Solid/Void Models

So, we’re all about designing in section now, right? Yes, but more importantly, you’re using section drawings as a tool for establishing key relationships between climate, site, program, and space in your work. For Wednesday’s midterm review, you are also making a 1/64″ solid/void model that spatializes the ideas you’re exploring in your sections.

Check out this Instructables page by Mark Cabrinha showing how his previous 3rd year studio used solid/void models to study overall massing and interior voids. It’s not exactly the same thing as what you’re doing now–in fact, I recommend using an opposite material language where major interior voids and circulation are shown as solid materials, and “solid” or “closed” program are shown with transparent materials.

This model from the Autodesk Gallery, showing a large hospital project, might also give you some ideas about representation.

IMG_8024The primary building massing is represented with color-coded acrylic. Exterior courtyards are shown as open (duh). The acrylic is engraved with floor plans–this is more detail than you’ll want, but it you could etch linework and/or text into the model that give some idea what’s happening in that mass. Stair/service towers are represented as solids. For the purposes of your work right now, you could also think of primary corridors the same way (so that the solid portions of your model create a spatial circulation diagram).


Below are some examples from a previous studio (these are 1/32″ for a smaller site that didn’t really allow for much freedom with exterior massing). Some of these actually separate out the solid and void as distinct models, which is helpful to see, but I’m hoping that you can make a model that shows both at once.


Sonia Trujillo and Deeksha Phadnis



Eduardo Tovar and Arianna Santana

concept model_acrylic 2

concept model_public circulation 1

Kealani Jensen and Riley Snyder

Final Concept Model 2

Karolina Luckiewicz and Louise Oxnevad

And some other examples…



Doll House by Zaha Hadid Architects


Else van der Burgt. Space can be implied and delineated with “only” transparency



Louisiana State Museum by Trahan Architects. 


Elbe Philharmonic Hall by Herzog & de Meuron


Christian Kerez


Tapei Performing Arts Center by OMA





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