Many architects use balsa wood and foam-core cardboard to make small-scale models of construction projects. But there are some projects, especially related to art or industry, for which a large-scale model should be used. Here are the undeniable benefits of the large scale for 4 types of projects.

1. In the Art World

A method for materializing an idea in three dimensions, in artists’ studios, the model is an essential step for many projects, even today in the digital age. In a large scale, it lets you assess and anticipate the difficulties in techniques, shapes, and aesthetics that will occur and compound over the course of the project and find solutions in advance to save time. As it requires more work than a small-scale model, the development of a large-scale model requires additional preparation and may be preceded by design research or photo documentation.

2. In Industry

For new concepts and techniques

When you want to present a new concept, the large-scale model speaks clearly to the audience, who can scrutinize it in detail. This was the case, for example, for the concept of the retractable roof on the Olympic Stadium. In addition to providing a visual presentation, the model had to support the weight of a folding system, which helped confirm the choice of the large scale.

A large-scale model was also designed to enable the visualization of rubber solutions with which to outfit a boat and to have an overview in order to precisely locate the exact places to use them.

For process models

Process models are created to present and explain how a process or a production chain works. In these situations, the large scale is particularly appropriate: whether they’re static or animated, these models must come as close as possible to the actual size of the real equipment to allow the target audience to visualize it perfectly. These include models of equipment for electricity storage solutions, equipment for processing industrial products, or steam generators involved in the nuclear power generation process.

3. In Architecture

Large-scale models are excellent tools for presenting implementation projects with a high level of detail. When an architect develops the layout of an industrial site, they must present a model of the factory or industrial complex that represents the facilities with a significant level of detail. A large-scale model lets them provide this precision, whether it’s a modular waste collection site or a production facility.

4. For Projects Developed According to the LEAN Approach

In order to design a modern hospital capable of providing care under the conditions expected for the years to come, the design team behind the new CHU hospital complex in Québec wanted to use large-scale models, a method borrowed from the manufacturer Toyota. The idea was to use full-scale models to determine the configurations and areas of the standard rooms in order to provide the minimum space required.

While the small-scale model and the digital model are very useful, there are certain situations where the large-scale model is better suited to the project, even though it may be preceded by a small-scale model.

And it’s based first and foremost on the level of detail that you wish to provide that the scale of the model should be chosen. But you should also consider how it will be used, opting for a large scale when the model is fixed and a small scale when it’s designed to be handled a lot.