Friday, February 24, 2023


In 1989 I resumed an architecture career that had been put on hold for 17 years. That's not quite accurate. I had decided to abandon architecture at least a year before completing my first degree, and I really had no intention of resuming that vocation until a few months before these drawings were done.

It was a real struggle at first. 8 years as a bricklayer, then another 8 teaching in Zimbabwe, then starting again at the bottom of the ladder.

I just caught the tail end of "drawing by hand" but wouldn't have missed it for the world. It allowed me to experience the transition to CAD and later the transition to BIM, feeling like a pioneer in both cases.


Can't believe it's almost a decade since I started working on this hotel project. The BIM team gets brought in when concept design is approved. That's how it works at GAJ. I understand why, but doesn't mean I think it's the best way.

All the same I enjoy picking up a fairly well resolved concept and setting it up in Revit for further development. Sometimes I'm involved all the way through to contract documents but more often I will move on to a new project around the end of Schematic.

A year ago I had to pass through Muscat to get a stamp on my brand new British passport, having been forced to abandon Zimbabwean citizenship after more than 30 years. So I got a chance to visit the finished building for the first time.

These images are from the Revit model, but I will do another post with photos from 2022



Mysk Al Mouj, a hotel in Muscat by GAJ, the firm I've been with since I came to Dubai, 19 years ago, fleeing a collapsed economy in Zimbabwe.

I know the building quite well, having started the Revit model and worked on it for many months. But I had seen the built object until just over a year ago. Credit to Jason and the concept team for a great design, to Nandish for taking on the project architect role and protecting me from exposure to endless tedious meetings. 😜

So these are photos taken in January 2022. Very proud to have been involved in this project. Looks great, even on an overcast day with scattered showers.



Not sure what to say about this sketch, which I think I captured with my first digital camera when I was preparing to move to Dubai. I didn't manage to capture everything I had filed away in five decades, but I did what I could in the knowledge that there was a strict limit to what I could take with me.

I think the original dates from the transition from schoolboy in Barnsley to architecture student in London. Quite how it came into my head to choose this subject matter and this style, I don't really know.

It has a kind of Nordic saga feel and I really like it, but beyond that...? There is some pencil work, some red fibre-tip pen, are the waves water colour? I have an idea that the mountains are red ink, applied with a brush obviously, but when did I get that ink, and did I ever do anything else with it?

Lost in the sands of time.



In 1990, I applied to enter the fifth year architecture class at Wits. (a grand old University in Joburg) Joining at that stage was somewhat unconventional, but I got an interview and made myself an illustrated CV.

I think the text was done on a computer, the drawings are clearly done by hand, maybe reduced a bit on the photocopier, then physically pasted onto the page. Carefully white out the edges (there was a thing called process white, but I probably used Typp-Ex.) Then make a couple of clean copies of the whole thing. Did we use spiral binding?

This is a double page spread from that document. Two of the projects that I worked on during my two years as an architectural assistant at Jackson Moore, a period when I was testing out the idea of picking up the threads of an abandoned career after a 16 year hiatus.

Seems so long ago.


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