Olivia Morgan has had a lifelong passion for building physical models. She started her career as the lead East Coast model shop manager for ZGF Architects. Initially hired to develop a new shop in the company’s Washington DC office, she oversaw the purchase of new equipment and redesigned the space to accommodate the production of large-scale models and product mock-ups on site. This experience led her to start her own architectural model building business called Model Space.
Since its opening in 2016, Model Space grew steadily, serving architects, contractors, engineers, and product designers. When the pandemic hit last year, clients tightened their budgets and business opportunities for Model Space dried up. Undaunted, Olivia pivoted her business to provide and discover new services, and a way to give back to the local medical community:
- During the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, Olivia partnered with Claudia Téllez at The Medical Society of Northern Virginia to produce personal protective equipment for local healthcare providers. She even created a YouTube video on how to assemble a face shield.
- Olivia took the opportunity to create courses on model building and other fabrication topics for LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com). Already, she has published two courses (Architectural Models: Digital File Prep with Rhino and Fusion 360: CNC Topographic Site Models) and still more are in the works.
- Olivia produced and hosted a virtual model building course for middle school students in partnership with The Washington Architectural Foundation. Students learned how to put their drawings into 3D models, with a focus on scale, materials, and problem solving. Check out the “Build a Model of Your Home” video she created for the course.
- The downtime gave Olivia the time to research into new services in design visualization using augmented reality which she hopes to release in 2021.
- Every holiday season, Model Space sends out beautiful pop-up holiday cards that they designed and produced. For the first time this past year, Olivia decided to offer this same custom service to architecture firms.