I’ve been making architectural models professionally for over 25 years and this project is definitely the most unusual thing I’ve ever been asked to build!
I was approached by a chartered surveyor and historic buildings advisor to create a Doric portico, not in itself an unusual request, until he told me it was to frame a cat flap in his kitchen! This year has been tough for us all and receiving this request really made me laugh and cheered me up. At first I didn’t think this was a genuine enquiry but as we conversed on email I realised he was not only quite serious about the project, but also wanted to make certain that I could produce an architecturally accurate, complex and detailed design for him.
As I set to work I realised that the scale of this project was somewhat larger than I had anticipated and the whole structure would end up being over 60cm high. I’m used to working at 1:50 scale, where the average doorway is about 4cm high, so this model would be huge comparison.
I based my design for the portico on various Greek temples, and ruins I had photographed on a recent trip to Rome, giving it four columns and two pilasters. The whole structure was made in wood, with the capitals and bases of the columns made by 3D printing master shapes, which were then cast in resin. The model was finally painted with weathering and texturing to make it look like sandstone. The wooden columns had such a lovely grain to them that I decided to leave them unpainted and just gave them a light varnish.
My client was thrilled with the end result, which he published on his Twitter feed. It got over 1,000 likes in 24 hours, so clearly I’m not the only one out there who could do with a bit of cheerful distraction at the moment!