Living Large

Photograph by Dennis Carbo Photography
Above: This exquisitely crafted model was commissioned by Robert A. Cardello Architects and made by Modelmakers Ltd., a firm based in Cardiff.

When clients need help bridging the gap between blueprints and their new house, ROBERT A. CARDELLO ARCHITECTS has commissioned architectural models that offer clients the ability to “walk the grounds” of their future home. We asked Bob Cardello to fill us in:

Why commission a model like this for a client?
Traditionally, a 3-D model is the last and ultimate reflection of what a design will actually look like. These models are a great quality control check for us, and they offer clients a very realistic representation of this great investment they’re about to embark on. Each model is a scaled representation of what is drafted in two dimensions and often covers details both inside and out.

How are they made?
The model shown above is made of high-tolerance, thin- gauge acrylic sheets of varying thicknesses. It arrived in a large trunk with an incredible amount of foam and protective packaging.

How detailed are they?
The process involves creating scaled CAD drawings of floor plans and elevations and then laser-cutting the components from the acrylic sheet. Here, a precision Austrian laser cutter/engraver was used, allowing the modelmaker to engrave fine details, such as roof shingles, onto the surface of the acrylic. This model has interior lighting in the house and in the pool, and we can control the color of the lights. Robert A. Cardello Architects, South Norwalk; 203-293-2054;


Bob Cardello shares some stats on what it takes to create the average model home:

How long: Approximately 800 hours/6 weeks

How many people: 1 to 2 people

Size: A model typically sits on a 36-inch by 48-inch base with contours

Cost: $15,000 to $50,000, though sometimes more



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