Making a Site Model – The Outpost Project

Okay, so today we’re doing a site model of “The Outpost” project and I thought I’d just show you kind of my process here. So our first step is to determine the scale of the model and I’m here at the computer because I’m going to be printing out a template that we’re gonna use to cut our contours and size our model based from scale is going to be determined by how you want to actually use the model for this model we’re gonna use it as a design tool it needs to be large enough to look at roof forms large enough to look at its relationship to the topography but not so large that we have to invest a lot of detail and time and materials in building something that’s really large we want to be able to quickly iterate so just from experience I know it’s gonna be somewhere between 1/16 of an inch equals a foot and 1/4 of an inch equals a foot now 1/4 would be a really large model too much detail I’m not ready to make all the decisions that building a model that large would require whereas 1/16 of an inch it’s really tiny so really not a useful design tool for me so I’m gonna go somewhere in between there and I’ve chosen three thirty-seconds of an inch equals a foot now the other advantage to this is that the cork layers that I’m gonna use for the model base for the contours that’s also three thirty-seconds of an inch thick


so as I’m building up the contours of the topography I know for every layer I’m going to be looking at a one vertical foot increment here now we’ll move into the computer because I want to make a base template that I can use to start cutting all these contours with so if you didn’t catch the first video make sure you catch that but we basically wandered around this large property it’s about 80 acres and we settled on this as the building site we had a little chat sitting out on site here and looking out over the water and we flagged this as a GPS coordinate and we’ve overlaid that on the topography model the topography model shows the ocean shows where our setback is and I’m going to be using this to flag that on our model and this is our sort of general ideal building spot here I’m just gonna print this out at 24 by 36 so this is 24 inches this is 36 inches

I know I want to capture some of the ocean in here the contours are all shown here in yellow so I’m gonna print this out at 24 by 36 I’m going to use as a gauge to say roughly I want the site to be in the center here and then I’m gonna look and see what size we actually want this to be where do we want to clip the site model in here and we’ll talk about that next okay so let’s print this out knowing in general where you want to build on the site is helpful in determining how large you’re going to make this base couple of factors go come into play here number one is the how much context you want surrounding the site so I know in general the size of the house here when we build a model at this scale it’s gonna be about this large right so I want some space to either side of it but probably not too much because each one of these lines represents two vertical feet so that’s two layers of the thickness of cork

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that I have so this is probably close to 60 layers together so that’s a lot of cork so I want to kind of minimize that the other thing to think about here is what you want to study so I want to study the approach here so I know I want to capture some of this zone so lengthwise this looks about right because I want to show where the ocean is I want to show how this slope is impacted how far back the house is I want to be able to model some of the vegetation but equally I want to pay attention to the materials that I’m using so I know the roll of cork that I have is 48 inches wide so I want to choose some module that’s gonna correlate with that now I could choose 24 inches wide which would be the full width of this but I don’t know if the house is this large I just don’t need that much space to either side I actually know some of this is unbuildable so that’s not gonna help me that much I think if I go to a 16 inch wide model that would allow me to get three pieces out of the 4 foot wide roll of cork so that’s very material efficient so I think that zone is going to kind of run right centered on this ideal building spot right in here cork layers are cut step 1 so once I have all the layers cut next step is to come up with a base I’ve got 1/2 inch Homasote here and this is just gonna serve as a solid platform to build up the contours on top of so I’ve got my template sheet here and

I’ve labeled some of the contours the elevations here this represents the water’s edge this will represent the ocean – the water – and we always start by with the lowest contour so we’ll start building up from this point forward we don’t work from the top down where the smallest ones are we work from the largest ones up so we’ve got our base and I’ll just go ahead and start cutting make our first cut it doesn’t have to be completely precise this is a rocky shoreline so having kind of some uneven or more jagged cuts seems appropriate make sure you always keep a sharp blade this one looks like it not as sharp as it could have been that’s our first contour you’re always going to save the scraps so we can use those later on so contour number two cork is really forgiving in terms of how you’re cutting with it so let’s stop and take a moment here I’m getting to the top layers it’s been probably about 45 minutes that I’ve been cutting so not too bad but now we’re at contour 55 so actually just noticed that 54 comes in along here and 55 comes along here – so this topography there’s this kind of a ridge that’s running like this and then there’s a lower piece that kind of ducks in here okay so we’re at contour 55 so I know 55 has to be cut out of this contour but I also know that I missed a little bit on 54 so I need to go back to 54 that’s the one I just cut need to line up that edge and then I need to cut 54 out the dark dashed lines are what I received from the survey and then the pencil lines I interpolated between that the dark black lines represent a two-foot contour this cork is the thickness of one foot so I need to interpolate between the two so that’s all I did so with gluing I’m just gonna start in the opposite direction

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I’m gonna start with the top layers and move down and that’s because the top layers here are particularly curly and they’re kind of small so I like to group them together so I’m gonna start with this bunch that seems to be extra curly here I have a weight to help weigh things down as the glue dries so your glue choice here with cork cork is pretty porous and especially when it’s curled like this if you need to lay flat you need a glue that’s gonna dry quickly I’m using hot glue hot glue is maybe more permanent and for these smaller pieces totally fine with me for the most part these layers they’re all stacking nicely I don’t won’t really have to do much just the weight of them will hold them together probably this top zone I’ll end up pinning together or using some screws on it to keep it from curling over like this but definitely this pile needs some work so that’s what I’m gonna get started on so you can see we’ve got this top layer here the top contour fits like this so I know when I place this contour where exactly it registers and where it needs to go hot glue dries very quickly so it’s actually really nice to use in that regard so you can see with this if I didn’t have this piece to tell me exactly where it goes I would have no idea how to align it in this direction so with all this I kind of dry fit it get it close line things up then I’m gonna apply my glue and in this particular case I’m just applying it to the edges for the most part so let’s talk about some other adhesives

you could use you could do spray mount spray mount is nice for getting even coverage and actually you can remove the contours after they’ve been mounted with spray mount so I do like that for cork especially you could use a double sided tape oftentimes what I find with double sided tape is that it’s not quite sticky enough so if you want to tack layers together it works well for doing that so you could use a hybrid between say a white glue and double sided tape so the white glue would set more slowly the double sided tape would hold it while it’s setting in place the problem when you have porous materials like cork if you have a white glue which has a lot of water in it you will absorb that water into the material and the material will oftentimes buckle and bubble and you don’t really want that that’s not a desirable feature you could use glue sticks I find that they’re they’re not quite tacky enough you could use a Gorilla glue Gorilla glue will require you to wet the surface so again not like a huge fan of that helps if you get it all the way out to the edge I’m gonna press these layers together and then get them flat quick as you can we’ve got those pieces all glued together a lot less curly than it was for sure so you can see if I as long as I get this edge correct and I line up the back edge everything should be in alignment so for trees I have a bunch of wooden dowels

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I’m just gonna take them down to the chop saw and cut them to length a variety of lengths and then I’ll show you how I plant them so I’ve got my bucket full of different sized trees and they’re a variety of thicknesses so I’m just gonna go ahead and start making these up so if there’s any inconsistencies on the end just kind of sand that off so the next step is I just have these little dress pins some places call them silk pins some places call them hat pins ah, super cheap this was like 97 cents I think so you’re gonna grip the sharp end of the pin you’re going to push the sharp end of the pin into the end of the wood dowel and you want to grip it close by to the end you’re just going to push it in like that okay so a handy tip here is to put a rare-earth magnet on the edge of your pliers

if they’re not already magnetized and this way you can pick up the pins really easily next step is to clip it off and I usually leave about like a quarter of an inch and to clip that off when you’re snipping off this tag end here always hold on to it if you don’t it could go flying across the room and seriously hurt somebody and you clip it off then you just have this little pin end here so then when you’re ready to plant your tree you have the sharp end in the cork push it in because the cork is self-healing it’s really easy to modify where the trees are and if you need to remove some or add some it’s easy to do that without impacting the model base so lots of different ways to do water for this particular one I thought I was just gonna default to the Homasote – the gray of the Homasote here but I didn’t really like the texture on the face of it so I just swapped out a little piece of double sided 5 mil mylar then just slip that in there no gluing not necessary it just kind of lays there and so the next step here is to start designing can’t wait. See you again next time, cheers my friends!

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