It’s Not Just For Models Anymore

Centerbrook’s “model shop” does more than create architectural models. From the obscure, mundane to the fantastic and transcendent, any object that contributes to design excellence is within our purview.

The shop has a 3D printer and an anvil. We use them both to make contrivances like: “fake” currency, asteroids, sculpture, column capitals, diagrammatic planning pieces, door knockers, material sample panels, awards, art installations, scientific apparatus, props, fountains, wall stencils, furniture, ornament, lighting, and signage.

We recently fashioned a full-sized mockup of an entry sign for Greenwich Country Day School’s new Upper School campus (Phase II). The design of the two-sided sign will be fashioned from quarter inch Corten plate steel, “folded” to create a channel shape. The school’s logo will be laser pierced through the steel, while the school name will be composed of 3D, CNC cut, pin-mounted aluminum letters. The inside surfaces of the channel will be painted orange so the design “pops.”

For the mock-up, we substituted quarter inch medium-density fiber (mdf) board for the steel. The pierced logo was made on our laser cutter and seamlessly embedded into the mdf with epoxy. The 3D letters were also laser cut, then painted to look like aluminum. Before attaching the letters, the “steel channel” was artistically painted to match patinaed Corten. Being two-sided, the sign allowed us to do slightly different iterations of the logo. We applied the orange to a removable panel so we could evaluate the design with or without it.

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The mock-up served three primary functions.

First, we wanted to evaluate the sign itself. How does it look? Is it the right size? Can you read it at a distance from a moving car?

Second, we wanted to determine the sign’s location. Where exactly should it go? How high should it be? At what precise angle? What could be obscuring sight lines to it?

Third, and unbeknownst to us, was that the evening of the day we evaluated the sign, the school was having an important event. They were so pleased with the sign that they wanted to show it off to build interest in the project. They asked us if we could leave the sign in situ. Of course, we complied.

We faked it. And by faked it, we made it look real. Really real. Really steely real. On that day, the “model shop” contributed to the excellence we strive for every day.

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