Design Integration Laboratory

Architecture 222, 410/510, and 610

Project Six -- Massing Model


Select and document a project building

Understand the massing of your project building

Develop your three-dimensional modeling skills using DesignWorkshop


Build a good massing model of your project building. First, figure out the controlling dimensions of the building. Then build the model, from the ground up, starting with the largest masses. Finally, adjust roofs, paying special attention to pitch and overhangs, and add porches, porticos, colonnades, etc. Later we will add a simple representation of the building site.

Example Drawing A massing model is a dimensionally accurate summary of the fundamental exterior forms of a building. It is generally not hollow, but made of solid blocks. Window openings in walls are generally not shown. Building detail is either left out entirely or summarized succinctly with a few simple blocks.

For a very rough rule of thumb, building elements with a relief of less than one foot are rarely relevant, while elements with a relief of more than three feet usually are relevant to the massing model. Typical good models for this assignment will be composed of only about 25 or so carefully crafted blocks.

However, despite being a summary, a good massing model also communicates the essential forms of a building, and therefore a large part of the architectural character of the building. For example, the massing model should show the same silouette against the sky as the complete building, and it should occupy the same footprint on the ground.

Example Drawing Example Drawing

Documentation Phase

It is critical to have sufficient information about your project building before you commit to it. To make sure you are on the right track, at the beginning on class on Thursday, 9 November, you will be required to hand in photocopies (which we will keep) of at least a plan, section or elevation, and photographic overview of your chosen building. These photocopies need to be 1) stapled together, and clearly marked with 2) your name, 3) date, 4) building name, 5) architect, 6) source of photocopies. (10 points will be awarded to all students who meet all these requirements on the documentation phase. No points will be awarded for late documentation.)

Massing Model

When you have created this model, get a nice overall shaded perspective view on screen, set the view as "overview", and laser print a summary wireframe view on 8 1/2" x 11" paper to hand in. The hard copy should (as always) include your name, the date, the class, and the assignment.

In addition, hand in your actual model file electronically. Again, using the Chooser to log in via AppleShare, deposit your drawing file on the Architecture Forest AppleShare server. Please follow this naming convention for your file explicitly:


(Abbreviate your family name if the filename gets too long. If your family name is duplicated in the class, follow your family name with your personal name.)

Grading criteria

documentation phase..........10

basic completion..............5
perspective view..............5
architectural accuracy........5
model quality................10

Total Points ............... 10+25

Due at the beginning of class, Tuesday 11-14-95.


Individual library research to document building.
Notes on Modeling Techniques

Posted 95.10.25 KMM, rev. 95.11.09
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