The Case for Project Based Learning in 3D

What is the best way to learn the physics behind bridges? By building one.

To build a functional bridge, it’s important to have an understanding in the basics of physics, Newton’s Laws, the properties of matter, and other factors that inform us of our physical world, but it can be challenging to see how they all work together at the same time. The best way to learn about bridges is to build a model of one – a perfect project based learning (PBL) activity. That’s just what students do in Glenn Couture’s high school classes. Explore Glenn’s PBL tips and access a roundup of 3Doodler K-12 lessons to bring PBL to your learning environment.

PBL to Engage Students

Glenn Couture teaches honors and AP physics at a high school in Norwalk, Connecticut. During the school year he guides students through a wide range of topics, including kinematics, the relationship between work, power and energy, waveforms, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electricity, and light.

Couture guides students to make models using 3Doodler pens

A key part of teaching these topics is taking abstract descriptions of how physics work and letting students explore them hands-on through PBL. Couture caps off many of his curricular units with  projects that enable students to apply what they’ve learned to a real-world problem. Students demonstrate their understanding of complex topics by creating their own 3D models. This application of difficult concepts ensures students build confidence, express creativity, and offers tools for visual learners.

3D Application in Chemistry Class

Couture used 3Doodler pens in a unique chemistry project to build models of a side-face molecule placement crystal.

A Doodled visualization of molecules in a crystal lattice

“In chemistry, solids form crystals,” he explained while showing off the cube, a helpful tool for visualizing the relationship between molecules in a crystal lattice.

With 3Doodler students have the advantage of creating a 3D model by hand, which they then use to study the stability of various crystal types.

“I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa,” Couture added. He feels that 3Doodler pens are the ideal tools to bridge that gap.

Jumpstart PBL with 3Doodler K-12 Lessons.

Doodle Wheelers (Force and Motion)

Recommended grades: K-2
Learn about: Simple machines, force and motion
Overview: In this activity, students explore the size of wheels and their effects on force and motion. Students will design and create one small-wheeled racer and one large-wheeled racer using clothespins and a 3Doodler pen.

View Lesson

STEM: Earth’s Structure and Beyond!

Recommended grades: 3-5
Learn about: Structure of Earth and other planets
Overview: Students will create 3D models of cross-sections of planets and compare and contrast the structures and layers of them. Students will record their observations of the differences of cross-sections of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

View Lesson

STEM: Bridging the Gap

Recommended grades: 6-8
Learn about: Physics, STEM
Overview: In this activity, students will work to design a bridge and test its ability to bear weight when spanning a gap of 20 cm using a 3Doodler and no other materials.

View Lesson

3D Atoms

Recommended grades: 9-12
Learn about: Rutherford atom model
Overview: In this activity, students will work to create a Rutherford model of an atom in 3D with the 3Doodler pen. Students will study their models and identify the part of an atom. They will share their work and to demonstrate their comprehension of atom structure.

View Lesson

See our full collection of 3Doodler Lesson Plans

Click here

Are you inspired by Glenn Couture’s use of PBL to enhance learning and comprehension? How do you incorporate PBL in your lesson plans? Our community of parents and teachers want to know. Share your thoughts with us on social media, and be sure to tag us!

@3Doodler #3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU #WhatWillYouCreate #ProjectBasedLearning #PBL

Making Physics Physical

What is the best way to learn the physics behind bridges? By building one.

To build a functional bridge, it’s important to have a strong backing in the basics of physics, Newton’s Laws, the properties of matter, and other rules and facts that describe our world—but it can be hard to see how they all work together at the same time. The best way to learn about bridges is to build them. And that’s just what they do in Glenn Couture’s class.

Getting the Drop on Science

Couture teaches Honors and AP physics at a high school in Norwalk, Connecticut. During the school year he guides students through a wide range of topics that make up physics. These include kinematics, the relationship between work, power and energy, waveforms, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electricity and light.

Glenn Couture creates physics models using the 3Doodler Create.

A key part of teaching these topics is taking abstract descriptions of how physics work, and letting students experience them first hand.

"Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board." Share

Getting through those disparate topics can take a good chunk of time, but Couture caps off many of the units with physical projects. These let students apply what they’ve learned in class to a real-world problem, demonstrating that they haven’t just learned information, but they have an understanding of how to use it.

We gave Couture a 3Doodler Create and asked him to come up with exciting ways he could incorporate it into his lesson plans. One of the first things he looked at was the classic “egg drop” experiment.

Extreme Packaging

“In the current rendition of the egg drop, the students are only allowed to use plastic drinking straws, any sort as long as there’s no paper on them, masking tape, and one raw, uncooked, uncoated, unpainted egg. The idea is to have the egg land without breaking,” Couture said.

When it comes to the actual design of the project, he has only one limitation: “It has to fit through the door of the classroom. I’ve had students come close with that depending on how many straws they’re using.” The eggs and their straw enclosures are then brought to the school’s roof and dropped 55 feet to the ground. Only those students who have eggs survive the fall receive an A.

A prototype of a Doodled egg cage.

Couture wants to attempt a variation on that project using the 3Doodler, with some new constraints. “This could be done on a smaller scale, directly in the classroom,” Couture said while examining a prototype 3Doodler egg cage. “I don’t think that it could work the full distance of 55 feet, but 16 or 18 feet would work.”

He envisions a second round of testing, while providing only a limited number of rods to students. This would add a component of “cost effectiveness” to the project. In the real world, engineers often have limited materials to work with, and need to find ways to balance competing goals.

“We had a chance to visit with the packaging engineers at a [cookie manufacturer] where they have to package things to be in trucks and things like that. So there’s that application of what they learn in the egg-drop, where they keep a product from breaking up, but we can also go bigger and look at the failed Mars Climate Orbiter of the 90’s where the probe was lost because of an error translating metric and imperial units.” Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board.

Model Atomic Behavior

Other projects that Couture was able to develop during his time with the 3Doodler include more illustrative of processes in physics. He built a prototype model of a side-face molecule placement crystal.

A Doodled visualization of molecules in a crystal lattice.

“In chemistry, solids form crystals,” he explained while showing off the cube, a helpful tool for visualizing the relationship between molecules in a crystal lattice.

"I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa." Share

The 3Doodler offers an advantage for these models by producing long lasting models which illustrate the stability of various crystal types. Couture said that he would like to let groups of students work on different crystals and build up a collection of varieties over time.

“I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa,” Couture added. He feels that the 3Doodler is a unique opportunity to bridge that gap, as well as more literal ones.

Building Bridges

Another physical project that Couture’s students engage in is called “Quakertown.” Students create buildings out of folded paper that must withstand both the addition of weights and a mechanically shaken table to simulate both static and dynamic loads.

A Doodled Parker Truss bridge.

Students in his classes could one day create bridges using the 3Doodler to understand the how these complex structures operate, and compare the strengths and weaknesses of different designs.

"On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis, but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis." Share

Couture put together a Parker Truss bridge, using a template from online. He chose the design because its gentle curve would be hard to replicate using other craft methods. However, Couture felt the 3Doodler was easily up to the task, especially after he had cut his teeth putting together other projects.

Teaching in 3 Dimensions

The last of the four samples he produced was a model of the orbitals which describe where electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom might be found.

A Doodled orbital model.

“On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis,” Couture explained as he put the finishing touches on the model, “but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis.”

After spending some time exploring the possibilities of the 3Doodler, Couture describes himself as interested in finding even more uses for the tool. It opens up unique opportunities to explore the world of physics. And those opportunities extend beyond his own classroom.

“My wife teaches seventh and eighth grade science, and she’s interested in it too. They do a bridge project using toothpicks and glue. The problem with that is it takes so long for the glue to set but this is practically instant.”

New STEM fields are emerging all the time, and rising to those challenges will require a mixture of hands-on experience, creativity, and intuitive knowledge. Couture’s time with the 3Doodler has shown just a few ways that it can help provide just that.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

6 New Themed Kits for 3Doodler Create

Decorate your home, cater a party, or recreate architectural masterpieces in meticulous detail.

Introducing six new project kits for 3Doodler Create. With a wide range of activities to choose from, these kits have everything you need to create, including detailed stencils, step-by-step instructions, and specially selected plastic.

Doodled Designs: Tiffany Candle Holders

Louis Comfort Tiffany first pioneered his Art Nouveau Tiffany Lamp glass designs in 1878, taking inspiration from Roman and Syrian medieval glass techniques to create a new type of glass known for its brilliant colors.

Now you can recreate the detail and magic of Tiffany’s glass with a kit inspired by his designs.

The Tiffany Candle Holder brings the Art Nouveau style to three original nature scenes. The square Hummingbird Field, the round Koi Pond, and the Fall Butterfly with a multi-level edge and 3D butterfly attachment.

Lifelike Doodling: Flower Bouquet

Bring the fine art of flower arrangement into your home with a bouquet that will never wilt.

Create endless array of possibilities by balancing large blooms like Gerbera Daisies, Roses, and Sunflowers with the delicate accents of Baby’s Breath, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Ferns.

An entire garden is at your fingertips to create a unique arrangement for every room.

Festive Functions: Party Decor

Looking to throw a picture-perfect party that shows off your creative side?

Whether you’re hosting a fun birthday bash, cozy holiday celebration, or upscale dinner party, this collection of party accessories lets you customize your decor to suit your event.

With baubles, napkin rings, place cards, cupcake toppers and more, you can be sure to throw a party to remember.

Cultural Icons: Tuk Tuk

Recreate a staple of Southeast Asian street life, and take on the Tuk Tuk.

Imagine yourself barreling down the streets of Bangkok or ambling through the ruins of Angkor Wat in the back of these iconic motorized vehicles.

Moving parts and minute details in the project kit stencils let you bring a piece of modern history to life.

Amazing Architecture: Fallingwater

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday with a carefully crafted recreation of one of his most famous buildings.

Fallingwater showcases Wright’s ideals of creating harmony between architecture and nature.

In collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Licensed Project Kit includes detailed stencils created from the original Fallingwater floor plans, so anyone can create Wright’s masterpiece in miniature scale.

Modernist Masterpieces: Farnsworth House

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House

Apply your modeling skills to the modernist movement, with this recreation of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most iconic structure.

The simple geometric construction of The Farnsworth House makes modeling it an exercise in precision, as the smallest details and lines can affect the end result.

Honor this National Historic Landmark with this Licenced Project Kit, created in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

All six of these new 3Doodler Create Project Kits are available now, exclusively from our online store. What will you create?

A Model for Modernism

At a dinner party in 1945, famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was approached with an offer.

Prominent Chicago nephrologist Dr. Edith Farnsworth wanted Mies to create a weekend getaway along the Fox River in Plano, Illinois. The offer was for Mies to design the house as if it were for himself.

The result was the culmination of the unique take on modernist architecture for which Mies became an icon. With the launch of a new 3Doodler Create themed kit for the Farnsworth House, we take a look at the inspiration and architectural movement behind this stunning example of modernism.

A Higher Unity

While many modernist architects believed architecture should be used to socially engineer human behavior and guide occupants to higher ideals, Mies used his buildings differently.

Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

His architecture still represented his ideals and aspirations, but instead of constructing in a way to carefully engineer a result, Mies instead focused on freedom of movement and use. With a minimal framework and expressed structural columns, his buildings offered and open space in which inhabitants could express their own spirit—something he saw as crucial to elevating the harmony between architecture and humanity.

"In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art."-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Share

Mies often reflects the industrial culture he saw as growing in the United States within his own architectural aesthetic, and uses this to offer occupants a flexible and unobstructed space.

His ultimate purpose was to join together natural elements with culture and construction. “We should attempt to bring nature, houses, and the human being to a higher unity,” Mies once said, and he reflected this ideal through designs featuring glass walls and few solid exterior walls.

Part of a Larger Whole

Constructed in a pastoral setting, the Farnsworth House is a clear culmination of the modernist ideals Mies sought to bring together in his designs.

"If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole."-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Share

The singular geometric form of the house is simple in the extreme, constructed of steel and glass with a minimal form. The one-room rectangular structure sits parallel to the Fox River, with a perpendicular cross axis directly facing the river and nature.

Elevated 5 feet and 3 inches above the ground, and with floor-to-ceiling glass as the outer walls, the Farnsworth House appears to be floating within the natural landscape around it.

The glass walls encircle an open floor plan with a core wooden block containing the toilet and kitchen—a wooden room nesting inside the larger glass rectangle. Each area of the living space—areas for sleeping, eating, sitting, and cooking—is suggested by the arrangement, but ultimately the inhabitant is free to decide the use of space as they desire.

An Icon of Modernism

To honor this National Historic Landmark and icon of modernist architecture, 3Doodler is pleased to present a unique Farnsworth House theme kit for 3Doodler Create.

The 3Doodler Farnsworth House Kit

In collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Licensed Project Kit includes detailed stencils created from the original Farnsworth floor plans, so anyone can create this modernist masterpiece in miniature scale. The kit also includes a visual step-by-step guide and four packs of ABS plastic to replicate the original structure. Learn more about the the making of this kit here.

The Farnsworth House Kit will be available alongside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater Kit. Sign up for notifications on the release of these new kits:

Falling for Frank Lloyd Wright

The father of organic architecture turns 150 years old in June. The impact of interior designer, architect, writer, and educator, Frank Lloyd Wright can still be seen today.

Having designed over 1,000 structures in his lifetime, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright has made a lasting impact on architecture and design. In celebration of his 150th birthday, we are pleased to present a new 3Doodler Create Project Kit for Wright’s signature example of organic architecture, Fallingwater.

Celebrating 150 Years

With 532 completed structures over the span of a 70-year career, Frank Lloyd Wright has become an icon of American architecture. Twelve of his buildings are listed amongst Architectural Record’s hundred most important buildings of the century.

"We are all here to develop a life more beautiful, more concordant, more fully expressive of our own sense of pride and joy than ever before in the world."-Frank Lloyd Wright Share

Wright firmly believed that architecture was “the mother of all the arts,” and approached each design with this intensity of conviction. His aim to was to reflect the landscape, people, culture, and feel of America within his own designs and architecture.

With dramatic new shapes and designs, Wright developed what he called “organic architecture”, representing what he saw as the harmonious connection of the citizens of the United States with both each other, and to the land they call home. As such, his homes center around shared spaces such as the dining table, music rooms, and terraces to encourage a sense of community and closeness to both family and nature.

Fallingwater

None of Wright’s structures reflects the harmony between architecture and nature better than Fallingwater.

"The making of a good building, the harmonious building, one adapted to its purposes and to life, [is] a blessing to life and a gracious element added to life, is a great moral performance."-Frank Lloyd Wright Share

Constructed between 1936 and 1939, the residence was designed for the Kaufmann family in southwest Pennsylvania. Stretching over a 30-foot waterfall, the house is a shining example of Wright’s commitment to a unique architectural design that integrates family life with natural surroundings.

While the Kaufmanns had requested a house with a view of the waterfall, Wright wanted them to instead live with the water itself, and to make the falls an integral part of their everyday life. His organic design was detailed down to the colors, with only two distinct colors used in the final building, both tied closely to the materials used—the light ochre of the concrete, and Wright’s own signature Cherokee red on the steel.

Since Fallingwater first opened its doors to the public in 1964, over 4.5 million visitors have come to see Wright’s architectural masterpiece first-hand.

Recreating a Piece of History

To honor this National Historic Landmark and icon of organic architecture, 3Doodler is pleased to present a unique Fallingwater theme kit for 3Doodler Create.

In collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Licensed Project Kit includes detailed stencils created from the original Fallingwater floor plans, so anyone can create Wright’s masterpiece in miniature scale. The kit also includes a visual step-by-step guide and four packs of ABS plastic to replicate the exact colors of the original structure. Learn more about the the making of this kit here.

Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday by recreating one of the most powerful pieces of American architecture. Sign up for notifications on the release of this new kit at the3Doodler.com.

Making Models True to Life

Creating scale models is all about detail. To create stunning replicas that remain true to the original takes careful planning and precise execution.

Cornelia Kuglmeier knows just how detailed a Doodled model can be. An artist and teacher with a passion for architecture, Cornelia has successfully recreated several detailed models of world-famous buildings. In addition to creating a scale replica of the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, she’s also worked on miniature versions of iconic Modernist architectural masterpieces like the Farnsworth House and Fallingwater.

Cornelia says that when using the 3Doodler to create scale models, all it takes to get started is an idea, a steady hand, and a lot of patience.

Not Every Building Has Four Plain Walls

“You can choose any type of building you like,” Cornelia says, “or invent a new one!” Style, period, or complexity of the structure aren’t as important as your personal interest and passion.

If creating a unique building of your own design, Cornelia recommends making a draft of the building using 3D software first. “Make sure you have all the walls, the roof and the floor,” she says. “Show every side to have a good idea on what it will look like when it’s finished.”

When creating a replica of an existing building, it may be easier to know how the finished piece should look—but this also means execution must be precise. Cornelia says when making models of famous buildings, she always begins by finding a floor plan. “This is crucial!” she says. The floor plan allows for better construction, even if your main concern is how the outside of the building will look.

"You need a stencil for every side of every element of your building. Walk around it in your imagination and count corners and spaces for every floor. " Share

In addition, Cornelia says it’s important to find photos, plans or drawings for every side of the structure. “I also hunt for detailed pictures that show decoration or any other special things,” Cornelia reveals, as often these small additions can provide the key to capturing the essence of the architecture.

Detail may also determine the size of the model. “The more detail you want to show, the bigger your Doodled building will be,” Cornelia explains. “If necessary, simplify forms or leave out details that are less important.”

With floor plans, reference photos, and a concept of size and scale, you can begin to create your stencils. “You need a stencil for every side of every element of your building,” Cornelia says. “Walk around it in your imagination and count corners and spaces for every floor. Not every building has just four plain walls.”

Plain Edges and Clean Corners

When recreating any piece of architecture, an awareness of materials can be just as important as understanding the structure. “Dots, short strokes, thin, medium or thick plain lines, checkered spaces, zig-zag or chevron patterns—all result in different surfaces which can mimic different materials,” Cornelia explains.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

When creating a scale replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater, Cornelia had to test a variety of techniques in order to achieve all the different textures which came from various construction materials and the natural environment around the house. The trick when creating a model is to experiment and test what your 3Doodler can do. “Choose what looks most similar to what you want to build.”

But precision is key when it comes to model building. “Plain edges and clean corners are essential to create fine rectangular buildings,” Cornelia says. “It helps to draw the outlines first and then fill in the spaces.”

For curved areas, Cornelia recommends finding something to use as a mould rather than attempting to Doodle free-hand. “Think about hot-airing a flat Doodled piece around a bottle, vase, or whatever you have that suits the size you need,” she says.

Time and Patience

When constructing your model, relying on a scaled version of the original floor plan can help ensure the form and shape are correct. Cornelia recommends working from bottom to top, and inside to outside, which is what she did when creating her scale model of the Farnsworth House, designed and constructed by Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

“Try as much as possible to Doodle your pieces together at invisible spaces,” Cornelia says, “from the inside, from underneath, and so on.”

Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Cornelia says not to be afraid to use outside materials to clean up stray strands, like scissors, knives or other blades. When building any structure, having edges fit together is key to recreating an accurate portrayal of the final building.

But most important of all, says Cornelia, is time and patience. Precision is vital, and mistakes do happen. Enjoy the process, and keep the final result in sight.

If you’re looking to try your hand at creating scale models, 3Doodler will be releasing both of these amazing buildings as 3Doodler Create Project Kits in collaboration with National Trust for Historic Preservation and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, so that anyone can re-create these eye-catching structures themselves.

Tiny Doodles Breathe Life into Tiny Spaces

Breathing life into an otherwise static scene is a challenge faced by every designer, architect or engineer in their daily work. “How can I convince my client that this town layout, building, museum or gallery will be enjoyed by real people going about their everyday business? And how can I bring hallways, auditoriums, and city streets to life with little more than an uninhabited scale model?”

To answer this question, Nikka Francisco, undergraduate at the Savannah College of Art and Design and 3Doodler design intern, takes us on a tour of a gallery teeming with Doodled life.

Blank Space

The gallery was created as a part of a course in 3D Design Form & Space, essentially a foundation course in how to think in 3D. The aim of the course is to think in different ways about installations and sculpture, creating models for presentation to others. Students have struggled to show how their ideas would work in reality, which prompted me to think a little differently, adorning the walls with the works of American Artist Alex Grey, and filling the gallery with a series of unique Doodled people.

Thinking Differently

Most of the time people purchase small sculpted models, but I wanted to make this my own personal work, even the people inside the gallery. The other problem with pre-made sculptures is that you can’t really change them – they are fixed and they aren’t designed for your specific space or experience.

Using the 3Doodler, things happen that you don’t always expect. You can’t always control the way the plastic flows, but that lack of predictability can often be more realistic. In some parts of the gallery it looks like the people are actually in motion, reacting to things, and it gave a better sense of relationship between the person and the artwork they were looking at.

All the right moves and all the right places

I didn’t plan out who would go where at the start. Instead I Doodled a small army of people and then placed them in different parts of the museum, in positions that fit best, moving them around until it felt right. On placing the people inside, it started to feel like an actual gallery, and that the space itself was possible.

You have the two people in the lift peering out through the glass; your typical gallery poses – some people striding by, while others sit and stare at a painting for hours; and then those taking a time out out in the Cafe. Most of the people actually look like they’re dancing!

When I presented the work the reaction was surprise, but positive surprise.

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia with Cornelia Kuglmeier

We have seen members from our creative Community do incredible things, from art to fashion to full-size cars. Cornelia Kuglmeier has been a dedicated member of our 3Doodler Community from the very beginning, and last year took on a project that required the precision, attention to detail, and artistic ability that only she could bring.

The Sagrada Challenge

“I like big challenges,” says Cornelia Kuglmeier. A school teacher from Germany, Cornelia has worked with 3Doodler on incredible artistic pieces in the past. But earlier this year, Cornelia completed her largest and most detailed project to date: a scale model of the Sagrada Familia.

Laying out the facade

Designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), the Sagrada broke ground in Barcelona in 1882 and remains unfinished to this day. In addition to the immense complexity of the building, the completion of the Sagrada was made even more difficult with Gaudi’s sudden death, after which his notes were lost for many years and then later partially destroyed by anarchists in 1936.

"I’m a big planner. I just don’t Doodle without a clue on how to begin and how to move on from each point" Share

To recreate the Sagrada, Cornelia researched Gaudi’s design plans extensively as preparation for creating her model with the 3Doodler.

“I’m a big planner. I just don’t Doodle without a clue on how to begin and how to move on from each point,” Cornelia says. “So I first did some very long and some very detailed research. Then I made myself stencils where I counted on heights and relations on the different parts, and even drew in some decorations to see how much space it would take.”

Immense Complexity

“Gaudi had a very unique idea of building and architecture,” Cornelia explains. “You basically have the outer structure of a Gothic church in the Sagrada Familia, but the sustaining structure on the inside is completely different from what we know of the Gothic epoch.”

Gaudi's hanging chain model

To add to the complexity, nearly every aspect of Gaudi’s architectural design was new and unheard of. “He designed the curved towers by building what he called a ‘hanging model’,” Cornelia says, describing how Gaudi hung ropes weighed down with sand bags to create curved lines for the shapes of the towers. “Their shape, modelled on parabolas, was Gaudì’s way of creating self-supporting structures that would overcome the faults of Gothic architecture.”

Innovative aesthetic twists also provided special challenges to the original builders. “The most difficult part of construction on the real Sagrada was the sustaining structure in the naves holding the roofs and towers,” she says. “Gaudi wanted the pillars inside the church to be shaped like trees with branches, supporting the arches and symbolizing the leafy roof of a forest. Such a system of pillars and arches had never been built before.”

Unwavering Perfectionism

Gaudi’s genius and innovation meant a slow construction process. “I think one of the reasons it is not finished now is because the technique was very different and they had to go step by step to invent it,” Cornelia says. “And it’s huge. It’s meant to be the tallest Christian church when it’s finished.”

"It was obvious back then that Gaudi would not live to see his project finished" Share

But Gaudi was never in a rush to see the Sagrada Familia completed. “It was obvious back then that he would not live to see his project finished,” explains Cornelia. “But when they told him that, and asked if he wanted to simplify some things or stick to knowledge they had already about architecture, he said he wouldn’t change anything because his client had all the time to wait, and wasn’t in a hurry. He meant God of course.”

144 Years in the Making

While the Sagrada Familia is planned to be completed in 2026 (144 years after it first broke ground), Cornelia’s Doodled model took only four months – although with its own unique challenges.

The first major challenge was researching the plans of Gaudi’s original design so the model could stay as close to his vision as possible. “The original ground plot and floor plan was essential,” she says. “Without it, assembling and planning would not have been possible. The main structure is a so-called “latin cross”, the church itself is some sort of modified Gothic style. As those are very strictly planned, the original ground plot studies were very helpful.”

But other parts of the design plans were more difficult to research.

Constructing the Facades

The finished Sagrada will have three detailed façades depicting different chapters from the life of Christ. Cornelia wanted to include as much detail on each façade as possible. “This was complicated though, as only one façade is fully built, the Nativity Façade,” she says. “I could not find a photo of the fully built Passion Façade, so I had to stick to models, which are sometimes slightly simplified.”

"The figures were so tiny. I had to simplify some areas, and reduce others. Some things I had to invent" Share

“The Glory Façade was completely built after model views. What made my work so difficult was that there are actually at least two models; one very colourful, highly decorated model, supposed to be made by Gaudi himself, but only available in very small picture sizes; and one white, rather even and slick 3D-printed model.”

assiduous attention to detail

Staying True to Gaudi’s Vision

Sagrada Pre-assembly

Cornelia decided to rely as much as possible on Gaudi’s own model. “I chose to use green for the turrets in the Glory Façade instead of brown, as the model made by Gaudí himself showed the turrets in green,” she says. “I tried very hard to give every façade as much decoration as possible to give it its typical look; I also tried to put as much decoration as possible onto the towers, but this was limited with both, as the figures were so tiny. All in all I had to simplify some areas, and reduce others. Some things I had to invent, like the decoration of the apse – it’s not built yet, and there was no picture to be found that depicted it big enough.”

1,050 Strands, and Countless Hours

Working up to 10 hours a day, and eventually using 1,050 strands of plastic, Cornelia’s Sagrada Familia model began to take shape.

“I didn’t count how many times I wanted to throw it against a wall,” Cornelia admits. Even when working with stencils and detailed research, mistakes can still happen, and with a project as precise as the Sagrada Familia, even a millimetre difference could throw off proportions and make assembly difficult.

“I Doodled all the parts first, put together the towers, the facades and the church naves and then started assembling from the middle – Christ’s tower – in each direction,” Cornelia says. “Having them all at the right height, sitting straight and at the right angles was very difficult; besides, as organic forms meet geometric forms, putting the pieces together was not always easy, or the form itself grew so edgy that my hand with the pen almost didn’t fit in.”

"It wouldn’t have that impact if it was just plain" Share

And sometimes Cornelia had to get creative to make sure the church came together properly. when assembling the towers, she found space too tight to Doodle from the outside, and the structure was too delicate to lay it on its side without risking damage. “So when I had to assemble this part, I gently pushed it half over the edge of my table – just enough so it wouldn’t fall down – and I kneeled under it and Doodled the whole thing upside down, like Michelangelo painting his Sistine Chapel,” she says. “It didn’t take me as long as Michelangelo though, and I didn’t go blind,” she adds, laughing.

Oven-baked windows

The Devil is in the Detail

For Cornelia, the most important part of her Doodled model was making sure to include as much decorative detail as she could, even when it came to creating the angels on the facade. “It wouldn’t have that impact if it was just plain or only had bits and blobs,” she says. “That was the most delicate work. I was sitting there and forming the hot plastic with pincers to make them even thinner or make some sort of gap between the head and body to keep them as small as possible but visible.”

“I also oven-baked the windows, trying to give them their real colors, making them smooth and shiny in contrast to the brown and rough appearance of the church’s walls,” she says.

"I wanted to finish it. I saw it growing, and it was not in vain" Share

Despite the frustration and hours of dedication to both research and construction, Cornelia says that once the pieces began to come together she felt the whole ordeal was worth it. “I wanted to finish it. It was a big challenge, and I like big challenges,” she says. “I saw it growing, and it was not in vain.”

The Finished Sagrada Familia 3Doodle

To learn more about Cornelia, check out her profile at 3DoodlerPRO.com. For more images head to this fantastic piece on designboom.

Get Inspiration in Your Inbox

Sign up to be the first to have our latest 3D pen lessons, stencils, deals, and discounts (yay!) deposited directly in your inbox.

Interests

You have Successfully Subscribed!