A design for life: architect’s modelling kits plug a gap in the market

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A design for life: architect’s modelling kits plug a gap in the market

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A design for life: architect’s modelling kits plug a gap in the market

Arckit has gained a strong foothold in the lucrative construction toy market but it is not just for kids, as its founder Damien Murtagh explains

As the Irish property market was in the early days of what would become a freefall in 2008, Damien Murtagh had an opportune idea.

The architect, then working in Dublin, was used to making models using card and foamboard to show clients what their completed home would look like. However, the process typically took improvisation, with magnets from kitchen cabinets used to bring the scale structures to life. Many other architects had long since switched to solely showing their work via 3D computer imagery.

Murtagh said: “I thought [that] surely if you can make a model as quickly as you can draw it, architects will start making models again. If I could make it quick, affordable, reusable, there has to be a world out there that would want it.”

From those early thoughts emerged Arckit, a modelling kit that provides the doors, walls, supports and roof tiles to create scale-model houses.

While the initial product was focused on architects, the popularity of the kits has now spread to hobbyists and children, prompting comparisons with Lego and Meccano.

“I like to say that it is a graduation from all of the building blocks you have ever played with,” said Murtagh. “I always knew that if I could simplify model making that it would open it up to everybody. It just means that you take away the glue, the cutting, the measuring, the sticking. You don’t have to know about scale.”

The plastic kits include a selection of 26 different types of parts, which come together to make up the final home, from the joins that connect floorboards to the tiles that line the rooftop. The pieces are clicked together to take the form of the houses, which are 1:48 in scale to a full-sized building. Ideas are provided in an accompanying booklet. […]

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