Category Archives: Building review

Architectural Technologist – A day at CIAT

Sorry, but yesterday I attended CIAT in City Road, to view the POPS papers, which I thoughly enjoyed, but the trip down was another thing, the train was ok, not a problem, I had planned to do some work, and at some point write a blog in the almost two hours it takes to get down, but alas, the wifi signal prevented much of that, together with the elbow to elbow existence on a train. So I watched a video blog instead of Twig, this week in google, re the new Google Loon project, of creating a wifi grid overhead using balloons very high up in the stratosphere.

Chiltern Railway advertise an onboard wifi but try using it with just about every one else, and you soon realise how bad their system is, I tried to use my iPhone's hot spot, which normally works just fine, but the bald patches along the route meant it kept hanging, so in a nut shell not a lot of work done. Roll on Google with their loon system, wach the video below.

One thing I do find though was this excellent clock tower right outside the CIAT offices, plus a rather nice gothic brick building, just over the road, a copy of both, which I have posted to my Flickr site. The building is looking rather tired, and in need of a good clean, making me think of the problems of cleaning such a building, and a lecture I attended a few years back on stone cleaning.

Travelling does bring riches, even if at the end of a long trip the legs and back are a little tired. I saw many excellent building in and around the Angle, the corner light stone building is a classic example, Unfortunatly I just did not have time to take a picture, the traffic at these lights is very heavy so you need to wait to get a clear traffic free picture. The clock photo used today was one of about 20 I took with my iPhone, all the others had a car, or a bike creating in. The gothic building I waited, but the best I could get was with a red bus to one side, perhaps better luck next trip.

As always there is CPD here and again it's about stopping to look, I keep saying it, but our rush and pace of police means we rarely stop and look, so I make no excuse, I was late home I had to catch the later train, but it was worth it.


Architectural Technologist – Archoncad introduces a new Vectorworks training website

Purple flowers on Common

Purple flowers on Common (Photo credit: Scays)

I train others in the use of Vectorworks, mostly 2D, with a little 3D, its the basics and low level, but who trains the trainer, well its simple Jon Pickup of Archoncad. I have been a member of Jon’s training members area for the past 5 years, or is it more, I realy can’t remember.

Jon, if you did not know, writes most of the Architectural Vectorworks manuals, and runs his own online training sessions for both beginners and expert users. The books are a mixture of written work with just loads of pictures, plus a CD with video explanations, ie, Jon going through the training module, in steps on the screen. The pdf version has links to the videos via icons on the page, right were you want them. There are also epub versions on Kindle. but with no videos.

Joh has also had several web sites, all at the same address with lots of tips and links related to Vectorworks and training. The simple stuff Jon has always given away free, take a look at his youtube account to see what I mean, but for the more complex and longer tutorials, Jon introduced a members area, where you had access to some of the more complex and longer videos and training sessions, but space and online storage was always a problem.

Well Jon has made a new members area on his web site, based upon WordPress, that lists all the videos and work jon has ever done, it lists all, and I mean all his videos, book, tutorials, they are tagged and categorised, and, now he has secured cloud storage for all his work, stored online, each article or video contained within a single blog with a small explanation, so searching, and running any video Jon has ever done, is so much easier than ever before,

I know jon has worked hard to get this up and running, having seen the development over the last few months, with me acting as a sounding board for the site. The search bar is most useful, I added a couple of simple items and saw just all the videos related to that subject, and they are not limited to the current version 2012, they go back about 4 or 5 years, most impressive. In the video below, Jon explains the new site and the search functions. I have added both a link and embedded the video.




A list of the curent training sessions for members is also there, I have just used it to log into the training session on Wednesday 18th July,next week for annotation.

So whats next, well I can recommend taking a membership with Jon, I have been there right from the start, and I’m proud to put it on my CV under my CPD activities. I was chatting to Jon this week, and he has agreed to a special time limited  introductory  membership offer which he mentions in the movie above, it is limited to just 40 applications, so get in quick, follow the button below for the links and discount. I get nothing for this just a link, I rather you progress your Vectorworks skills and keep Jon employed, there is no other site like this at all.



English: Betula pendula, Inari wilderness, Fin...

English: Betula pendula, Inari wilderness, Finland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Todays photo has nothing to do with Jon, Archoncad, CPD or Vectorworks, it just a photo I took in Surrey, of the heather and Gorse just coming into bloom, the area you see was ravaged by fire a year ago, and is just getting back into life again, some if not all of the trees have not made it, but the grass, heather and gorse certainly have. Strange how nature mends itself. Silver birch (Betula pendula) are the one tree that seems to have thrived, although I saw many Oaks  (Quercus roburcomming up from old acorns I presume.

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Architectural Technologist – Wolfgang Kessling reveals sustainable design innovations that cool us from above and below, and even collects solar energy for later use

An impressive title, but one I think is worthy of the subject, discussed in this video, given at one of the many

TED (conference)

TED (conference) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TED conferences. Having spent many days in these stadiums watching games and athletics, all over the globe, I know what he means. So whats the answer, well watch the video, make notes, mine looked like this:

  • Shade
    • Roman theatres
    • tent structures
  • Water
    • spray
    • small streams
    • underground pipes
  • under ground pipes general
  • Grass
    • water
  • Cooling
  • Solar power
    • PV
    • storage
    • power coolers
  • ambiant air quality
  • Roofs of PV
I like many of the concepts introduced in this video, particularly the underground cooling, the roofs powering the machinery, the shade, and attention paid to the control of ventilation.
OK the UK is going to be a test in reverse, staying warm or even dry might be the order of the day, but for many other staiums this might be the real answer.
So much CPD, from historic stadium design, the roman theatres, to modern day designs, I have baked, particularly in Sydney, for the 2000 olympics, no shade in the cheap seats at all. climate,solar power,energy storage, water supply, even means of escape, access, bars, and  perhaps leg room, a particular favourite of mine. Although not mentioned, but material in my mind always has an influence of comfort, plastic seats, sweat, so much concrete is not good, stone, perhaps timber, a little more, just a thought.

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Architectural Technologist – Siphonic drainage Vs Traditional gutter

I had an email recently, asking about the use of Vacuum flat roof drainage systems Vs old fashioned gravity drains and gutters. Now I have only ever worked on one job were we used aVacuum or more commonly called, Siphonic systems, and if I recall correctly, we used it because of the number of downpipes was reduced considerably.

First whats the difference, well try out the Siphonic roof drainage Associations site, they have a wealth of information, so does the CIBSE site, Fullflow a company who specalise in Siphonic systems have a very good site, and a couple of nice downloadable pdf documents that explain it a little more. I used Fullflow on the one and only project I have used this system, and had great service, no link here.

The video below is a reasonable explanation of the technical aspects of siphonic systems, but follow the links at the side of the video to find other equally good videos.

Is it the best way, I leave that for you to decide, certainly it reduces the number of downpipes dramaticly, and is a tried and tested system, I once attended a lecture on the subject and some one in the audience asked to obvious question, that of leaves blocking the pipe, I tend to agree, the answer is maintenance, using good overflow designs, larger gutters to accommodate the water, and sumps at outlets. This site has a good paper on the subject.

If your new to siphonic roof systems, there is easily an hour of good CPD, perhaps more if you follow the links. The photo today is one I found on Google via a search, it shows the basic principles, and adds the obvious link to sustainability by storing the grey water, nice I thought.

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Architectural Technologist – LG’s Flexible E-Paper Display

For some time, its been obvious that paper still rules on a site, despite the arrival of the iPad, iPhone and a plethery of equaly good electronic devices, why, well they are easily damaged and cost a lot, so why risk it, ask for a paper copy, or take one with you onto site. OK you might argue, protect the iPad with one of those cases, good answer, and for some jobs thats exactly what happens, I to have gone this route, adding a water resistant, mind my words here, water resistant, not water proof case to my iPad 3 and it works fine, ok the touch screen need a little more patience, but it means I can walk forests and the like, in the rain if I have to, and my precious iPad is dry.

But this is not the same as a building site, subject to the rigours of builders, equipment and water, again note the word used, water, as water is more common than rain, ie burst pipes, etc. I can understand contractors sticking to their paper prints rather than an Ipad they can store within their tool kit

Entre stage left, LG’s Flexible E-Paper Display, the article claims it’s reasonably robust, having past some drop tests and had the advance of a small plastic hammer, and given that it’s flexible, it might just swing site operatives into the electronic world. Sites are mostly wifi’ed now so at long last the  real power of pdf can be used, sending updates direct to the site worker.

Reality is that site managers might balk at their bypass and issue controls to stop this, quite right really, but you see were I’m going with this, paper might just have turned a corner on site if this LG product is as robust and flexible as they claim. Add a small camera and suddenly we move forward into the 21 century completely.

Why not turn the corner completely and insert it into a site permanently, add a small solar PV cell, instant power for ever, instand monitoring of the building structure at little or no cost, I know its already available, but in this flexible form with some degree of robustness, I think not.

Not realy CPD, but you might argue, your keeping up with the ever advancing electronic world.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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Architectural Technologist – Hindhead Tunnel and the Devils Punchbowl

Devils Punchbowl

Devils Punchbowl (Photo credit: Scays)

The title today is that of the new tunnel thats just opened in Surrey, that replaces a section of the old A3. The old A3 cut through some wolderful countryside, and was a long trafgfic bottle neck trying to get through the village and island junction, the new route removes this and opens up a quite and relaxing area, with no traffic.

The purpose of this blog is to take a look at the construction and reclamation of the land, take a look at the wiki page, its very informative, and well worth an hour to read through, and follow up on some of the links, look at some of the maps and in particular google earth to view the new route. You might also have a look at my Flickr page to see some shots I made of the area.

I walked the old road, well part of it, as the old road is no longer there, just a clearing passing between trees, the tarmac has been removed, and the gap planted with, a slight green hue now appearing,

This style of civil engineering is not really on my radar as far as my CPD is concerned, but its such a major project with such a major impact I thought it worthy of bringing to your attention. it brings in Civil engineering, reclamation,conservation, tunnelling, and a whole heap more.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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Architectural Technologist – Why bend a path to one side when you can go both sides of a tree

Both sides of a tree

Both sides of a tree (Photo credit: Scays)

As you might be aware, I have been walking, down in deepest Surry over the weekend, walking on the various commons, and we happen to go to  a rather wet area, that had a nice feature, in that most of the walks had been raised above with timber walkways, no longer do you have to damage the natural earth paths, and believe me with the number of walkers, bird watchers, dog walkers and every one else, damage is being done,

Even a tree in the middle of a path was accomodated, the path went both sides, a nice touch. and quite an easy detail, realy, and one that should be promoted. The support is made from logs, about 100mm + driven into the soft ground, with cross members bolted to the poles, timber rafters are then place on the cross supports, and rough sawn plans nailed to the top to form a walk way, so easy, yet so effective, and its these simple details that are so good, the timber looked as through it was taken from the forest areas, stripped of the bark, cut to length, about 1000mm long, no preservative that I could see or smell.

This is great conservation, and worthy of note, and one I will store in my Evernote library, as I get to do a lot of forest plotting work, this is one detail I might use. As always more photos on my flickr site.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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