Scott Miller graduated from BA (Hons) Modelmaking and now works for B.15 Modelmaking Workshop at Manchester University.
“So at the end of the course everyone attended the New Blades show in London, which is a big showcase of industry professionals in all aspects of Modelmaking. Architectural model making became my focus and I won an award, which was sponsored by Foster & Parters. It opened up a lot of opportunities for me and I got a lot of job offers and potential avenues to go down. The offers were mainly in and around London and I felt this wasn’t where I wanted to be. Even on the course this was hard for me to be away from home.
Despite this I took up a job in London. I went for Network Modelmakers, as I felt like I could be part of the team rather than just a cog in the wheel. The other companies just seemed to be demanding too much and I wasn’t going to stand for that. At Network I felt like I was respected as an individual.
I think it goes a long way, coming out of uni having some experience of the working world and knowing how to value yourself and being confident about your position. I had worked briefly at Manchester Uni, where I work now, and at a lot of other model making companies so I had built up a good network of contacts. I knew where to get information and also what my skills and qualifications were worth.
I didn’t feel happy there so I decided to move back near home. I was very quickly able to pick up work opportunities, I worked at three different companies over a year and a half/two years, then I had the opportunity to work here temporarily. It was evident when I got there that a permanent post was needed, so eventually that was created and, after a recruitment process and interview, I was appointed.
My role here is to offer Modelmaker advice theory of why Architects make models and how students of Architecture can use model to aid understanding of what it is they are trying to create. I’m here as a theoretical supervisor and a technical supervisor, guiding the students on using the machines and finishing and bring my industry experience to them to instil a high standard of working, which hopefully they will bring into their own practice and careers as architects.
Commercially it’s about money but, in good architectural practices, the model is used as a tool to understand more fully what it is they are designing and to help them overcome certain problems. There is a lot that can be achieved digitally but to have something you can hold, pass around the room is really important. It’s sometimes more effective than drawing, to make something out of paper or card, usually inexpensive materials to see problems before they arise. There is a common misconception that if the technology is modern or you spend a lot of money on the materials that that instantly makes it better but it’s only as good as the design behind it. If the design is poor you can’t hide that even if it’s made of solid gold. So that’s our goal is to develop good designers.
I have always worked on side projects from home alongside freelance work and one of these projects was working on the second edition of a book, which I referred to during my studies, called Architectural Modelmaking. I was fortunate enough to be invited to work on that, so I did a lot of the text and technical information for that.
Being here has involved me archiving the models from the history of the school; cataloguing them and, as a sideline of that, we decided to curate a celebratory exhibition for the 45th anniversary of the school. The exhibition chronicles model types throughout the history of the school and it also serves as a reference and as an inspiration to students for approaches to architectural model making.
The best thing that I got out of AUB was learning how to learn so I could accept any job that came my way. I am able to turn my hand to anything. I know where to look to be able to learn it. I may be labelled a model maker but there are a lot of things that I can transfer my skills to.”