Construction of the main façade (south side)

Construction of the main façade (south side)

Main façade and plan view of incomplete model

Main façade and plan view of incomplete model

A 6-week project to create a model of Adolf Loos’s Doppelhaus using research from the RIBA Library, part of the Adolf Loos Season. The progress so far…

Progress
The shell of the model is almost complete. All the outer walls have been made and the windows cut. 

Set backs
The front of the model is dominated by a large window which illuminates the double-height living room. The cutting of the window frames for these was labour intensive, and there were early set-backs including an event where the mullions of the frames fell out and broke into pieces – the stray fingers of RIBA staff have been implicated. Mistakes with my measurements also meant sometimes parts had to be remade.

Damage to the model

Damage to the model

Alternatives techniques
I’ve used traditional model-making techniques for this project, but the same research and measurements could have been utilised for newer rapid prototyping techniques of model making, such as laser cutting or 3D printing. These have the advantages of being more accurate and requiring fewer scalpel blades (or plasters)!

Lighting
Architects like Loos played with light and space, which can be photogenic; there are examples by Edwin Smith I found during my research using RIBApix. Playing around with the lighting created some curious shadows from the model.

St Peter's Square, Rome, photographed by Edwin Smith (left), and incomplete model (right)

St Peter's Square, Rome, photographed by Edwin Smith (left), and incomplete model (right)

Next step
The model is currently a roofless and floorless structure with no inner walls. Making these features - with just two weeks remaining - will be an important next stage as it will define the interior and explore Loos’s theory on the arrangement of spaces (his Raumplan).

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit www.architecture.com

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1 Comment
  1. Keith Snook

    April 14, 2011

    Well done
    An interesting exercise that in its trials and tribulations seems to mirror real life.

    With reference to the work published in “Achieving Quality on Building Sites” – available from the RIBA Knowledge Community “Integrated Project Working” it is clear that contrary to industry rhetoric the main causes of quality problems are not due to ‘lack of skills’ but to ‘lack of care’. Before this causes offence let me explain. The single biggest cause of quality problems on site are due to the design side I’m afraid and manifest through missing or inadequate project information (ie drawings and specification details from designers instructing constructors on what is intended). The next is lack of care in construction which needs a little more explaining. Skill and care were separated by the research although old fashioned trade apprenticeships (7 years +) placed considerable emphasis in ‘pride in the work’. In the research (by the BRE) skills were measured and a failure where the appropriate skill – let us say dexterity skills for example – had been previously clearly demonstrated were interrogated further and generally could be classified as due to some kind of lack of care often with a secondary causation in failure a of management functions such as materials placement or poorly conceived bonus schemes. Another issue of care (which had its own category) was ‘failure to protect completed work’ – mostly an issue of management – although in the days of very little management and long apprenticeships it would have been deemed more a role for the trades people and was generally more successful; but of course these were simpler times all around.

    Going back to the project information issue – I’d be very interested to hear how this exercise can be compared and if the team want to make some objective measures I did a book many years ago “Production Drawings – a case study” within which there is a method of analysing information for adequacy. Luis Belmonte in the R&D office at 77 has several copies intended for use in CPD workshops.

    Keith

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