Modeling a mansion

In standard home construction projects, work commences based on review and approval of blueprints drawn by architects. As is the case with most aspects of Villa Collina, the review and approval process for building Tennessee’s largest home was much different and done on a grander scale than the norm.

Instead of using blueprints and computer-generated models, the architect made three-dimensional (3-D) models of planned construction so the original owners could clearly study the mansion’s elaborate details and see what was to be built.

The 3-D models — from the mansion’s massive front portico to the three-story, octagonal library and other spaces —  included a significant amount of detail. For example, the architect’s team members used band saws to create hundreds of spindles to replicate those found on the terrace. In other models, they used materials such as balsa wood, foam and 2 x 4s to closely replicate the details of the proposed project. The mansion’s intricate beauty stands as testament to the success of those painstaking efforts.

At left, the scale model of the portico, which is shown completed at right.