Until the recession began in 2008, architect Damien Murtagh built bespoke scale models for his architectural clients. With the downturn in the economy, creating a disposable single-use model for each client became too expensive, so Murtagh began making re-usable components that could be snapped together in various configurations. He started selling the kits as Arckit in the UK and Ireland last year, envisioning them as a useful tool for professional architects. Now they will soon be available in the US as well.
Like LEGO, Arckit offers interchangeable components that can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways. According to the Arckit blog, “the freeform system makes it possible to build anything from iconic designs such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater to idyllic beachside retreats and even high-rise city structures.” Downloadable “architextures”, featuring a range of flooring, wall, and countertop finishes, can be printed on adhesive sheets included with the kits and then added to users’ designs. Using SketchUp 3D modeling software, kit owners can even design their own components and print them on their home 3D printers.
The toy-like appeal of Arckit has caught on with students, architecture hobbyists and children. The company recently hosted an Arckit scale model design workshop at Archikids Festival in London, where they experienced the broad appeal of the kits firsthand. “Over the weekend, we watched as children and adults put into practice fundamental engineering, design and architecture skills whilst having great fun building Arckit models.”
Architecture enthusiasts will be able to snag Arckit at Barnes and Noble starting this fall.
Images via Arckit