A snapshot from my pocket notebook
from a time when I was struggling with the physical demands of manual labour on
building sites, but determined to reject the world of corporate architecture
that I had glimpsed as an undergraduate.
Difficult to convey that journey of early manhood. Growing our hair long was such a big deal in the late 60s. Political awareness seemed so black and white. Testosterone perhaps 🙄
Thankfully I was lured into a world of practical skills, learning to respect the capabilities of those who had done less well than me at school but learned to handle harsh physical realities.
I'm so glad that I didn't just follow the tram lines that would have kept me in architect's offices for the rest of my life. No disrespect for those who took that route, but I wasn't ready for it.
Had to pursue my "hero's journey" first, and it was a blast for sure.
The year was 1988. We had moved into
a new house, with a guest wing that would allow my mum and dad to come on
extended visits and there was a swimming pool in the front garden.
My mum had always been a strong swimmer. Wonderful pic of her in the pool with Joe.
I had moved from curriculum development to the University. Challenging times. I had to design a course to upgrade teachers to degree level and accept the first intake of students, all within three weeks.
The section details of steel frames were deduced from studying the building where I gave my lectures. Desperately developing material to use in class and working late into the night. I've no idea how I pulled through that period.
The house plans were requested by a colleague and I just didn't know how to say no. At this stage I really had no intention of resuming my architecture career. But in retrospect these were the first baby steps back in that direction.
Revit work from almost 14 years ago.
I was still trying to convince the firm that we could use BIM from an early
design stage. Eventually I decided that there were better uses for my energy.
The concept design team is used to a certain way of working, and to some extent
I get it, although the burden dumped on the BIM team is glossed over, and it
hurts our bottom line for sure.
But this was a great project. A huge piece of topography and multiple linked models. It was very demanding on the hardware we had at the time, but we did use the capabilities of Revit to resolve difficult site planning problems on rugged terrain and convince our engineers to rethink some of their solutions.
Big thanks to Simon and Nandish for comradeship throughout and for trusting me to deliver on my side of the bargain. Props to Hrishi and Mani who were footsoldiers on that team and have since progressed to BIM leadership roles in the practice.
These sketches must be from 1970.
First year at University College and I had befriended Peter Jeffree. He helped
to introduce me to Blues and Jazz, and we had quite wide-ranging shared
This sheet is a set of ideas for paintings. Various themes running through here. Not sure if I ever showed this to Pete, but we must have talked about art and the potential for mundane items like soil stacks to inspire moody, semi-abstract compositions.
Lots of architectural ideas here and the hint of something lurking just around the corner. I'm starting to think that I'm just about ready to follow through on these ideas, more than 50 years later.
Letraset, rotring stencil and a
small freehand sketch. Photocopy as required.
I guess this is from 1978. Hand crafted letterhead for my quotes, such as they were. Plus a photograph of demolition stage on an attic conversion job. Take out the skylight, build a dormer, box in the top of the stair for sound and fire reasons.
Even at the time, I was dubious about those flat roofed dormers. It was a quick face-lift, improving headroom and lighting, but how long did they last? Roofing felt on chipboard at a nominal slope.
Happy memories though. Better than spending my twenties in an office. Can't beat getting your hands dirty on a building site at that age.