Sunday, March 19, 2023


(note this is posted 2 weeks later)

I will fly to Singapore end of next week and stay for 3 weeks. Happy to meet up for coffee if anyone is interested.

There will be day-job work to do online. Part of the idea of this trip is to test-fly digital nomad mode. Also visiting family.

Hopefully I will find time to apply the BIM pencil approach to Singapore shop houses, an urban type that fascinated me on previous visits. I managed to rough out the basic skeleton of a row of six today


This morning I pushed my shop-house model to the next level.

This is very much a generic version. I guess I will take it a bit further, maybe set up a couple of sheets, then duplicate and develop 3 or 4 versions in different styles.

Let's see how I feel when I get to Singapore. Maybe something else will grab my attention. But it would be nice to work on some different door and window families, not to mention stairs, railings, eaves details.



I'm doing a "BIM pencil" study of a Singapore shop house. It's partly based on an 1893 permit drawing, featured in a book I bought 6 or 7 years ago. Where I don't understand or it seems crazy, I improvise.

These studies force me to think more deeply about building traditions and famous historic structures. It's more about my learning experience than the end product. I grew up with the habit of drawing things in order to understand them better. This work is in the same spirit.

I am all for AI as long as it forces us to think more deeply. That's what I love about Revit. I know that Autodesk emphasise the labour-saving aspect, but for me it's never been about churning out more product.

The ability to toggle rapidly between plan, section and 3d views stimulates my thought process, shakes me out of the tunnel vision of software that locks me into 2d, or even into 3d. It's the ability to have both the traditional, dimensioned orthogonal views and the live 3d that pushes my understanding to a new level.



These are shots from 2016 when I first visited my son Tom who had recently moved to Singapore. A wonderful row of shop-houses curving round as they rise up the hill, and apparently trying to fall over in the process.🙄

Not sure I will attempt the rising curve but I definitely want to develop families that capture some of the charm of this urban form which can be found all up and down the strait.


Shop houses sit on deep narrow plots, getting light and air from small courtyards that puncture the mass internally but are invisible from the street.

To the outside world they express themselves via tightly constrained street facades. These public faces may be highly varied as in these examples photographed on a previous visit to Singapore. Styles from different eras jostle for attention.

In other locations the entire row will be in a single style, although over many years of use the colour schemes might attain a similar hotch-potch effect.


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