Quite a few people have sent me this link (or similar) along with comments like “look, isn’t this great – you’ll never have to build a model again”

Now I’m not denying that it’s cool, or that it has its uses – product manufacture, prototyping and the like ? but I?m not sure I can see it being used for architectural models. Not just yet anyway.

For a start there are a lot of technophobes and technocynics in and around the construction industry. There are also a lot of control freaks. Add the two together and you get people who know exactly what they want, how they want it and aren?t going to trust a machine to give them that. There are also a large number of architecture students who are quite happy to get model making experience (and staying up all night working experience) for very little more than the cost of the materials ? which is generally less than $100.

And just as CAD programmes (AutoCAD, AutoSketch, Microstation, VectorWorks, 3DStudio etc not to mention all the engineering ones that do all your calcs. for you) have changed how buildings are designed and built I think the use of this technology would too. Imagine if you had to design your buildings so that they could be printed in 3D? everything has to be supported from the bottom or the sides (or the top or sides if you print upside down I suppose.) So you can have ceiling fittings or furniture ? but not both. Stairs and balconies are probably quite hard to model too. And heaven forbid if want a model that comes to pieces so that you can look inside it. Very soon, you have to put as much design effort into building the model as you would into the building the real thing. And it?s not worth the time or the money.