Sunday, March 19, 2023



I photographed this model of a shop house on a previous visit to Singapore. One of many fascinating models at the City Gallery.

I love my virtual models. Revit and BIM have given so much to me over the last two decades, but... There is a lot to be said for physical models of buildings whether during the design process, or as part of a retrospective analysis.

If you've ever been to the Soane Museum in London you will appreciate how much store he put in building models that often take apart to reveal how inside and outside form relate.


Another image pair spanning my transition from Sheffield to Africa.

My daughter Wendy with her two older cousins, Cathy and Kundai at the farm school, Rusununguko, where I lived for two years, met Wendy's mother, immersed myself in a new and radically different environment.

A page from my ideas-sketchbook just months before when I was searching for my next "move" in the game of life. A meditation on topsy-turvy worlds, Escher-style inversions of perspective.

Strangely prophetic of my own life journey. It shows a soul seeking profound change although I had no idea what form it would take. Indeed the implication is that I imagined a future as a subversive graphic artist and part time bricklayer in the socialist Republic of South Yorkshire 🤣🤣🤣


Arrival photos. One way or another it's taken me almost six years to get back to the beautiful city of Singapore.

This will be a hybrid visit : part digital nomad/ remote dayjob, part family bonding time, part shophouse research. If my luck holds, Singapore may become a home from home over the next few years as my anti-retirement plans unfold.

Up until my 50th birthday, I never would have dreamed that my family would be spread across the continents like this. I tried very hard to put down roots, first in South Yorkshire, then in Zimbabwe and those were wonderful times. But I better accept that I have become a floating point in this digital world. 🤔


This is from 1992. I had gone back to university to complete my architecture qualification. Towards the end of that two years in Joburg I submitted a boxed "learning pack" as my history project.

Rather than a single essay it was a collection of materials around the topic of regionalism. Was it possible for southern African nations to express their identity through architecture? or does it inevitably collapse into an embarrassing caricature?

I was trying to reformulate the mistrust of mainstream architecture that had delayed my entry into the profession. Could I resist the commercial treadmill?

I tried to harness the playful irreverence of a bricklayer poking fun at the self-important architect, while embarking on my own professional journey.


I'm in shophouse world. Spent half a day wandering around talking family stuff and snapping away happily with my phone.

This one made me think of @Philip Gaches and all the wonderful insights into sculptural plaster that he shares so joyfully on here.

Two small shophouses that we happened upon, clearly a pair, but with differences. One boasts beasts in its plaster panels, the other birds. One all white, with shutters open, the other with shutters closed, picked out in black.

Unity and diversity, nothing forced. It looks so easy but how many building projects today achieve this modest serenity? With all our university degrees and clever software there is no substitute for an evolved tradition like these shophouses.

Hashtag "In my opinion"...




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