Sunday, August 21, 2022


International City is a pretty vibrant (messy) suburb. Somewhat unregulated, very hot and dusty. I've been living here for 15 years. Like much in my life, I just kind of stumbled into it but it's worked out pretty well.

This is a drawing I did in 2016: digital sketching over a digital photo. Tried to catch some of the action on the street, the "lived in" feeling that transforms mediocre architecture into a place called home.




People notice the pace of development in Dubai. There is a lack of obstacles to coming up with a wacky concept, securing land and pushing it through to completion.

Hence the place I live, with clusters named after nations. Apartment blocks styled to vaguely resemble regional vernaculars. It's possible to assemble a flattering set of images. And I do enjoy living here. It also has a squalid side, of course



These paragraphs are all taken from my LinkedIn posts, in this case, a comment.  Use of coral as a building material in various parts of the world.

Coral also used in the old merchant houses along the Creek in Dubai with their internal courtyards and wind towers.



Proud to have worked on this project for Hilton in Riyadh. Yet another innovative scheme by the concept design team at GAJ. I was involved in moving the work into Revit for Schematic Design, gradually tailing off my input as it moved into Detailed Design.

Images here of the Revit model in cutaway 3D, area plans for checking compliance with the brief, part of a facade details sheet and the finished building.

Such a privilege to remain hands on, helping to realise great projects for Brian with a brilliant and diverse GAJ team.



We have delivery bikes galore in International City both pedal and motor. I'm guessing that hey live mostly 3 & 4 to a room. It doesn't rain very much at all, but when it does the roundabouts all flood. Storm in a teacup, its all gone in a day or two.

In the UK they panic if it hits 40c Here we go crazy if it rains two days in a row 🤣🤣🤣
The architecture is a bit amateurish, better not look too closely at the classical detail. But it lights up quite nicely at night.

Front side of the building that I live in. Nice to live in a place where the walls are not quite parallel.


Flash back to 2009. Fete de la Musique at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai with my little trio “out of the blue“ That name was meant to capture the spontaneity that I value so much in musical moments.

Two images from my Revit work at the time. A crescent shaped tower that my boss has been hoping to build in Sharjah for at least 20 years. And some 3D detailing for bay windows that I was very proud of at the time. This project was set back repeatedly by knock-on effects of the financial crisis. Never seen photos of the finished villas



 Shop turnover is pretty high which probably means people are pushing the boundaries, looking for ways to hussle a living. Seedbed of creativity.

That crane two doors up from me has been Idle for at least ten years. Looks romantic against the sunrise and next to a palm tree. Not so much when I walk past it to buy some milk.

There were no mosques here when I first moved in. Just a couple of temporary locations. They have been popping up one by one since then.

One act of piety that is quite common if you keep your eyes peeled. Putting food and water out for the feral cats that scurry around the basement parking areas in Dubai.


Sunday, August 14, 2022


 The Digital Dilemma. I guess we all have to find our way through the weeds. For me the Smartphone and Cloud Storage have now become fully integrated with work I have been doing on my laptop for the past 20 years.

 I gave up on Facebook and Twitter. May work for some but they were messing with my mind. LinkedIn is starting to go that way a bit, but I’m hopeful I can steer clear of the nonsense for a few years yet. Musically I was always happy to play to a small, intimate audience and get a two way thing going. Probably the best way to engage online also.

You Tube

What follows is just a record of recent posts which have started to fall into a pattern. Let’s see where it leads.

03 Tuscan Summer House

Seems far away now. Tuscan Order temple / garden house at Hinton Ampner. A nod towards Etruscan for sure. Fantastic vista “down the garden path” Maybe I should do a post on my current  environment in Dubai by way of contrast.


04 Response to “Favourite Church Doorway”

Bit of a cheat but I’m going to share my favourite among Sir John Soane’s London churches. Two photos and a Revit model 😜



05 Hinton Ampner Church

Hinton Ampner Church, from my last full day in UK. Said to be C13 with C19 alterations. To my eye, everything looks new enough to be Victorian Gothic Revival, so I’m guessing was a major refurb. Flint again but very carefully cut and laid in regular courses. Interesting building set in fascinating gardens.


06 Four Doors

Four doors this time,in the vicinity of St Michael’s #basingstoke Even the small one has a tudor arch if you look closely. This is posted from Heathrow on my way back to #dubai It was great to see some #gothic churches in the flesh again.




Thursday, August 11, 2022


 Carrying on work started in UK a couple of weeks ago. The bigger picture is a study of terraced house typologies, staple of the industrial revolution in England and the massive surge of urbanisation that came with it.

I’m taking a modular approach to doors and windows like I usually do. Nested components two or three levels deep that can be swapped out for maximum economy of effort.

The opening and frame are separate families that can be swapped out, mixed and match with other variations. In this case the opening has a segmental arch but the same component would work with a flat stone lintel, for example.

Similarly the sill can be swapped out, and the sash components.

The opening itself starts as two void sweeps, based on inner and outer profiles. Rebates are formed to house the sash box, plus a dropped sill.

But the sill needs to push back under the wooden frame and project at the ends, so that’s another void sweep using the rectangular profile. The sill family is a solid extrusion with a shallow void sweep along the front edge, stopping short at the ends.

We need two versions of the sash. One divided simply down the middle, the other featuring a more stylish arrangement. Two narrow side panels with a large middle pane. Two visibility parameters do the trick.

It will take a couple more iterations to fine tune this and achieve the level of control we will need. The arch will be a nested item, like the sill. Two different colours of brick make it an interesting challenge.

The sash boxes are hollow now (for the cast iron weights) but they need to be deeper. I’m judging all the measurements from memory and common sense. I need to look up my study from some years ago. There are things like brass pulley wheels that I could use.

I’ve added internal architraves and sill. Such a simple robust technology the sash window. Born in the Dutch / English world of commerce and industry that was the 17th century. Too little credit is given to the role of building trade innovations of that era in helping to enable the industrial revolution a century later.



The coal burning fireplaces of London drove the growth of the coal mining sector whose capacity would be vital later to supply the energy for steam powered cotton mills.

Rapid urbanisation was vital for rolling out factory production across sector after sector. Sliding sash window technology is based on standard sections, run off in timber mills across the country and available off the shelf.

Mouldings, fittings and decorative flourishes varied. It’s easy to imagine a distributed network of artisans and suppliers trying out different solutions as the technology evolved over decades by a kind of natural selection.




Saturday, August 6, 2022


 This is a record of Posts made to LinkedIn during my ”wedding-voyages” this summer.


Four material textures from yesterday’s walk. Somewhat irregular brickwork in English Bond. Plain clay roof tiling. Flint cobble walling, and chequer board walling in flint and ashlar.

Would be fun to convert these into Revit materials perhaps.


Six windows from St Michael’s Church, Basingstoke. Might have a go at these in Revit. Definitely won’t be going for much parametric behaviour. Achieving an acceptable version of the geometry will be challenging enough without going down that Rabbit hole 🤔


Two carved stone Ionic Capitals from Oakley Hall where we had lunch. A plaster Corinthian from the Basingstoke registry office where my son was married today. This one much more conventional than the one I posted earlier from the Vyne. The timber framed gable end is also from the registry office building, which has clearly evolved over the years / centuries. So much history in this part of the world.


Visited “The Vyne” near Basingstoke for the second time yesterday. Interesting take on the Corinthian Order in the entrance portico added by John Webb in 1654. No volutes, just Acanthus leaves at the corners with a single row below, and capped by a perfectly square moulding instead of the sweeping curves more often seen.


Church Cottage opposite St Michael's Church, Basingstoke. It has a rich and varied history stretching back at least 500 years, grade II listed. Could do with some loving care, not least to the ground floor windows.

Brick infill to the timber frame of different ages and bonds: stretcher, English, herringbone. Peeping through the windows at the back, the former tithe barn is still in use for evening classes and clubs.