Veteran architect continues tradition of handmade scaled models

By By Frank DiCesare / American Press

When it comes to architecture, Steve Maurer is old school.

A staff architect at C.R. Fugatt Architects in Lake Charles, Maurer still builds architectural models by hand — a rarity in

today’s computer-aided design world — and the results are extraordinary.

“To me, making the miniature world a

reality is a fascination for me,” he said. “I just enjoy getting down as

if I was in

the little world. A lot of times, if it’s a complicated model, you

can discover how to build it in real life by building the

model. If it’s easy to model, it’s easy to build.”

Maurer recently completed a model of the Phoenix Building on Ryan Street in downtown Lake Charles. He began by taking pictures

of the building “to absorb the structure and get a feel for it,” he said.

His next step was to examine the building’s architectural drawings to determine the size of his model’s layout.

Using the HO model railroad scale of 1/8 of an inch equals 1 foot, Maurer built an exact replica of the Phoenix Building and its surrounding lot, right down to the

flagstones, benches and trash cans. Even the trees that line the property were trimmed and erected to scale.

A veteran architect with more than 40 years of experience, Maurer hopes to construct models for people on commission when

he retires. Most of his projects take him between 200 and 300 hours to complete.

“People have a fascination with the little world,” Maurer said. “The greatest satisfaction I get out of a model is the ‘Wow!’

I get when people see it. I enjoy hearing people ask me, ‘How do you do that?’ ”

• For more information on Steve Maurer’s work, contact him at