Sunday, December 4, 2022


 There are dozens of these I could post. Doors from my trip to Volterra in 2018.

I fully intended to group my Volterra door photos into categories and to apply my modular Revit families system to the task of building up a comprehensive library.

Maybe I should set my sights a little lower and just tackle a few of these to the first order of approximation, as an exercise that could be completed in one weekend.



January 2020 as it appears in my Samsung gallery time line.

I was heavily invested in the Notre Dame Revit model although most of my collaborators were catching up on other commitments. The presentations at Autodesk University were behind us and the global covid panic yet to come.

One of the pleasures of exploring an ancient building with the BIM pencil is the gradual realisation of how it has changed over time. The enlargement of the windows of the nave is a case in point.

The sloping roof over the triforium was dropped down to almost flat, allowing the the sills of the clerestory windows to be lowered, so light could flood in above the heads of the congregation.

But the end bays were not enlarged, I'm guessing for reasons of structural stability. The step in level that resulted, with its odd little sloping row of windows, puzzled me greatly at first.

To be clear, our work had no connection to the Revit model made for the restoration of the building. We had a very different purpose, not providing construction documents but simply pursuing knowledge for its own sake through a kind of hands-on research.

Purely voluntary. We received no sponsorship. Just a bunch of enthusiasts coalescing around an idea for about a year. Working in the cloud, connected by a Slack group.

Thanks to everyone who chipped in.



Smartphone time line. Almost 4 years ago.

I was quite proud of these little sketches of my grandsons, done on Samsung Note. Felt like I was finding a bit of a personal style.

The curved skylight was helping another colleague out at work, and the discussion group some random panel at a local event.

At weekends I was soldiering away on the Bank of England, mostly on my own. These spaces along the west edge of Garden Court were originally designed by Taylor, who preceded Soane. I have modelled them as modified by Sir John.

How I loved the challenge of piecing those spaces together, making educated guesses, based on partial information.



A few days ago I posted pictures of doors taken in 2018 when I participated in the Volterra-Detroit Foundation reality capture workshop.

Now, following on from the work I did converting four doors in Porto to Revit families, I'm taking a crack at the Volterra doors in a similar vein. Created two today at a basic level of detail.


Building on yesterday's efforts. I now have a third nested element inside the door family. "Opening" added to the existing "Frame" and "Doorset"

This facilitates variations in the jamb profile of the wall: Masonry rebates, splayed inner reveal, arches in a different material, etc

This can be updated independently of the design of doors panels & framing (double, single, folding, 2 panels, 4 panels, glazed fanlight etc.

Early days, and I've attempted these situations before, but I'm going for a more systematic treatment this time allowing for mix & match of the 3 basic elements.


Second sheet of Volterra Doors.

Two new designs of wall panel. Two new designs of wall opening with stone trim. These families need a bit of tidying up but that will have to wait for next weekend. Significant progress made.

And much learning learned 😁


A holiday in UK at the height of project Notre Dame. Precious moments with my grandsons, my children, my daughter in law.

Three old village churches in Rural Hampshire, a reminder of times gone by. Good to see that they are still in use. I'm a product of the modern world but a great believer in continuity. We gain nothing by treating the past with disdain.

During that visit I managed to meet up with several people who have pursued skilled trades, keeping alive a connection to the builders of grand cathedrals and humble village churches alike.

Kudos to Karl Claydon and others who were so generous with their time and accumulated knowledge. I spent my twenties working with my hands, an experience I will never regret.

My fellow "knowledge workers" are too busy obsessing about the pros and cons of "remote work" In reality sitting in an office all day is already utterly remote from the physical work that brought meaning to the lives of the generations before us.

I hope the future will restore apprentice systems to the prominence they deserve and return physical labour to the core of our being.


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