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A
Z
Make models: 80 Charlotte Street
Current
2020
list Article list

Make models: 80 Charlotte Street

Client Derwent London
Scale 1:75
Dimensions 1200mm (l) x 1200mm (w) x 600mm (h)
Time to make 12 months
Materials Acrylic, spray paint, LED lighting, aluminium, stainless steel mesh
Model-makers TPA Model Makers

The project

80 Charlotte Street is a major mixed use development in London’s Fitzrovia. Occupying an urban block and the adjacent Asta House, it delivers over 320,000ft² of workspace, 55 new apartments, a café, a restaurant and the new Poets Park on Chitty Street.

The main block is characterised by varying facade treatments, setbacks and terraces. We retained portions of original brick facades along Whitfield and Chitty Streets, while unitised board-marked concrete cladding wraps half of the block, and new grey and black brick elevations complete the rest. A monolithic Corten structure frames the main entrance.

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The model

The 80 Charlotte Street model, by TPA Model Makers, was made to be displayed in the marketing suite. It represents the main block, which houses 9 storeys of workspace, 19 apartments, the restaurant and café. The new pocket park is nestled at the base of the Chitty Street elevation.

The model is remarkable not only for its precision and detailing, but also because it features a hydraulic system that allows the model to open on two sides, providing views into the deep floorplates. The rest of the construction, however, was relatively straightforward, despite the complexity of the building itself, which has five different facade types: shutterboard concrete, retained red and yellow brick, and new grey and black brick.

 

The large base, which measures 1200mm x 1200mm x 1000mm, is made of a lightweight aluminium frame clad in three layers of stainless steel mesh – the same mesh design used in the building’s lift cars and architraves. Each layer is a different gauge, starting with medium, overlaid by fine, and finished with large.

The floorplates were made of numerous layers of laser-cut and sprayed acrylic, with LED lighting sandwiched within them. Due to their size, many had to be made from smaller individual sections, as the dimensions exceeded those of TPA’s laser cutter at the time. The finished slabs were stacked over metal rods, which were sleeved to represent concrete columns in sections where the existing structure was retained. In the new-build portions, the rods were left as is, to represent the exposed steel beams of the industrial-inspired design. The hollow building cores, meanwhile, house cabling for the lighting.

For the facades, TPA drew up the elevations and laser-cut and sprayed acrylic sheets to represent either brick or concrete. These were then stuck over a clear layer to represent glazing, and etched to provide realistic material detail. The pillow-like ETFE roof over the main atrium was vacuum formed from a clear, high-impact polystyrene sheet. To create the correct shape, acrylic profiles were laser cut and stuck together, with a two-part filler to fill the gaps, creating a smooth mould for the vacuum forming machine. The roof terraces are animated with figures and planting.

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At ground level, the development’s signature Corten frame around the main entrance was made with acrylic, and sprayed with a brown and orange speckle finish. The ribboning, shutterboard GRC internal cladding in the main reception is likewise laser-cut, sprayed and etched acrylic. TPA animated the entrance with some artwork and reception furniture.

The model’s pièce de résistance – the automated open-and-close feature – is powered by a series of step motors located underneath the frame pad, and manual buttons on the model’s base. The Charlotte Street elevation opens like a book, while the retained yellow brick and shutterboard concrete of the Whitfield Street elevation lowers into the base to reveal the inside. For this feature to be successful, everything had to be built perfectly square and incredibly robust. This would ensure each component stayed tightly in line, over dozens – if not hundreds – of openings and closings over its lifetime.

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