Analytical Models: Hofjes

Analytical models: HOFJES

This exhibition presents analytical models of hofjes(the little charity courtyard), made by MSc2 students in the elective course Analytical Models at the faculty of Architecture in Delft.

A hofje consists of a group of repetitive individual houses enclosing a garden, hidden inside the perimeter block. Hofjes are an important constituent architectural figure in the Dutch city since 1400 and up until today. Their sustainability is proven by the large number of historical hofjes that  has survived, that they are still built and inhabited successfully, and, hofjes are an always returning reference for new housing design. Hofjes are private initiatives, but related to the city in multiple ways: 1. originally they provided free housing for noble poor elderly single people, so, they were part of the social care system; 2. Hofjes are private territory, but, (in principle) publicly accessible, in which architecture defines thresholds and boundaries naturally; 3. Well renowned architects were involved in the design of hofjes and reflect the architecture of its time and different social relationships between the community of the inhabitants, the founder of the hofje and their relationship with the city: invisible behind a wall (the archetype) or completely hidden, monumental or a combination of both: in disguise as a palace.

The analytical models of hofjes investigate the formal, urban and social qualities of this special typology explorative and interactive. The models are presented against the background of drawings from the research publication ‘Het Hofje, Bouwsteen van de Hollandse Stad, 1400-2000’ (Nijmegen Van Tilt 2016)

Sint-Andrieshofje, Amsterdam, 1617

Jos Tjong-Ajong, Gawein Verbiest

Theme: rhythms on 5 scales



Villa Allegonda


These photos show the process and the end result of the Allegonda project, a cooperation between Modelling Techniques and museum De lakenhal.  The model is part of the new exhibition at the museum, soon to be reopened in Leiden. It shows the situation in 1917, reconstructed according to the design by J.P. Oud. The core of the model has been constructed in perspex, cladded by white cardboard. For the most complicated parts we used inserts, 3d printed in gypsum.


Temple of the Natural Delights; constructing abstract seduction

The aim of the project is to accelerate the transition towards a longer lasting society. A new narrative is advocated to engender the desire for a sustainable future. Within this new narrative, temples are situated in the great metropolises of the world to propagate ecological thinking. The aesthetic and architectonic expressions throughout the public and private realms embody an ethic that endeavours to seduce one to live this new lifestyle. The building and its context are an autarkic unity; designed to satisfy the user’s needs through the use of natural principles in synergy with the ecosystem. Building physics, construction and material considerations form the basis of the generic design. The building materials are recycled and absorb greenhouse gases, thus counteract climate change. Its archetype is to be adjusted depending on the geo-specific context and climate of the proposed temple, creating a network of true localised altars to the Natural Delights.

Due to the holistic approach to the design of the building it was important to show the complete building in a 1:200 scale model. One of the results aimed for with this project is to provoke in order to create discussion; how should architecture behave in times of ecological crisis? Thereby it will hopefully contribute to the architectural discourse. With this goal the model could contribute by seducing its viewers, therefor a certain level of expressive aesthetics needed to be achieved. At last the model functioned as constructional test. The gypsum 3d printed elements in the model compare with the 3d printed ‘Ferrock’ elements in the design. Even so the lattice beam construction functions with an actual pressure ring in the model. No glue is used and therefor resembles how it will work in reality.

A big question in the whole process was how to make the model of such an extraordinary design. The double curved geometry with these small sizes where only able to construct by 3d printing. I chose for the gypsum printer, because it is so refined and thereby has a beautiful appearance. Also it prints faster than the plastic printer. On the other hand it is expensive, fragile and time consuming to dig out the prints. The printer lays layers of powder and with a laser solidifies the volumes. When the machine is finished there is a block of powder with the solid piece inside. One really has to dig the print out and clean it as an archaeologist. After it’s cleaned a hardening spray can finish the printed elements in order to gain strength. A couple of layers can be applied, not too much, in order to keep the pleasing texture of the gypsum.

The base of the model was CNC milled out of a block of cross laminated pine wood, subsequently sanded and adjusted by hand in order for the 3d prints to fit. A total of six prints where needed to build the model, because of the limiting size of the printer. Gypsum can’t bear bending forces; therefor I introduced small wooden sticks inside the model to maintain stability. All the printed elements where modelled in rhino. The 3d printing program needs to have digital 3d models with closed edges; otherwise it is not able to print. With these organic shapes it can be hard to ban all ‘naked edges’. The wooden structure around the 3d printed part of the model cut by lasers. Due to the fact that it is such a small structure I chose to layer the beams with a Perspex frame on the inside; to gain strength and two layers of veneer on the outside; to maintain a certain aesthetic. For the tension cables is chosen for brass threat which is wired in-between the layers. It is inherent to every scale model to be an abstract representation of reality. Different levels of abstraction could be used depending on the specific story one wants to advocate through the architectural model. During the process it became clear that this model required a certain level of abstraction. Although the model is incomplete it contains an aesthetic value through its purity and functions as an expression of construction.

Making is Thinking

Cameron Walker made a poetic search during his graduation while constantly building on his models. These pictures show how he started, please look at the presentation on the repository and see how he ended.


Het Platte Land-Colour and Tactility

The project proposes an alternative way to deal with the changing countryside of Groningen, the Netherlands. Instead of conserving the old, the proposal embraces new changes on the countryside to enrich the existing qualities of the landscape. The project consists of three equal big volumes, whose scale is put in relation to the big polder. In doing so the volumes can be experienced big and small simultaneously. By structuring all volumes introvert, the outer façade could be totally devoted to the surrounding landscape.

To summarize it was important to show the relation between the building and the polder landscape in my final model. Colour and tactility played an important role in this relation and I will therefore elaborate on both aspects. The model shown here is a 1:200 scale model with a size of 1400mm square.






To emphasize the relationship between the building and the landscape I decided to use realistic colours. To make a proper colour palette it is important to make multiple tests to see how the colour looks on the material and to see how all colours fit each other.

The red inner courtyard is made of concrete combined with red oxide pigment. Because it is hard to make small tests and copy the proportions exactly, I made a mould that could easily be reused. The mould was made of a laser cut in 0,4mm MDF with a layer of Vivak vacuumed on top. I sanded the Vivak to prevent the concrete of having a shiny surface. I used little nails to make holes for trees that were planted later.

For the process of pouring concrete its important to slowly add water to the cement and keep constantly mixing it. When the mixture is good (liquid, but not watery) you can add the pigment slowly and again keep mixing it. If you pour the concrete into the mould you can shake the mould (or softly tap it with a hammer) to fill the whole mold, equalize the surface and remove air bubbles. Do this again after 20 minutes or so.

In total I made three versions with three different colour tones. As advice I could say that you should not be too shy with the pigment and that the colour becomes lighter when the concrete dries.


It was also important to show the difference between the rough landscape and the clean interior of the building. Therefore all elements of the building have been cut by a laser cutter, painted and assembled quite precise.

In contrast the landscape was mostly cut and assembled by hand. The base was of 9 mm MDF with corrugated cardboard to resemble the farmlands and a synthetic fibre mesh for the texture created by concrete tiles. I mixed the wall paint with potting soil and sand to roughen the surface. I used a round brush to dot (not stroke) to get a nice surface. Afterwards I sprayed the landscape elements with three different tones of green to create tone differences and an illusion of depth.

The facade was a bit tricky, because it had a curve in two directions and had multiple surface finishes. I decided to 3D print the base form of all four facades and from there treat the surfaces.

To fit the 3D printer, every facade element was printed in three loose parts. These three parts were glued together and the seams were finished with filler. Because 3D printers work in layers, the surface had a layered texture. To remove this texture, the elements were sanded multiple times and sprayed with Motip Spray-Putty. In this way slowly all ribs were filled and the surface became smooth.

However the upper part of the facade resembled reed and therefore needed a rougher surface than the lower part. Therefore I sprayed the upper part with spray-glue and afterwards lay it in a bed of fine sand. In this way you can easily add a thin layer of sand to a surface. So when the facade had the right tactility I could easily spray paint the whole facade element in the right color.

For me making this model was a nice way to experiment with different techniques, colours and textures to create various surfaces. By making quick and small tests (or take a look in the Cam-lab library) I could easily develop multiple variations. In doing so I could emphasize important aspects of my design.

Text, photos and model by Tiemen Anema


During the international design seminar Indesem the groups of students worked on the theme ‘crowded’, in the context of the city of Rotterdam. One of the groups  investigated the idea of inflating the personal space. To be able to inspire the other participants they made this hopeful and comforting movie. Thanks to the Lumineers for the music.


Journey on the Wadden Sea


Rosa Hurkmans  sends a clear message in her presentation by using her scale models. Take a look at how photographing and filming scale models can explain use, movement and esthetic quality.

Repository TU Delft Rosa Hurkmans



Graduation model waiting to be revealed.

Nature and the Manmade

The following text has been written by Aiden Conway. Besides the description of the project, Aiden explains how to use acrylic one in an architectural model.

The project was aimed at discovering an approach to work in the isolated landscapes of Mayo in the West of Ireland. To do this the nature and the man made were put at odds to one another creating a conflict which would hopefully provide a method of resolving the two. This resulted in a series interventions that appear at first as a haphazard collection of volumes in the landscape, but are in fact a direct reaction to it. Each intervention creates a moment of detachment during which and an urban moment is constructed and the landscape denied, before the landscape is then reintroduced via the core function of the intervention. These forms were derived both from the study of the city and its formal components and as a reaction to the landscape in order to obscure it, reductions of both.

In any case when it came to modelling each one, the interventions was heavy and massive and wanted to contrast that by representing the landscape in a soft and light manner, as somewhat of a thin datum.

Each site and its greater context was illustrated accurately at a scale of 1:25000 in machine milled mahogany models. Because of this I thought the 1:100 models could be more expressive.

Form work_1   Curves   Final_1

Materials Required:

-Acrylic one Mix (consisting of the mineral powder and acrylic resin)
-Flexible Sheet of Fibre reinforcing
-3mm white Foam board
-30mm Foam board
The material Acrylic One was chosen to create this thin layer. It has visual properties similar to that of plaster but is much more durable and also workable after it has dried. The mould for each site was created via bending thing layers of foam and fixing them in the desired position. The openings into which the intervening volumes (cast in coloured concrete) were to be placed, were created by foam blocks. The entire formwork is then sprayed with an even coat of silicon spray to aid the casts removal from the formwork.

 The Acrylic one which is a two-component material and consists of a mineral powder and a water based acrylic resin was then mixed at a ratio of two parts powder one part resin and applied to the surface of the foam formwork. It sets quickly and so needs to be applied rather rapidly. Its best to create enough of a mix to coat the surface in one pour so as to limit the possibility of two pours where the wet and dry don’t always bond correctly and can lead to discolouration. I chose to apply the mix with a spoon so as to use the underside of the spoon to spread it across the formwork.

Once the initial layer is applied evenly and at a minimum thickness of 3/4mm and before its is fully dried the layer of fibre reinforcing is applied( pre-cut and trimmed to fit the formwork but also to remain at distance of 25-30mm form the desired edge of the form work so as to avoid loose and exposed threads). This should be flat to the surface and pushed gently into the still wet mix. After this the second mix should be applied. While it is preferable to pour the second mix while the first has yet to dry it is not completely necessary. The mix is then left to fully dry for at least 18 hours.

The foam formwork was removed. At some points had bonded with the acrylic was removed with the back of a knife or an upturned chisel, to scrape away the foam but also to take a thin layer of the surface with it if needed. once the form work was removed the remaining foam was sanded to the desired smooth finish. The cloth like undulations at the edges was created by cutting the curves on the wire foam cutter -passing it through vertically-  this was then glued to the formwork. The best results were achieved when the joints between the formwork and the curved blocks were as smooth as possible, but if not the workability of the acrylic one allows these joints to be smoothed out afterwards.

While I only had limited time to experiment with the material I think it has many potential applications and its limitations can be pushed much further than i had managed. I’d highly recommend it not only for its aesthetic values but also its workability after being poured, by which i mean the potential to alter its finish and also carve or work the surface.



The following text has been written by Max Nibbrig to explain his graduation project. Please click on the photos and take a good look. Max learned about the craft of bronze casting, but already knew about photography. And that’s an understatement.

Foundry pt.1

For my graduation project I designed a bronze foundry for the city of Amsterdam. The project aims at bringing back craft in to the city again by introducing a new place of work. Foundry pt.1 uses photography as a tool to explain architectural design. The images are pictures of 1:20 architectural scale models. These pictures explore spatial quality in relationship to light, atmosphere, material and use­. The photo series consist out of 11 pictures divided in to four themes; Foundry, Foundry Ceiling, Artist in Residence and Material and Detail. Moments within these four themes are carefully framed to show the potential of the space and the design.

The design consists out of two buildings. The big hall is a foundry for the casting of bronze and brass. On the central axis of the building the furnace is located where metals are melted. To the left and right there are casting pits where moulds can be placed to cast metal. Along the vertical axis of the building all the technical necessities as lighting, ventilation and movement are arranged.

The smaller space is an artist in residence building where artist can work in close cooperation with the foundry. He has his atelier on the ground floor and his living space on the first floor, making it possible to look down on the work whilst not working.

Both spaces deal with a floor that changes in to a plinth when the floor meets the wall. The plinth and floor work together to define a work area where things can be created.

1  2  3 4  5  6 7  8  9 10  11  12

Foundry pt.2

For my graduation project I designed a bronze foundry therefore I wanted to explore the possibilities of metal casting myself. Here fore I participated in a metal casting workshop organized by the Crafts Council in the Netherlands. In this workshop I had the possibility to create a metal casted site model of the location of my graduation.

I researched the possibilities of combining an old craft together with new production techniques. Sand casting is an old production technique for the casting of metals. This technique uses sand mixed with oil to create a mold. But before the casting can start the model needs to be created first. I made the site model first by 3d printing all the surroundings buildings and gluing them to a CNC-milled base plate. This model was then used to create the mold where the brass was casted in to.

In the accompanying pictures and movie you can see the process starting with the 3d printed objects to the finished model. The site model is in a 1:1000 scale and made out of solid brass. The four shinny bronze blocks is the final design of my graduation project. The ‘’legs’’ underneath the model are the air outlets of the mold. I decided to leave these on the model as a reference to the casting process.

1blog  2blog  3blog5blog  7blog  8blog9blog  Final_1blog  Final_3blog


-Crafts Council video:

-Sand casting a 1:000 architectural scale model in solid brass: