Saturday, September 2, 2023


 Planning to visit my good friend Daniel Hurtubise in a couple of weeks. He set up this website to make my/our "BIM pencil" work more accessible. Really cool design, thanks Dan

Each of these building models expresses a desire to understand, a thirst for knowledge, a call to action. Action research. Learning by doing.
Experimental archeology. That kind of thing.

You can download the work in 3 formats. Especially geared towards architecture students, who regularly contact me for help, but should be of interest to anyone who enjoys a deeper dive into inspiring buildings.

Completely free to download but please acknowledge the source if you reuse or share. Hopefully we will put more models up on the site soon.

If you have done similar work and would like to add it to the site, that would be great. You will be credited of course.



Walking from Covent Garden to Trafalgar square yesterday, I stumbled upon this building.

Is it a clever response to daylight envelope requirements? Or maybe just a willful exercise in whimsical form? I have no idea.

How exactly are those sloping brick walls held up? I'm guessing this is a steel frame building, and maybe a backing sheet of some kind fixed to rails.

Also the windows. What to call them - oriels, dormers? Maybe there is some kind of exemption that allows them to pierce the daylight envelope, assuming that is the motivating factor here.

Do I like it? Certainly the play of rhythms and textures is intriguing. The interplay of avant-garde with tradition is deftly pulled off. Probably I would need to know more and perhaps to see it in 50 or 100 years time, none of which is going to happen. 🙄

But it caught my eye and made me think. 🤔



This is the strangest use of Flemish bond I have ever seen.

Notice on the recessed course the end has two queen closers, the last one oversized, but still, not a full header. It seems to me they could omitted the closer and ended with a full header. This would have given them a deeper recess on the short return to match the one on the main face.

Am I missing something?


People watch out
People come on
Without any doubt
Something is wrong
Look to the future, forget the past
Everything's changing, at long bloody last
But are you sure, really really sure
Maybe not, (who knows anyway)

A bit obscure perhaps, but I'm trying to express my doubts about the very forceful "progressive" outlook of my younger self. Not that I have regrets, but life is more complex than the vigor of youth believes.

Maybe through music I can say something about this without sliding to the opposite end of the seesaw of life.

Written and performed in a single session staying with friends in Reading. Nothing special, but it's about the best I can do at this stage in my life, and honestly done, I hope.


My two favourite railway stations in the world, sitting together as a pair. So many associations, going right back to my time as a first year architecture student, just down the road.

I suppose St Pancras is my very, very favourite, but the contrast between them, in so many ways is a big part of it. Also the modern additions, again very different, but hugely successful in my view.


Red brick works so well for Scott's high Victorian Gothic and the yellow London stocks suit Cubitt's muted "builder's classical" Two major AEC dynasties of the era encapsulated for us in this duet across time.

I was boarding at King's Cross, heading for Barnsley, the town of my birth. It's been a few years, what with pandemics and all. I'm just drinking in all these memories and cultural associations, storing them up for when I go back to my little desert cave.



William Wilkins designed University College London, where I did my first degree. But this is another of his buildings, the National Gallery, overlooking Trafalgar Square.

The dragon scales and guilloche treatment of the dome is intriguing. Did he have a source or was this an original concept? It seems to me that most domes arise from a heavier cornice, often resting on a colonnade, whereas he prefers a smooth flow from a solid stone drum. Maybe a BIM pencil study (LOD100) of domes would be in order.

So what about that Corinthian? The deep veined Acanthus is very sinuous, again emphasising a free flow upwards from the fluting of the shaft. Closed bud hibiscus flower, quite different from Soane's interpretation.

There is so much scope for individual expression in classical architecture, but in a subtle way as opposed to the jarring clamour for novelty we often see today.


The famous gap between the architect and the engineer at St Pancras Station.

On the left, the luxury of a hotel bed after a long smokey journey. On the (centre) right the single huge span of Barlow's arch, protecting the hustle and bustle of railway platforms which are themselves built over brick vaults that receive barrels of beer from northern breweries to slake the endless thirst of London.

Some hold it to be a weakly handled detail. I always saw it as a colossal version of the shadow gap: clear separation, allowance for differential movement, passing unnoticed by the general public.

But what about the "far right". A window at King's Cross. Surely I can condemn that? The proportions are all wrong (the columns to thin, the entablature to plain and heavy, the arch too small)

But in context it works. It adds a certain jauntiness to the bold, stark lines of the double-arched bookend where the platforms just spill out at street level. So different to St Pancras.

The contrasts between the stations seem endless, but the interplay is wonderful. To me at least, after 55 years of visiting and admiring the grand old couple.


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