Reading's next top model: See replica of town centre being built piece by piece26 May 2017
Students at the University of Reading's new School of Architecture are to benefit from a large-scale physical model of Reading town centre, gifted by leading architecture firm Broadway Malyan who have local offices in Reading.
The 1.7-square-metre model covers two square miles of Reading town centre and the surrounding area. It is the most up-to-date detailed model of Reading town centre.
It was presented to staff and students on Thursday evening (25 May) at a public lecture at the University's London Road campus. The lecture, the last in a series organised by students around the theme Innovative Practice in Architecture, was given by Jeff Brooks, Design Director and Sean Cleary, Associate Urban Designer - both from Broadway Malyan.
The carefully crafted timber model has been built in sections so it can be taken apart and have new sections added to it as the town centre evolves. Strategic development sites in Reading can be removed and replaced with proposed schemes and seen in the context of the whole townscape.
It also enables the model to be used as a learning tool for the students, who started their first year Architecture degrees in September 2016 and are considering the built environment of Reading. The town centre is currently undergoing radical transformation with the expected arrival of Crossrail in 2019.
Town planners can also benefit from the model as the School of Architecture is part of a project to create an ‘Urban Room' location for discussions on the future development of Reading. The University is also part of the Reading UK 2050 project group, a collaborative group of professionals and academics established in 2013, delivering a strategic, long-term vision for what Reading will look like in 2050. This model can facilitate 3D representation of those visions.
Future scenarios for Reading town centre
Built by Broadway Malyan's professional model-makers using traditional wooden modelling methods, there are more than 1,000 pieces in total. It has taken two full-time workers two months to build the model, which is the biggest wooden model the company has ever built in terms of the number of pieces and has been created on 16 individual bases so it can be separated for teaching purposes.
The model, which is being unveiled following a public lecture given by Broadway Malyan at the University on Thursday 25 May, will sit in the foyer of the School of Architecture, currently based on the University's historic London Road campus.
Professor Lorraine Farrelly, Head of School and Foundation Professor of Architecture, said: "We are extremely grateful to Broadway Malyan for the generous donation of this model of Reading town centre. It will be a great learning tool for our students, and its flexible design will offer opportunities for our students to model future scenarios of Reading town centre. Their first year design projects have been based on sites in and around the town centre.
"Broadway Malyan has been an important part of an industry and practice group who have been very supportive to inform the curriculum for our new School of Architecture, which has a strong emphasis on links with industry and practice. I also appreciate their support offering our students valuable work experience in the course of their studies.
"With our founding cohort of students just about to proceed to their second year of study, the academic team in the School feel our first year of the new School of Architecture has been a real success. Receiving the model from Broadway Malyan is a positive ending to an exciting first year and the start of an ongoing relationship with the practice."
The model of Reading was unveiled by Professor Farrelly and David Anderson, Director of Broadway Maylan.
Mr Anderson, who runs the practice's Reading studio, said the relationship with the new School of Architecture reflected a long-standing culture in the practice of supporting the next generation of architects.
He said: "Over the past 60 years Broadway Malyan has supported hundreds of young architects through their professional training with many of them continuing their careers at the practice - in fact there are a number of the current board who first joined the practice as trainees.
"Working closely with schools of architecture is an important virtuous circle for our practice in that it allows our colleagues to offer the kind of support to young architects that they once enjoyed while also building a positive reputation for Broadway Malyan in what is ultimately a highly competitive sector.
"Broadway Malyan is a well-established practice in the Reading area and it has been fantastic to have been able to contribute to the new school of architecture from its inception and we are very excited about being able to deliver this model, which will not just be aesthetically beautiful but also a significant tool for learning."
The model will be available to view during the Architecture student exhibition, which runs from 20-25 June and is open to the general public.