Saturday, March 25, 2023



 In 2001 I had a little three piece blues band in Zimbabwe. The three of us would cram ourselves plus all the gear into my little hatchback mazda and drive across Harare to weekend gigs. Seen here at the Art Cafe in Avondale.

Kudos to Neville for laying down a solid rhythm guitar plus operating the dreaded drum machine. And to Sydney for his fluid and responsive bass playing. I took the bulk of the vocals, but everyone chipped in on the harmonies.

It was good while it lasted, a necessary outlet for me in a period when I was both project architect and effectively single parent to teenage boys.

We did "versions" by mixing lyrics from one source with riffs from another and mixing in improvised solos mostly anchored around a five note scale.

The name came from one of those songs and I designed the logo, drafted in Autocad of course 🤣🤣🤣


Dividing things into three parts seems to be a very deep human instinct. The "rule of three" is evident at many different scales but most obviously in the three side-by-side windows of a Singapore shophouse.

Sometimes they are identical. Sometimes the middle one is a door, flanked by three windows, or a balcony sticking out like a nose on a face.

You can't break the rules if there are no rules. Three houses, each with three storeys and three identical bays. Such strong symmetry, broken by an off-centre paint scheme in vivid colours.

This is living history, a tradition that prospers and evolves. Climate, culture, materials and function, wrapped up in a tight little package.


A page from my history pack of 1992. Returning to architecture school as a mature student I was pursuing the idea of architecture as the reflection of a particular time and place, often subliminally expressed.

We think we are fulfilling the brief, or developing a personal style, but in retrospect we notice distinct periods and regional styles that reflect the nature of the society in which they arose.

I was gathering quotes to this effect from architects of note and illustrating them with enigmatic sketches using a mirror as metaphor.

Perhaps I should have given Mies a cigar... Another missed opportunity 🤔



Most of the light wells that are the defining feature of shop-houses have been glazed over in these days of air-con. Multiple layers of adaptation for reuse in all the ones I visited yesterday.

I was struck by the huge timber beams, a reminder that Singapore was carved out of rain forest where supplies of hardwood must have seemed limitless. Some of the trimming beams around the light wells were six courses deep, so 18" x 9" and carrying brick walls over spans of up to 5 metres.

Mixing my units here as a concession to diversity and inclusion. 🤣🤣🤣



This one is for Paul Aubin. Some rather #liberal interpretations of the #Corinthian Order that we have both tackled in different ways using Revit. These ones are from the shophouses I walked around at the weekend with Thomas Milburn and Vicky Truong

It never ceases to amaze me how adaptable classicism is, a perfect reminder of the paradox of #freedom. Free expression often flourishes within a framework of apparently rigid rules.

Call me a #conservative but... I love me some boundaries 🤣🤣🤣


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