An architectural model is a type of scale model – a physical representation of a structure – built to study aspects of an architectural design or to communicate design ideas.
Depending on the purpose, models can be made from a variety of materials, including blocks, paper, and wood, and at a variety of scales.
Buildings are increasingly designed in software with CAD (computer-aided design) systems. Early virtual modelling involved the fixing of arbitrary lines and points in virtual space, mainly to produce technical drawings. Modern packages include advanced features such as databases of components, automated engineering calculations, visual fly-throughs, dynamic reflections, and accurate textures and colours.
As an extension to CAD (computer-aided design) and BIM (building information modelling), virtual reality architectural sessions are also being adopted at increasingly faster rates. As this technology enables participants to be immersed in a 1:1 scale model, essentially experiencing the building before it is even being built.