What is your model going to be used for?  Knowing the use of the model helps us visualize the final product while we are discussing the details. Often, the simpler models will get the needed points across without every detail displayed, and at a much lower cost. We need to know who the audience and what they are looking for.

Mass Models
One great example of the use of a mass model is for a design review board meeting. Perhaps all they are interested in the relative heights of the surrounding structures. This is something that is very hard to convincingly convey in an animation or rendering. A model showing nothing but the building masses will instantly demonstrate the issues and allow the right questions to be asked. Mass models are also used for internal design reviews and study. Going over a project with a client during the design process can be challenging if your client has trouble visualizing based on drawings. A quick and relatively inexpensive model can save valuable time and instantly resolve any elements that are in question.

It is a completely different story when bringing a model before the public. When you have an audience that is looking buy, it is good to show every element that can help sell your concept. At that point, a DETAILED MODEL is what you may need.

Detailed Models
The public can be very literal. When they see a model the brain sometimes translates it into a very small reality.

Any questionable elements become issues. A detailed or “realistic” model shows every design element and color in an accurate fashion. When selling to the public, you can never know what elements will close the deal. Perhaps it is the location of the swimming pool or the view from the balcony or access to retail space. Including all of the important marketing highlights of the model is essential to successful sales.

There is room in-between these two extremes. With careful planning, we can work with you to create what we call a Semi-Detailed model.

Semi-Detailed Models
Often the premium sales tools are desired but the budget just isn’t there to afford that kind of work. We often bida project as a full detailed model only to find out that we need to make compromises to hit the numbers. Your model maker can guide you to areas that can be simplified without completely losing the character of the model. Perhaps instead of clear reflective windows, we make them from a grey opaque material saving us a layer of information. Perhaps the textures of the brick or siding are not as critical as the color, eliminating another layer and saving us more time in construction. These choices must be carefully selected and written out specifically in the bid so that everyone is on the same page and understands what the finished product will look like.

2. What size will your model be?
Don’t worry about the scale of the model at this point, just think about the size. Points to consider when picking a size include: Where is the model going to live? Will it be in the same place for the entire sales cycle or will it be moved? Will your audience come to the model or do you have to bring the model to a trade show or boardroom for the presentations?

Answering these questions will help to put an overall size on the physical model and determine the type of case needed for shipping and presentations.

Some models, like this one that we did for the Presidio in San Francisco, needed to be large for a showroom but sections of the development also needed to be taken to individual meetings. The solution was a four-part model with each section shipped in easy-to-handle, rolling cases that are light enough to be taken to meetings. After the meeting, the section could be reassembled and locked together. If the model is being displayed in a showroom or trade show, a heavy wooden case with pallet skids is more appropriate for safe travel. We have also built models that fit in a small suitcase-sized case to be carried onto an airplane for safe travel around the country.

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