Architect's modelling system
hailed as "posh Lego"

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Arckit by Damien Murtag

Architect Damien Murtagh has created a reusable three-dimensional modelling system for architects and designers that is now on sale as a children's toy, prompting comparisons with iconic Danish building blocks Lego.

Arckit by Damien Murtag

Frustrated with computer-generated models, Damien Murtagh decided to create a more tangible and three-dimensional system he could use to share his ideas with clients. The result is Arckit: a modular system made from moulded ABS plastic. The pieces click together, and can be disassembled and used again when the model has served its purpose.

"For many people, 3D modelling images are very difficult to fully understand," Murtagh told Dezeen. "A physical model is much easier to comprehend. With Arckit you don't need to spend months learning a complex and expensive software either, you just open the box and go."

Arckit by Damien Murtag

"Unlike traditional cut-and-glue model making, which is totally inflexible once built, Arckit's snap-together system allows continuous modifications and enables client participation in the design process," he added.



The kit, which is at 1:48 scale, was originally designed for professional architects and was launched at the 2014 Grand Designs Live event in London.

Arckit by Damien Murtag

"I developed Arckit as a professional tool for architects, however I always believed that by removing the difficulties associated with traditional model making – measuring, cutting, gluing and sticking – it had the potential to open up advanced model making to everyone," said the architect.

At the launch, Murtagh found that children were just as responsive to the building blocks so decided to expand the target market.

Arckit by Damien Murtag

"Children as young as nine stayed and made wonderful models for hours and then begged their parents to buy them a kit. I realised then how captivated they were by the system and how it could have a wider application in the toy sector."

A set of over 200 pieces, including modules to represent walls, windows and even furniture, is now available to buy at Harrods, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The system is already drawing comparisons with the hugely popular Lego, according to Murtagh.

Arckit by Damien Murtag

"We constantly hear people, on their first impressions, referring to Arckit as a sophisticated/advanced/adult/posh Lego or a 'reality Minecraft' which for me is a massive compliment," said Murtagh. "We're just a new company with a new concept, so to be even uttered in the same sentence as an iconic brand such as Lego is a huge honour."

  • 1:48 Scale? Why not 1:50? This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night. Sad but true.

    • Dan Helphrey

      1/4″ = 1′-0″.

      • I prefer metric, because British.

        • JayCee

          Metric. British, seriously?

          • dan_2000

            Yes, metric and British. UK luddites, little Englanders, street urchins, the lower class, and other loser types do oppose metric, but the elite, such as professionals, engineers, architects are pro-metric.

      • dan_2000

        In metric usage, that gibberish is meaningless.

    • Oliver

      1:48 makes more sense because it is easily convertible from inches into feet. 1 inch equals 4 feet. Much simpler than 4.041… feet.

      • dan_2000

        So what? It also works very well with metric construction sizes like 1200, 2400, 3600, 4800, mm and when scaled 1:48, they become 25, 50, 75 and 100 mm. They are still round numbers.

    • omnicrom

      It’s an imperial scale, 1/4 inch = 1ft.

      • dan_2000

        No it isn’t. Metric is versatile and can work with either 1:48 or 1:50 and others. USC is burdened with limited scales.

    • Chris Avanzino

      1/4″=1′-0″ Is the same as 1:48. That’s why.

      • dan_2000

        So what?

    • James

      Some kind of American imperial thing? It must be the same scale as two thumbs: the diameter of a cart wheel / the length of field a man can plow in an afternoon right?

      • JayCee

        Because imperial measurements are an American invention. Seriously?

        • James

          Yes, seriously. But also: No. It’s rather because most other countries in the word have moved on from imperial. Hence the other outdated forms of measurement. It’s really quite a simple and obviously light-hearted joke. Sorry if it offended you.

        • dan_2000

          Imperial is illegal in the USC. Imperial was invented in Britain in 1824 and was not adopted by the US. The US uses USC.

    • Arckit

      In essence only 4% difference between both so visually no difference. Put a scale 1:50 figurine next to Arckit and it becomes 1:50. Originally intended to also correspond with imperial scale 1/4 which is, in fact 1:48, a scale with lots of compatible add on products out there.

      Arckit really can be used at any scale you envisage it to be, particularly when you integrate it with other model products of a certain scale. Hope this helps.

    • JayCee

      1:48 scale is a very common modelling scale which would also bring the kit in line with O-scale train sets. I guess the designer has made the rather shrewd decision to be able to market his product in America rather than just to Europe.

      • David

        ‘Just to Europe’.

        Or you could say he chose to market his product to the US rather than the rest of the world?

      • dan_2000

        What about the whole world? Why this hang-up with Europe?

    • Thom Chesshyre

      Isn’t 1:48 the scale you get when you print an A1 drawing at A3 and let the printer margins come into play?!

  • The conversion is to US inches. The comment is also quite apropos, especially when viewing the first main image whose form inextricably resembles Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. NOTE: FLW’s son developed the US children’s toy Lincoln Logs (1916).

    • dan_2000

      How do you figure that? The kits are 240 m^2 and 120 m^. Both divide nicely by 48 to 5 and 2.5. Now try dividing the equivalent square feet by 48 and see what you get. Gibberish, plain gibberish.

  • Curious by Design

    It’s curious that only a few countries in the world use imperial as standard, USA, Liberia and Myanmar (Burma) as far as I can tell. I’m with the Angry Architect on this, but in saying that this this product is aimed at a specific market, which is fine, but most of the world lives in the metric sphere and I for one am sick of trying to do the conversions in my head.

    Yes this is for modelling and I really like the product but I won’t be buying it for this reason. The 4% difference explanation is watery at best in a global market. I do wish these guys success with their product but they need to think about the much wider audience that works with metric.

    I’ll buy it then… good wishes to you.

    • dan_2000

      The US and Liberia never used imperial. It is illegal in the US, not sure about Liberia. Despite the claim it isn’t metric, it is more metric than not. Burma is the same way and with a recent intent to complete metrication it will be like the rest. The US is basically alone and since it is a dying economy, it really doesn’t matter. It won’t be a nation of power much longer. Its days are numbered.

  • NonnyMouse

    Good grief! Personally I don’t think it matters whether it is 1:48 or 1:50. I mean, you’re not going to be generating Construction Documents from this are you? It’s meant to be a conceptual visualization tool.

  • James Briano

    Question for architects: Our high-school architecture students build models using a variety of objects they cut and modify themselves. Would using the Arckit system be preferable?

  • Concerned Citizen

    “Arckit’s snap-together system allows continuous modifications and enables client participation in the design process”.

    But the modifications are seriously limited to the parts in the kit: flat and rectangular. Reminds me of Henry Ford’s claim that you could have your car painted any color you want, as long at it’s black.

    • Arckit

      Stay tuned for new add on components in ’16. How about 3D printing your own bespoke component and adding it to the system. Arckit is a ‘Build Off’ system whereby you can integrate with both traditional model making materials and your own 3D printed components.

      • Concerned Citizen

        Ah, the old “we take care of that in the next release” line?

  • dan_2000

    It is amazing how stupid some of the comments are. Do you people actually have brains?

    There is no rule in SI that says things have to follow a 1:2:5 order. In the construction industry, it is very common to find sizes like 1200, 2400, 3600, 4800, mm and when scaled 1:48, they become 25, 50, 75 and 100 mm. They are still round numbers.

    The package is very metric friendly. It gives 240 m^2 as the floor area. It also gives feet, but as a nonsensical value of 2583.

    Some people need to get over this hang-up that metric usage is confined certain values and that is it! That is the problem with USC and fractions in factors of 2, but not to SI.

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