Tactile models

1 minute read

I recently visited Salsburg, Austria, a city I knew as the place where they made the movie “The sound of music”.
I purchased a walking tour for the city and expected the guide to walk me through the old town and talk about the various sites and buildings.
I was surprised when the guide first took me to the city center where a tactile model of the old town is installed, an art installation in its own right. The model is built to scale and I could understand the layout of the town, the various buildings, and the river that runs through the town.
The models allowed me to touch the romanesque and gothic churches and really understand the difference in the two architectures for the first time. No amount of verbal description on the part of the guide would have given me this fidelity of detail on the size and scale of the buildings and the layout of the town.
What was striking was when I touched the fortress on the hill that I had just visited earlier in the day. I had absolutely not realized how big it was and how it was placed in relation to the town.
As we walked through the town later in the tour, I could reference the model in my mind and the guide descriptions were that much more vivid for me.

I was inspired to write this post after reading this great post by Vinnie Donati on the tactile model installed at the visitor center at the yosemite national park.