what’s hot and what’s not – thesis advice – use or discard warning given

Advice is a dangerous thing, not to be given lightly…

However here goes anyway with some advice to a student friend and colleague on a big subject…


Look forward to seeing you when you are down in London.

I am glad that you are able to apply things we practiced earlier in University now, that’s great.

Hopefully when I was pedantic about something early on; now it’s more clear for you why, within this later application.

As for views requested – okay done – here goes – use or discard as you like…

An overview statement would be – be careful here – you are on such a big subject it will roll over the top of you and crush you before you push it up the hill,  if you don’t put some chocks under the wheels.

What I mean is – make some positioning statements early on as to what you are really looking at – define it right down to a single question…

Then give a framework to the answers and some background research to back up your conclusions.

Test this question to yourself and to others – if it does not define exactly what you are doing in it’s own right and communicates this quickly to the reader – then redefine your question.

It’s difficult to get it straight away – keep refining over time…

This primary question should be so good the reader almost does not need to read the rest of the thesis…

How tech has effected architecture over the last decade… hmmmmn

I would suggest you refine this question much further – its too generic at the moment…

As a further clue – try inserting words after architecture for instance… you could also insert words after decade – where, how, why… etc

When you consider the question initially – well this is actually a very defined period of time – 10 years is nothing really looking at the big picture…

What I mean is for example – take a look at autocad for instance as a user defined industry standard vector drawing package – what has it morphed to within the last 10 years – hardly any difference over 10 years in real terms…

Looking wider at the market – what have companies been up to in terms of RnD – research and development?

The observations can give insight into what’s hot and what’s not…

With regard to Autocad – what has the parent company –autodesk’ been doing – well lot’s actually…

They have ran beta software such as Vasari, 123Catch – 3d photography into modelling at a touch of your iPhone, 123d sculpture on the iPad, touch based sculpture into an obj textured file for input to rendering studio of choice etc.

They have bought up REVIT and pushed this forward…

What have rivals been doing?

Google Sketchup – why have they done what they have done – what’s their game…

Microsoft – they lost to google with their world mapping and 3d modelling fight…

Bentley Microstation – this is set up differently – you can model processes…

Such as Graphisoft, Such as Nemetchek Allplan? Note: Allplan was 20 years ahead, 20 years ago… scary.


Drawing Express

You should do some research – you will find the answers interesting… …sometimes lack of change or development is interesting if you look ‘between the lines…’

As you know my interest now is in 3d high definition scanning with photography – this has been kicking around since 15 years ago however in real terms it is only deliverable now with recent advances in math based programming and faster processors.

As a separate branch of research and reference, I suggest you look to some of the big name ‘signature building’ architects…

Set this up like the following: In asking what changes tech has made in the last 10 years, it is natural to then look at what architect’s have made an impact recently and what tech is directly connected to their architectural ‘form and function’.

Look at signature buildings that have complex form – this might be a skyscraper that has a rotated floor plan – parametric modelling such as REVIT.

This might be something like Frank Gehry‘s free form structures – he has his own in house bespoke CAD software that delivers the free form cladding shapes etc. in terms of fabrication.

A few of the ‘big boys’ have their own CAD solutions.

So, in terms of structure from these reference points – I would suggest you concentrate on one or two examples and reach a conclusion with reference to each example.

Then finish off by saying something like it’s an ongoing process, any time period is arbitrary as the situation is constantly evolving.

For some fun and interest pick on some software and expand on how this may change working practices in the future…

The above is rough and ready, but it’s my quick advice moving forward on such a project.

I have set up a blog on these subjects – it’s early days, however if you would like to contribute I would appreciate it.

So what I need from you is live posts and responses to subjects along these lines…

Check out:


It’s an wild foray into blogging, I have set up a few on different subjects and currently am experimenting.


This becomes a blog entry on the site – it is then referenced under relevant category etc

Thanks and Regards



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pwani university – design and renders…


This gallery contains 1 photo.

…early illustration work using Maxwell Render… …these were fast background renders to sit behind text within a submission… …the task was to indicate solutions for a masterplan before design work was commissioned… [nggallery id=2]

press release on collaborative working…

The background to the process…

… A Visual Knowledge Database …

A 3d photographic and measurement database navigable and easily available to all team members through a simple web interface.

A collaborative working process combining;

Asset tagging, redlining and exploration of spaces, rooms. Equipment, processes is as simple as point and click…

… All data is also available to be interrogated for measurements such as distances between objects on the floor plate or pipe sizes and lengths for example…

… The purpose of which is to create a user friendly visual database of working knowledge about the facilities and the unique processes in question…

This could be the location and purpose of filters, fire dampers etc

All the key information can be made immediately accessible which is necessary to the overall process of the production line, or the function of a process, or the procurement of a design.

A shared database of visual knowledge.

The technique employed is advanced beyond 2d drafting of cad drawings which by their nature are out of date as soon as commissioned.

Of course we all have experience and knowledge of failings of the old system – time and resources are often a problem and the drawings are often specific to their original design discipline and are rarely if ever re-drafted  to be specific for use to the user of the facility.

…as a technical consultant’s drawing is often only useful to their specific purpose and is only understandable in day to day terms to the consultant themselves and often less so to the client.

Our proposal and solution set removes the requirement to rely on old and out of date information – all data is from a fresh start on what is actually installed on the site – all referenced on a ‘what you see is what you get ‘- realtime and on an on demand basis.

Scanning and database creation can be undertaken and fully deployed to the client within days – this enables clients to be up and running independent on what had happened before we were commissioned to give a solution.

This negates trawling through old databases which may be unreliable or untrustworthy, such as scanning and archiving of old drawings.

More importantly for the clients we are in the business of empowering the client to be self sufficient with the system – we can offer various levels of support and maintenance – the bottom line is that the clients own operatives are the key day to day users of the system and working knowledge is shared and recorded against specific processes and assets – a powerful and important result for the client.

When processes or equipment updates necessitates change on site then the database can be simply updated through a partial scan undertaken and loaded back to the single database.

2d drafting is not undertaken in the old way – if you need an elevation, plan or section you take this from the 3d knowledge database itself – this prevents data loss and human operator errors creeping in to output.

The exported info is always visually checkable against the 3d source of the single point database – this allows quality assurance procedures to be implemented which can even be audited by non-technically proficient management or key staff – even stakeholders.

The background to the site works for enabling Crossrail at Farringdon Station for LUL…

..facilitate the client to find the way forward…

We have been asked on behalf of Roughton who will be the project sponsor and client, to quote for services in connection with Farringdon Station in London for LUL.

Location map and sample platform photograph included within this email.

We will be progressing a workflow and data control system encompassing CAD, BIM and CAFM to the client body and the high definition 3dimensional scanning survey works are the first point of action.


Farringdon station is a London Underground and National Rail station in Clerkenwell, just north of the City of London in the London Borough of Islington. It is currently one of the less importantcentral London stations with mainline services but this will significantly change as it will become an important interchange station on the two largest transport infrastructure programmes currently underway in London – the Thameslink Programme and Crossrail, both of which are scheduled for completion in 2018.

What we are doing…

Provide a team – with LUCAS cover – provide equipment including suitable railway PPE.

We will be undertaking the scans during the night shift of 12-4am.

The locations will be along the platforms and entrance halls.

Access will be prepared for upper levels to include for roof level information.

Undertake a 3d survey – 10 minute scans including photography – 6m centres along each platform.

Assemble the scans through simultaneously completing a Total Station Control Grid.

We include for training and assistance with the processing of the scans into a web based collaborative environment.

What this enables…

The design team can collaboratively access a measured database from a web based photographic 3d record.

Data can be redlined and tagged for further investigation.

Measurements can be taken and design decisions made in advance of site access.

Existing databases can be linked to the web interface – this builds on the knowledge base for the team.

CAD systems and processes all derive from this measured data – new ways of working naturally evolve to encompass the principle concepts of BIM  (Building Information Modelling).

The team can download point clouds related to their specific enquiry – they can request specific deliverables from the surveyors such as elevations, plans and sections to scale based upon photography in dwg format without a single vector being drawn.


Sample questions and answers related to the process and delivery:


I forgot to ask – does the fact that the survey is being done at night affect the photography element and the quality that will be available to the client? Obviously a significant part of what they want will be the interface with the photographic element to click on and check sizes etc?


Yes… and No.

What you can get in pitch black is a fantastic grey scale of the subject – it’s actually clearer for the user to interrogate than colour anyway.

We will take the photography if possible as an option for colour – if its impossible or severely limited then it’s a greyscale result – this is not black and white photography its a laser based reflectance.

Other photography equipment has been designed to create it’s own illuminance for night work or poor lighting however it is not measurement based – used for crime scenes etc.

the opposite of the workhouse…

Recently discussing new working practices with friends and colleagues… what appears to be an emergent approach of work being the opposite of the ‘workhouse’ victorian model…

…ideally you now are employed on objective based / results based targets and how you get there, where you are and how you interact with others is becoming less rigid or defined…

…flexible working hours and practices combined with family life…