Trained in fine arts and architecture, Steven Somogyi has also worked in construction with his father. “At school, we had to make architectural models for a project, and one of my professors hired me in my first year at the University of Montréal in architecture to make one,” he says. He modelled his creations in his basement for other teachers, before expanding his clientele and founding his model business in 2000, while his architecture business has existed for about twenty years now.
At the beginning of 3D visualization, models were somewhat neglected, but computing does not replace everything. “On-screen 3D models give a vision of a project, but they cheat reality a little bit. You can make, for example, a 600 square-foot condo look twice as big by changing the view angle. In the case of a building, it is not apparent how close the neighbours are or how the building integrates into the district. The architectural model clearly puts these points into context, which helps people really visualize a project,” notes the architect, a member of the Ordre des architects du Québec, OAA, MRAIC. He cites as an example several boroughs of Montréal, which now require small architectural models for new construction projects to give better context. This is also the case for promoters or private and corporate real estate developers, who call on the services of this architect craftsman to support presentations for potential clients.
Besides perspective, volume, and proportion—essential notions and calculations for producing a miniature—dexterity, meticulousness, and attention to detail are fundamental qualities in the model maker profession. “Training varies from country to country. For example, you must study architecture in Canada, while in France, establishments are specifically dedicated to the model maker profession. Therefore, I set up a test for my employees and trainees. I provide them with a straightforward basic plan and the required manufacturing materials, and I give them twenty-four hours to come back to me with their completed model,” explains the president of Atelier-S and maquette.ca.
Beyond the models constituting detailed, concrete, and easy-to-interpret representations, it is good to see that they arouse convivial discussions and reflections around a project.
Cover photo: Photo Mireille Caza.
Close-up of model for Guangzhou competition – mixed-use residential, retail and office project.
West Block rehabilitation project – Canadian House of Commons.