Sunday, November 5, 2023



I guess most of us inhabit multiple parallel universes: places we live in, places we used to live in for many years, places our close friends and relatives live in, places that dominate news headlines.

Sunrise is getting later in Dubai, so my early morning walk gets prettier. Tree planting underway on the central reservations of minor roads in International City. Will I stay here long enough to see them blossom?

A restaurant menu from Zimbabwe shows parallel currencies drifting apart as they did for several years before I left. "Perverse Incentives" for the power elite to keep this going because they can game the system to accumulate wealth. Tragic for the vast majority of citizens.

Sitting on my balcony, sipping Ginseng tea, taking my meds, recording a video message for close family in the US. Four decades of living in warm climates and counting. One day it will be a distant memory, an interlude between youth and old age.

How fortunate I am.



Here's a railing type that I made this week. Opinions will vary, but I wanted it to be in the railings category, and I wanted it to be lightweight.

The design concept source is Sketchup file. Lots of detail, representing some kind of traditional "areesh" woven mat of split cane or similar with sturdy wooden posts.

For cross-discipline coordination and detail design we just need a fairly simple representation in the model showing accurate size and position of the fence. There will be a typical detail and specification item to guide the contactor.

The "panel" is actually a rail in Revit terms, using a profile 2m high x 20 mm wide and a semi-transparent material, with a custom fill pattern. The only other little trick relates to the balusters.

Automatic placement of posts can be a pain. You can end up with two, close together at a corner for example. I opted for automated end and corner posts only, then edited the sketch to manually for the intermediate posts, using the "split" tool.

It's a bit of extra work but in this case there are only 4 or 5 posts in each length of fence, and a handful of fences in the project. Nothing special, but I enjoy making these judgment calls to make life easier for the team.



Why did this pop into my head? Photos taken just a few weeks after moving to Dubai. I know nothing about the history of this derelict house in Ras Al Khaima, a little way up the coast from Dubai.

The lower openings would have had hardwood frames, vertical iron bars and inward opening shutters. The smaller squares above, for ventilation, decorative gypsum grilles, floral or geometric patterns.

Palm trunks, split in half form the primary roof structure. The rest is speculative, but smaller branches running at right angles, then maybe woven mats, before pouring a slurry sand/mud/lime/dung, (choose your recipe) maybe small stones and fibres to reduce shrinkage cracks. Top surface sloping to long, projecting wooden spouts.

Then comes a brief period of modernising before the dereliction and total replacement. Plaster everything over with a strong cement mix. Not sure why. It hardly ever rains here.

So that was almost 20 years ago. Cast into the desert in search of money. Hoping that the madness in Zimbabwe would come to an end so I could go back after a few years. Fascinated by differences of climate, culture, technology.

Random memories.



Not another balcony shot🙄!!

Sorry guys but it's my main time to unwind and catch a bit of beauty. Not so much the building, but the colours and the moon (of course) The arbitrary mix of flush glazing and punched windows is very Dubai. Quite like the corner pavilions though. Makes a change from fake wind towers. There is a gentle breeze, plus we are definitely past peak summer now.

Sit back and reflect on the day. Morning at home on content development. Afternoon at the office talking to people and collecting some reference files from the server. A good mix. Tomorrow should be at home preparing for more training /mentoring.

Pass the baton along, very important. Nothing better than working with a group of eager young interns who are full of questions. Beauty and the BIMster? Did I tell you how these hormone blockers change the texture of my skin?

Good night then.


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