Spain, Santander

Modelmaking in the Digital Age

when 3 July 2016 - 9 July 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 550

International Summer Workshop
Modelmaking in the Digital Age
From Craftsmanship to Automated Production

Society teaches us how to use a product, education instructs us on how to design it, and our imagination pushes us to innovate, but who teaches us how to manufacture? What does creating an object involve in the twenty-first century? What is the meaning of craftsmanship in the Digital Age? This workshop aims to formulate an answer(s) to these questions through the process of making.

Our Architecture Summer Workshop is an introduction to the world of model making, embracing its different applications, scales and materials, while encouraging the research and discovery of new means of creating and representing the architectural model through a combination of fine arts techniques and digital production. We have developed the course to give students an understanding of what traditional craft and making mean in the digital age, so they can apply the process and method in their future practice.

Far from being overshadowed by the digital era, we believe that physical models reclaim, today more than ever, their place as a key element during the architectural process: from urban to interior design, public consultations to exhibitions, and even for interaction with the visually impaired. Utilised throughout all the phases of the design, from the early stages to final 1:1 scale mock-ups, physical models help us to visualise ideas, explain concepts, foresee problems and investigate solutions. This workshop explores the architectural model as an element on the borderline between craftsmanship and digital production that combines art and technical skills, reaching a result which is not a mere reproduction of the idea, but a unique creation itself.

Organized by Atelier La Juntana (ALJ), in collaboration with the Architecture Official College of Cantabria (COACAN) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (ETSAM), in every edition we gather 15 participants with various backgrounds to exchange ideas during one week under an inspiring teaching method and a creative atmosphere in a natural park in the north of Spain. A number of parallel activities are organized during the workshop, including a guided tour of the city of Santander, the final Exhibition at Architecture Official College of Cantabria, open doors day, evening trips to discover the natural park surrounding the atelier, and a mid-workshop barbecue. The course is recognised by the Polytechnic Architecture University of Madrid as part of the University Programme, and students are granted 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) upon completion.

As we understand that mastering the making processes is key in the every day of the architecture practice, we provide students with 10 different workshop units where they can experiment with the various architectural materials, from epoxy resin to cast glass, while developing an architectural model or mock-up. It is learning from this process, and not from the end result, which provides the participants with the necessary tools to comprehend the “why” and “how” of production techniques, allowing them to choose, recreate and improve the learnt method in their future practice. To embrace the maximum number of techniques, the course is taught across a series of hands-on, cross-curricular short exercises combining theory and practice, through which students are challenged to respond to a given brief by means of making. Varying in scale and duration, the exercises will be conducted through direct experimentation and manufacturing, and will include techniques such as embossing, etching, silk printing, carving, moulding, melting, welding and casting, making the students aware of the production time and process.

We consider tactile models as a crucial learning aid material for visually impaired people to understand the surrounding environment, the spatial elements and their interrelationships, helping to improve their orientation and mobility. In order to investigate this topic further, the workshop is done in collaboration with the Spanish National Visually Disabled Organization (ONCE), and methods on how to develop models adapted to the visually disabled are taught during the course. Students would have the opportunity, if they wish so, to explain their creations to visually impaired volunteers from ONCE, through an exchange of tactile experiences.

In the summer of 2016 we will host our 5th edition, taking advantage of the learnt experience with over 60 former participants. We believe that the knowledge, experience and network provided from the AA Visiting School would be a great asset for our workshop, and we would be thrilled to successfully align ourselves to the high standards that AA Visiting School represents in everything it does and we look forward to be challenged and to demonstrate our potential as part of one of the most exciting creative and learning institutions we have came across so far.

Facilities and Organization
The workshop is a full-time course, starting at 09.30am and finishing at 5.30pm each day, with a total of 56 learning hours. Each participant will have his or her own working space; access to Wi-Fi and the workshop library, printer and plotter; a resting area in the garden; and access to a small kitchen. Accommodation (bed and breakfast) in the surroundings of the workshop and pick up service from and to the main station in Liencres can also be provided upon request. The studio is divided into three different areas: the working space, where all the handling equipment is located; the research area, with access to computers, Wi-Fi and the library; and the resting area. In addition, certain activities will take place in the natural park surrounding the Workshop.

Throughout the course, the equipment and materials are available to participants. Use of machinery is subject to previous induction, and health and safety measures are fundamental to the use of the workshop. Facilities include:

-Carpentry and wood workshop
-Ceramic, clay and plaster workshop
-Slip casting workshop
-Metal melting and casting workshop
-Mould-making and resin-casting workshop
-Photography, silk printing and cyanotype workshop
-Engraving and press printing workshop
-Glass workshop
-Vacuum-forming workshop
-Laser cutting studio
-3D printing studio

Workshop stuff:
The workshop is directed by Armor Gutiérrez Rivas, Master in Architecture by ETSAM Madrid, member of the COACAN since 2010 and member of RIBA since 2014. Armor is a Project Architect at Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), London, and his previous work experiences includes working for MVRDV in Rotterdam and Bjarke Ingles Group in Copenhagen. Armor is also co-founder at Atelier La Juntana, architectural model making workshop, where since 2013 he organises the International Summer Workshop Model Making in the Digital Age. His works has being awarded and exhibited worldwide in several occasions, such as the 12th International Architecture Biennale in Venice 2010, the Architecture Official College of Madrid 20011, the Cité de l´Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris 2012 and the Architecture Official College of Cantabria 2015, among others.

The workshop is also led by 2 tutors, Nertos Gutiérrez Rivas, Master in Architecture by ETSAM Madrid and co-founder at ALJ, along with interdisciplinary artist Daniel Gutiérrez Adán, who counts with over thirty years of practice researching on the fields of contemporary sculpture, with his work being part of an extensive number of museums and collections, such as Museum Modern Kunst, Vienna; Mountrouge, Paris; New Europa Supranational Art, Milan; ARCO`01 Open Spaces, Madrid; Basel Art Fair, Switzerland or Runnymede Sculpture Form, Los Angeles.

The Workshop takes advantage of its unique location at the centre of Dunas de Liencres Natural Park, the largest protected natural area on the north coast of Spain. A mix of green and blue landscapes, featuring five different beaches, the River Pas estuary, the Liencres Pine Tree forest, the Quebrada Coast area and the Picota Hill, all within walking distance. In the evenings, different activities and trips provide the opportunity to discover this special location.

ETSAM, Polytechnic University of Madrid
COACAN, Architecture Official College of Cantabria
ONCE, National Visually Disabled Organization in Spain

4D Modelshop, architectural modelmaking resources.
Resineco, green composites and resins.

Course leader

Armor Gutierrez Rivas

Target group

Architects / Designers / Artist / Makers

Course aim

This workshop is an introduction to the world of Model Making. It embraces its different applications, scales, materials and techniques, while encouraging the research and discovery of new ways of making and representing the architectural model and prototype through a combination of fine arts and digital production.

Credits info

The course is recognised by the Polytechnic Architecture University of Madrid as part of the University Programme, and students are granted 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) upon completion.

Fee info

EUR 550: The workshop includes:
-56 learning hours.
-All practical materials, tools and machinery required.
-An instructional publication.
-Final Exhibition at Architecture Official College of Cantabria.
-Guided tour by the dean of culture of COACAN of Santander city centre.
-Pick up service from and to the main station in Liencres.
-Mid-workshop barbecue.
EUR 150: Accommodation in bed and breakfast.


10% discount for participants from Santander and groups.