Megan Werner is a designer, professional model maker, and advocate for physical representation and materiality in design. After completing her BArch at Virginia Tech and a MArch at Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies, Werner spent several years practicing architecture in Lugano, Switzerland (Keller Cabrini Verda) and Berlin,Germany (S+P Plannungsgruppe).
Upon returning to the United States in 1997, Werner started zDp models, a full-service architectural scale-model shop composed of architecture, landscape architecture, and design professionals. zDp combines technology with craftsmanship to create precision-scale architectural models for award-winning local, national and international projects.
The firm’s philosophy stems from the notion that physical models make the invisible visible. Abstract ideas can be modeled and set against real-world constraints. Form, materials, technique, and process converge with the concrete rules and qualities of the third dimension. To match a model to its purpose requires a mastery of the full range of available materials and methods; accordingly, we combine machine- and hand-crafted elements with elements produced through digital technology.
The zDp shop also serves as an incubator for design research, experimentation, and collaboration. Some offshoot projects include dama maca (a handbag and accessories design and production studio which uses recycled materials) and AIA-sponsored hands-on architectural model-making workshops (which focus on helping architecture professionals reintegrate model making into their design process).
Werner authored the popular book, Model Making (Princeton Architectural Press), a book on model making geared toward architecture students and young professionals.
In addition to being a part of the CCA Interior Design faculty, Werner has also taught courses in CCA’s Ceramics Program, the Graduate Program in Design, and the First Year Program . She has taught at her alma mater , the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently an adjunct professor for the Interior Design Program and Core Program at CCA. She also serves in Academic Advising as the Program Expert for the Interior Design Program and is a committee member on the Interior Design Curriculum Committee.
CCA’s mission statement states that the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility. The Architecture Division projects that our students will become leaders in a culture that relies on a combined expansion of technological innovation, social accountability, and creative content. The Interior Design student will become the designer of the future , transforming organizations, , changing communities and re-thinking the way we live and work .
The courses I teach and have taught at cca are looking through this broader multi-scaled lens to begin to empower the students to create a future where they are the transformers of culture. My curriculum begins with a thorough understanding of the environment in which we live and create. The students are taught to analyze, evaluate and reflect within the breadth of the iterative design process and then to mine the process for design opportunities and strategies. A process that is also mirrored in my work as a model-maker. The testing and sampling of subtle variations and combinations of their ideas begins what hopefully will be a life long dialog with their work. Design through the magnified lens of material investigation, tool creation ,tool manipulation and spatial construct has been my objective in many of the courses teach at cca. The curriculum is designed to motivate the students to investigate, interrogate and explore their critical and conceptual ideas through the constraints and opportunities of the physical 3D material world. The thought that the shortest path to innovation is experimentation is in full force in every course I teach.
Adjunct Professor, Interior Design
Adjunct Professor, First Year
Adjunct Professor, Ceramics
BArch, MArch, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.