Sunday, December 18, 2022



Been a long time since I fired the amp up. Pure laziness really 🤣🤣🤣

This is a number I used to do when I had a little trio in Harare called King Bee. Seems like another lifetime now.

Somewhat different without bass and rhythm to keep the riff going. But I never really play a song the same way twice anyway. 🙄



2006 and my second year in Dubai. My cousin was working in Nepal. Seemed like a wonderful opportunity. Even more exotic than Mauritius. A chance to explore an alien building tradition, how it works : materials, climate, culture.

I took about 600 photos over the course of a week. Fascinated by the construction details, the texture of the City. Kathmandu is actually three cities, three historic kingdoms, grown into each other until they filled up the valley. Bursting at the seams.

I watched builders working. Like travelling back in time. Special tapered bricks for the front face of buildings to present narrow joints to the outside world.

I had started using Revit by then. The ideal tool to explore the way the Newari people build. Made some good progress over the years but want to get back to it soon.



The roofs of Kathmandu are something else. In some ways they are similar to the roofs I saw in Volterra. Clay tiles laid over a fairly elaborate substructure with intermediate layers between the timber rafters and the tiles themselves.

Also the eaves details are quite impressive, in their different ways.

I used this study of a Newari house in a session I prepared on ways of conveying organic form and irregularity, typical of vernacular housing but challenging for a tool like Revit.

Sometimes just a few small deviations are enough to recruit our subconscious memories of buildings that bear the marks of time.



These kinds of views really bring out the power of a tool like Revit. You can begin to show how the building trades fit together in a vernacular tradition such as the Newari House.

It's a very urban form, vertical living with commercial activity on the ground floor, living space above where guests can be entertained and more private domestic activities at the top, including cooking, quite often on an open terrace.

Steep wooden stairs. Low headroom. Chunky hardwood, hand carved. Windows with exaggerated horns built into the brickwork. Hundreds of years of history, increasingly giving way to concrete frames. Sad in a way, but factor in the earthquakes.

Is there a way to get the best of both worlds?


I have been doing "BIM pencil" studies for well over a decade now. They range from extended attempts to create historic buildings to quick sketches of vernacular houses. Also diagrammatic sketches of cities that I wanted to understand better.

As a young boy , I was obsessed with drawing. You want to understand something, try to draw it. From the age of 40 my drawing extended into the digital realm, via Autocad. A brief dalliance with Sketchup before I got my hands on Revit.

This interior is from the Newari House model that I shared earlier. It's long overdue for a revisit. Something for my new year list.



Saturday, December 17, 2022



Following up on the Mauritius railings post with a bit of Revit work.

Will we ever get the updated railings tool that we were promised half a lifetime ago, I wonder?

There's a bit of cheating going on to get some of these to work. At least they are not as responsive to parametric control as I would have hoped. I ended up creating a new railing type just to vary the spacing of the posts, in one case.

All the same it was an enjoyable exercise, and I hope to do a few more.


It's not really a painting yet. Just occupying space on the wall until a suitable subject comes to mind.

If the grid of subdued colours shows through, maybe I will incorporate it into the final composition. For the moment, it's better than staring at a bare white rectangle.

Sooner or later the penny will drop, a notion of what to paint next. An industrial landscape perhaps.



About 35 years ago, (half a lifetime) I was a curriculum developer in Zimbabwe. My subject area was building,which included a drawing component.

We were very keen to develop low cost teaching aids. One of my favourites was a set of boxy shapes, (home made with glue, tape, matchboxes & paint.)

There were worksheets. Exercises, teaching basic 3d projections: orthographic and isometric. "draw the missing view" etc Recently I reproduced the worksheet concept using Revit.

I have a gas stove. 2 or 3 matches per day. So it's taken me a year or so to build up the raw material for this recreation. The colour is a new idea. The original blocks were white.


I recently shared snaps of buildings by Frank Lincoln, including a bank in KweKwe, Zimbabwe.

Here are some more images from that era (of my life) to round out the picture of this small town as it was about 20 years ago.

The post office is quite typical of government buildings from between the two world wars: a kind of Mediterranean classical look.

Modern church and traditional mosque tell their stories well enough. Each a landmark in its own way.

That leaves the old shop. The flavour of a bygone age is part of what drew me closer to Zimbabwe and kept me there so long. Looking at this image more carefully, for the fist time I notice the reticulated panels on the parapet. Someone with a sense of pride in the plastering trade flexing their muscles, probably before I was born.





Public Holiday today so I polled my subconscious for a topic.

It was a no brainer. Integrating my recent work on doors and railings to do a quick BIM sketch of a typical "shop house" in the old quarter of downtown Port Louis.

This is loosely based on the photo, but not being afraid to take a few liberties. Call it an archetype.

Wouldn't it be fun to create a little street with three different archetypes distilled from those photos I took 20 years ago?


Lunch time report...

Missing shutters, which are de riguer in Mauritius. Also the materials need some work.

But I thought it was worth spending a few minutes in Enscape3d and photoshop. Its a sketch remember... would be a mistake to go for photoreal in this context.

Having fun though. Not bad for a relaxed morning messaround (Ray Charles reference 🙄)