage two involved the crafting a model based entirely on the original drawings. And finally stage three was an integrated portfolio summarising the design process followed to achieve the design and model. 


I chose to model my tidal swimming pool proposal using chemically recolored copper. Hundreds of lengths were soldered together in a process that took approximately 70 hours. The cost of such an undertaking was also large; more then $300 of copper was purchased along with Bleach, Salts & Methylated Spirits

To cut costs the model was mounted on a recycled piece of 12mm Plasterboard with triangulated cardboard wedges layered across the surface. The model was completed on time and delivered to the University for marking. One week later the model was collected and brought home.



One the last day of term and one week before the final 'stage three' submission a series of photographs of the model were needed to complete the portfolio. Due to the size and fragile nature of the copper model just moving it was difficult and for this reason it was stored on a trolley in a large communal garage. However when the model was needed it was nowhere to be found. The trolley was gone and there was no sign of the model. In a moment of 'just in case' I walked over to the rubbish skip and lifted the lid. 



After 2 hours in the skip 274 individual pieces of model were scavenged. 



At this late point in the project the only really option was rebuild the model in some form. Quickly I decided that the recovery approach was to reassemble the model in an organised but 'perished' form as achieving a perfect form was out of the question.

The proposal was to make the architecture look as if it had finally been lost to the ocean - engaging with the idea of 'tidal protection' (see the related project). My biggest concern however was material costs, after already sinking over $300 into this model I needed a solution that was quick, cheap and 'forgiving'. Hot glue allowed the components to be re-attached quickly and in some ways enhanced the degraded from of the architecture. 



White Spray Paint to unify the materials was added as well as rough human figures formed from lacing wire and fractures from the original model. These elements helped to enrich the form by adding a sense of deliberateness and scale.  

Finally in late August the courses Lecturer, Dr Peter Wood, made contact requesting the model for the Victoria University Open Day Exhibition. He requested the model understanding that it 'may not be in it's original state'. 

He simply asked that it was not to be placed near to a rubbish bin.