Thursday, April 25, 2013


Well not exactly, but a fair bit of travelling coming up.

Tomorrow morning I get on a plane to London and by middle of next week I will be at BIM show live.   If you are going to be there, please come up and say hello.  I'm the overweight old codger with the long grey hair.

On the second day (May Day, when the red flags fly over town halls in South Yorkshire ... they always used to anyway)  I will be expounding my current pet theory that BIM should be placed firmly in the noble tradition of visual thinking.  I like to draw, always have, and BIM (Revit in my case) has become my "pencil of choice".  To use drawing as a thinking tool, you don't have to be artistic.  It helps sometimes, but lots of artistically challenged people have made intellectual breakthroughs by constructing diagrams.  I came across this one recently & it's my current favourite.

The "artist" here is non other than Charles Darwin, and he was working out his ideas about how different species are related.  What I especially love about it is the scrawled "I think ..."  In effect he is "thinking aloud" - piecing together a rather scratchy diagram in order to firm up his thoughts.  I'm sure this will also provide some inspiration for the next pumpkin extravaganza.  Families /Species /Evolution /DNA/ ... why not ?

I get back to Dubai for just long enough to do some laundry, then it's off to New Zealand for RTC.  Really looking forward to that one.  Also spending some time with my sister in Auckland.  I will be in Kiwi Land for almost 3 weeks, so once again, if anyone wants to hang out, grab a coffee or whatever during that period it would be a pleasure to trade stories with BIM-minded persons.

I have two presentations at RTC.  The first one overlaps a bit with the London one, but more specifically Revit oriented.  Also a bit of a closer look at my pumpkins work.  The second one is a bit ambitious & has absorbed a lot of my time, but it's something I really wanted to do.  In a way this is also an extension of the same idea, using BIM as a thinking tool ... but in this case striving for a deeper understand of our architectural heritage.

Fascism is a dirty word today, but to a young Italian architect in 1934, fascio carried it's original meaning of "group" and stood for unity, transparency, hope for a better future after the great depression.  All this inspired him to create a building that has fascinated many students of architecture for almost 80 years now.  Italian rationalism at its best.

When it comes to the Gherkin, it's been less about a really detailed study of the finished article and more about "how would you create a really flexible parametric family to explore a range of forms somewhat similar to St Mare Axe ?"  There are many possible approaches and I've explore a few as well as delving deeper into the workings of the diagrid structure & the rotated floor plates that I posted about in November 2011.

Lever House has also been eating up my weekends, a fascinating building for a company with a very long history of trying to operate in a responsible way & take care of it's workers.  The original founder of the company called it "prosperity sharing", these days people talk in terms of "sustainable business models".  By pure coincidence my youngest son just published his first blog post on this very topic including a discussion of current Unilever policies.  Way to go Tom !

Here's an old advert showcasing Lever Bros longstanding concern for public health (with a bit of profit on the side)  Turn your nose up if you like, but any company that wants to make a serious contribution to creating a better world has to turn a profit ... that's one side of the sustainability coin.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew - really looking forward to you coming to NZ; I'll be at RTC but I'm sorry to say I won't be able to make your lectures - I'm exhibiting.
    Please make yourself known to me!

    Alex Page


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