Saturday, September 16, 2023


 Breakfast behind the old lady's back. Everything is so familiar although I last walked past 45 years ago and I barely remember anything from that visit.

In 2019, a small team of BIM enthusiasts set about building a Revit model of Notre Dame de Paris, purely as a private venture. It was a voyage of discovery, a hands-on approach to understanding the history and construction of this great monument, so recently ravaged by fire.

I love doing that kind of stuff. The experience lent extra layers of meaning to my visit today more than four years later.


Derrick cranes and river barges. The materials have changed from wood to steel, but the same principles have been used to build Cathedrals next to a river for hundreds of years. Similarly, factory made container-size modules, stacked 5 high replace the ramshackle craftsman's village of medieval times.

Did they eat quiche and hot chocolate? Not sure how old quiche is, but chocolate came from the new world so we would have transitioned from Gothic to Classical by the time that percolated down to artisan level. Maybe I should have asked for bread and cheese with a glass of cheap wine 🤣🤣🤣


Guess where I went this morning? Taking photos to answer all my unresolved questions after working on a Revit model sporadically over many years (and using it for training sessions)

More than a few surprises along the way. Expect more 🙂


 If yesterday was Modern Movement, today is French Neoclassical. La Madeleine, Greek Temple outside, Roman Baths inside but still managing to be a quintessential Catholic Church.

Great place to pause and reflect as my Paris trip draws to a close. I will be back in Basingstoke tomorrow night. It's been a wonderful trip. Perfect hospitality from Daniel Hurtubise and family. Going to miss you guys.

We still have Slack of course, but face-to-face is the bestest. 😜



"Second Empire" became a thing in English architecture with the works of young enthusiasts like Cuthbert Broderick in the Leeds and Scarborough. I have always had a soft spot for Broderick, so I decided to "go to the source"

Palais Garnier was commissioned by the emperor himself (Napoleon III) so it will do nicely although there are lots of more ordinary residential blocks in Paris that exhibit the main features of this style.

Garnier's Opera is riotous enough to be neo-baroque. I guess an opéra is allowed to be a little grotesque. What's in a label anyway? Corb would have hated it just as much under any name. 🤔


You can have too much of this kind of stuff, for sure, but I do like the languid caryatids holding branches across the doorway. Maybe they are there to catch the eagle droppings. 🤣🤣🤣

Seriously though, can you imagine living in a society that builds like this? I don't think it's helpful to get judgemental about the past. Quite the reverse. It should be more than a little humbling to realise how much our values and beliefs are shaped by the world we live in.

My aim is to visit buildings, research them and their context, take photos, collect images, make models and analytical sketches, in short to dive in, head first. Out of this activity come thoughts. Express them, in a vivid and forthright way. But keep an open mind. Be gentle with the human souls who lived before us. Seek knowledge, but don't let it puff you up.

That's my little hobby called "the way we build"


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