Sunday, November 12, 2017


Walworth is in London, south of the river.  I'm still getting to know St Peter (my favourite of Soane's three London churches) by means of a BIM model.  This is where I got to last weekend.  Three major areas of progress: Planning, Interior & Context

I received a link to a floor plan from Kamran Subhan, an old friend and long-time Revit user.  He had come across a nice little cache of information about the church on the Survey of London website.  Based on this plan, I re-adjusted the spacing of the windows, pulling the central row of 5 closer together and confirming various aspects of the general planning.  Ultimately I realised that this plan is not quite accurate either, based on photographic evidence and my own visit a couple of years ago.  As usual, with Soane's work, the drawings are very interesting, but none of them necessarily represents the definitive version of what was actually built.

I came to realise during this process that all three of his churches follow a common planning structure.  I'll describe St Peter, but the other two are variations on the same theme.  There are square volumes at each corner which carry the vertical circulation.  Connecting these in pairs is a lobby or loggia comprising a procession of arches.  I was aware of this structure in the one at the back, because it is open to the elements, but I hadn't realised that the entrance lobby was a variation on the same theme. 

This idea of progressing through a sequence of round arches is one of Soane's favoured devices.  You see it in the long passage at the Bank of England and in the main corridor of the Board of Trade.  At the heart of the plan is the nave of course, where the congregation sits, but between these and the linked stair towers are buffer zones. one for the organ, one for the altar.  The inner corners at the ends of the aisles puzzled me at first, until I realised that they contained box-pews where prominent families could sit together with a degree of privacy. 

I created a diagram in a drafting view to clarify my understanding of this basic planning concept.

The planning phase progressed quite naturally into more detailed development of the interior.  I built out the organ gallery with a rough massing for the organ itself and enhanced the arch families that separate the side aisles from the nave.  These are reminiscent of the arches he used in his last two transfer halls at the Bank, with splayed edges running smoothly down into octagonal columns, which are really quite slender.  I did quite a lot of family editor work in the end: a line-based array for the wooden balustrading, and a fascinating support beam for the tiered galleries above the aisles (shallow arched soffit with a bracket where it meets the wall.)

There has to be a bell-ringing chamber above the arched lobby at the main entrance and I decided this was accessed via the tiered seating at the sides of the organ, then going behind the organ to access a door via a few more steps.  I don't know if the bells still work, but I did find out that the church was damaged in the second world war and restored afterwards.  It seems to me that both the organ and the altar piece are original Soane designs.

As you can see, I am making regular use of Enscape images now. The interior comes across nicely with a hint of black line edges and some fog to bring out the sunlight through the arched windows.  Shame these don't have coloured glass in them yet.  Soane loved the effect of light through coloured glass.  You can see the box pews though and the shallow coffers in the ceiling with typical Soane rosettes.

Soane was not a big fan of organised religion and his church designs represent the culmination of the "rational classical" phase of Anglican Church Architecture.  Soon after his death, the fashion would swing back towards a more "high-church" Gothic Revival approach.  I don't think he would have approved, but he did quite enjoy bringing something of the Gothic strutural expression into his taught and spare classical designs.  You can see it here in the "crossing" with its pierced roundels.

So, almost three weekends into this "BIM pencil" research project, I have quite a good feel for the overall planning and the detailing is also shaping up quite well.  He's working to a tight budget, and he himself is a Deist at best (This project predates Darwin's voyage on HMS Beagle by a decade) so the stripped-down version of his classical style is on display here.

The third phase of activity last weekend involved adding trees and site context to give some background to the external views.  Spent my last half hour moving around in Enscape and grabbing a whole bunch of views to record the current state of the model.  Here's a high-level view from the rear.

All three of his churches feature axial approaches, although this has been obscured for the other two by later road and rail developments.  At Walworth the original approach is intact and made quite an impression on me two years ago on my first tour of Soane projects.  The image below is a little misleading because the entrance gates and railings are missing.

Those railings enclose a calm green space in a quiet residential square, just a stone's throw from a busy cosmopolitan high street.  It's rich in history too.  At one time there were live monkeys in the garden to the north where the graveyard was.  Today the gravestones are stacked up against the wall and there's been some creative landscaping plus a ramp down to a community centre in the vaults of the converted crypt.  Sadly this was closed when I visited, but I plan to go and have a coffee in the cafe down there next time I'm in London.

Hands-on modelling using Revit has pulled me in to the life and history of this Church which remains a dynamic part of the community of Walworth to this day, almost 200 years after Soane designed it.  I'd love to meet some of the people who continue to bring it to life in the 21st century.  This weekend I discovered that there is a bell-ringing society who include it in their rounds (a lighter set of bells was installed after the post-war restoration)

I have always thought that Soane's work is a bit of an acquired taste.  I took to the exterior of this church almost immediately, but when I found photos of the interior I was a bit disappointed.  It seemed rather dull, to be honest.  But during the course of modelling it though, my opinion has changed.  It's a very carefully constructed space, eminently practical and fairly plain, but with just enough of his signature classical detailing to soften the effect.

Thanks to Enscape3d I have an embarrassment of rich imagery to share.  Lots to talk about too, but running out of time to write it down so here's a little collection to wet your appetite.

The way he handles the various arches, which are structural of course, hints at the expressiveness of gothic, while remaining within the classical idiom.  I'm on my third weekends now, and so far this has been a perfect demonstration of the value of Revit as a research tool.  I've been in problem-solving mode throughout, and built up an understanding of the design and construction of this church that would have been impossible by any other method.

This weekend, I intended to progress the modelling further (the crypt, louvres and clock on the tower, curved internal corners of the stairs, better representation of the stairs and railings ... lots still to do.  But instead I found that the modelling had posed questions that I needed to answer by collecting more data.  Analysis of that data will have to wait another week, but I can hint that it involved comparisons of all three church designs.  Here is a quick massing model that I built along the way.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


I've run out of time to do a proper blog post this weekend, but I need to post something.  Two weeks since I got back from my trip to BiLT Europe.  The second part of my session there dealt with the inherent scaling capability of the Planting category in Revit, and I used various classical elements for most of my examples, in particular my ongoing work to produce a classical columns collection capable of tackling just about any heritage BIM exploration I might want to take on.

Last weekend I did a bit more work on that collection and then decided to test the results on a real example.  I chose one of Soane's London churches.  St Peter's Walworth

Two weekends have been enough to produce a reasonably advanced model, and more importantly for me, to learn a good deal about Soane's approach to designing churches.  All three of his London churches were designed late in his career, and are essentially boxes with a tower over the front door.

Inside it gets a bit more interesting.  There's a nave and aisles, with sturdy Doric columns supporting the aisle galleries.  Stairs in the corners on either side of the entrance lobby provide access to these upper galleries.  He uses arches windows in arched recesses for this church, which is basically yellow brick with stone trim.

I guess the substantial stone bands at base and eaves act as ring beams from a structural viewpoint, bonding the smaller masonry units together and spreading loads.  It's an idea that has been supplanted by structural frames of steel or concrete in modern times but must have been fundamental to Soane's idea of stability in a medium to large building.

The guys at Enscape very kindly extended my license so I can carry on using it for Project Soane work.  In fact they sorted that out over breakfast at the hotel in Denmark so that I could use it during my session ( it expired the night before which I had not anticipated).  That was pretty impressive and much thanks due to Moritz Luck and Phil Read for allowing me to interrupt their cornflakes to organise that :)

The interior shot illustrates how easy it is to crank up the exposure a bit, add a hint of linework to increase the definition of the ceiling recesses and add some fog so that the light streaming through the windows over the altar looks more dramatic.  It will look even better when I get around to placing some pews and altar furniture of course, and stained glass would be very nice if I can figure that one out.

But beyond generating impressive images, I want to delve a bit deeper into the construction details, how the roof works, etc; and to analyse the rhythms of the side elevation which is quite subtle and relates to the spatial planning in ways which I am still getting to grips with.

Here's a rather unfinished ceiling plan.  The red Xs indicated where the stairs should be (not yet modelled) and the arrows at the back are conjectured functional routes for the resident priest to do his stuff.  I think he has rooms on two storeys in these back corners either side of the altar, but I haven't been inside the church.  I'm basing the interior on some rather low-res photos found on the internet.

That's it for now.  Just a teaser from an adventure in classical column use.  Four different columns/pilasters used here covering Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders.  The collection is holding up quite well, but not showing up in plan views as well as I would like as yet.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


I'm in Denmark, attending the BiLT conference.  (Revit, BIM, other related stuff)  I am leading one session, called "Planting Seeds".  It's about the Planting category in Revit and the seeds part implies that I am presenting exploratory work that will continue to grow and hopefully stimulate others to build on my ideas.  In the course of my preparations, I opened up some of my early Revit work.  I showed some of the blog-related stuff a couple of weeks ago.  This one is focused on my day job at GAJ Architects, Dubai.

The first version of Revit I ever had was 7.0 so I spend quite some time using the Accurender version of raytracing before Mental Ray was introduced with Revit 2009.  (We also got the swept blend, colour fills in Sections, sloping pads, shape editing floors ... heady days) Accurender had very interesting Planting objects.  They looked a bit wierd in shaded views, but they rendered as genuine 3d objects. If you look carfully at the palm trees in the image above you will see this.  We are looking up into the canopy of the nearby ones, but at a distance you get a side view.

They also had some interesting controls, like "Trim Height" which allowed you to have a tall canopy on a short trunk, or vice-versa.  My next image shows an early example of mixing rendered and shaded images using layers in Photoshop, blending and filtering the image to simulate more of a hand-drawn look.  This can be especially effective to convey the softness of landscape elements.  But of course the "partner in charge" wasn't always convinced that Revit could "do" client-friendly images, so at times we just printed out Revit views and had our pencil and paper guys trace over them. Don't knock it.  Apart from producing very effective images, some useful design ideas can emerge along the way.

For a while I experimented with "Impression" which was free software for processing CAD files.  You could take a hidden line camera view, export it to CAD and use impression to turn the lines into a pencil effect.  This was hard work compared to say Sketchup which gave you a similar effect live, at the click of a button.  But I gave it a go and lived in hope.

The introduction of Mental Ray was quite exciting.  This is one of my very early attempts to exploit its potential.  The way it represents building elements if much more convincing than Accurender.  The shadows are more subtle and realistic with light bouncing around from surface to surface.  But the trees have moved in the reverse direction.  They look flatter, less volumetric, which is probably why I downplayed them so much in these views.

Opening one of the files and viewing with Enscape3d, the planting families that I placed back in 2008 immediately convert into fully volumetric objects.  Some of the custom materials have got screwed up, but that's nothing to do with Enscape, just the fact that my laptop doesn't have the right images on the paths set up under Options/Rendering.  Now this image isn't quite as impressive as some of the others I've been showing, but I'm pretty sure that if I spent half a day gathering together and tweaking the various linked files that were created for this project, I could create a couple of dozen images that represent it far better than the ones we generated in 2008.

Villa Savoye is a project I built around the same time.  It was partly motivated by my own fascination with the history of architecture and building technology, but I also used it as the subject for several training sessions, most notably a brief attempt to teach basic Revit skills to the partners at GAJ.  The image here compares a "realistic" view to the same shot in Enscape (top)  This is informative.  The tree shapes are quite different, although they obviously represent the same species.  The effect in Enscape is much sparser. The trees don't fill out the background as they did in the original.  I think part of the problem may be that some of the families are just not getting picked up in Enscape.  Maybe I have some dodgy RPCs in there.

But generally speaking, the Enscape trees are impressive and fully 3d.  You can view them from above and they look great.  They cast realistic shadows even when the sun is coming from the side. (RPC trees are flat billboards, so shadows from the side are very thin.)  In a realistic view you don't actually get any shadows at all.  Again I am not trying to criticise RPC families.  They are incredibly useful, lightweight and versatile, plus you can do a lot with the free starter pack that comes with a Revit installation.

The final image is not mine, and it's not Revit.  It was produced by the same team at GAJ that did the hand drawn image earlier on, this time using Sketchup and Photoshop.  I was helping a guy working on the same project, but using Revit.  It was early concept design stage, and we really struggled to compete with the Sketchup team.  We were quite proud of the images we came up with, but the partners thought they were awful.  I'm sure many of you have had similar experiences.  Plugins like Enscape3d definitely go a long way towards closing that gap, especially if you have the versatility and imagination to do a bit of mix and match with blended and processed images. 

I will be sharing some of the families from my session at Aarhus in coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


It's always interesting to turn the clock back half a dozen years.  How crap were my Revit skills in 2008?  I was quite proud of myself of course, but it's revealing to open a file that's been lying dormant since then.  One such project is the William Morris's house in Bexley Heath ... the famous Red House designed by Phillip Web.

I didn't get very far with it really, just the bare outlines of the shell, and I haven't taken it much further this weekend.  The idea was to open a bunch of old files in Enscape and see how quickly I could generate some interesting images.  It's a continuation of what I started last weekend.  Part of the motivation is to try out some of the planting families I have been working up for my presentation in Arhus.  Put them through their paces.

So I just threw a whole bunch of trees on the site, made a couple of small tweaks to the roof and fired up Enscape3d.  This gives you a pretty decent render quality in a live window, with some useful settings sliders to help you find a suitable ambience for the image in question.  Then you can take screenshopts, or export panoramas if you like.  In practice I can generate useable images in less that a quarter of a time it would have taken using Revit's internal render engine.

In this case I'm not using RPC trees so Enscape is not substituting them with its own 3 dimenionsal versions.  Instead I have families that incorporate 3d CAD mesh geometry, picked up here and there on my travels.  These come out surprisingly well in Enscape and as a bonus I can export black and white images with sketchy outlines to merge with shaded views to create images that match the Enscape renders.  That wouldn't really work with RPC content.

These families have some other tricks up their sleeves with I will explain in my session and post here soon after.  Embedded plan symbols, instance scaling etc.  I was quite impressed by the shadows that some of them cast.  I'm not trying to do away with RPC trees.  I think they are great (That's why I took the time to make my own customised versions).  But it's also good to have other options up your sleeve.

Another project that's been lying dormant for many years is the Tunendhat house by Mies van der Rohe, featuring his famous "cross-section" columns.  I guess this is one of the very first houses to feature a wall of glass occupying the entire length of an open-plan living space.  Actually this one was motorised and retracted into the basement when the weather was suitable.  The house was built on a steep slope, so the view would have been quite spectacular.  Still is I imagine.  I really must find the time to push these two research projects further.  What an incredibly contrast in design approach.

In 2013 I attempted something rather ambitious for the RTC in Auckland.  I took 3 memorable 20th century office developments, modelled them in Revit and used those the models to present a comparative analysis, attempting to set each within its social and political context.  I had a mixed response, ranging from intense enthusiasm to total bewilderment.  It was an immensely rewarding project for my personally on so many levels.  One of the buildings was Lever House in New York.  This model was developed in some detail, but I haven't done much with it since 2013.  Comes out nicely in Enscape though.  I've done a bit of post-processing here, just for fun

I showed some images of Casa del Fascio, not long ago.  So I won't show that again here.  But the third office was the Gherkin, which I did develop further for a while, trying to turn it into a tutorial for architecture students who wanted to build the model for themselves.  That was also lots of fun, but after three lengthy posts I ran out of steam.  The model as it stands is a bit like a semi-peeled onion, revealing the underlying structure.  My intention, in all this work is educational: to use BIM as a tool for understanding our built history.  So it's not always necessary to create a complete replica of the original.  It's all about the thought processes that kick in while you are modelling.   Learning by doing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


In finalising my preparations for the BiLT Europe conference coming up in Denmark shortly, I opened up some of my old projects with Enscape3d active and saved a few screenshots.  It's amazing what you can do in just half an hour with almost no editing at all, just selecting viewpoints and sliding the shadow angle around to different times of day.

There are other controls of course and I made some use of the white mode and the black outlines slider.  Depth of field has some potential but I couldn't get it to do anything particularly interesting in this case.

The model is le Corbusier's famous chapel at the top of a hill of course.  The roof is a hollow ferro-cement shell, inspired by aircraft wing construction techniques.  There are blog posts from several years ago that go into these issues in a bit more depth, but I have never really got around to taking this work to a reasonable conclusion. 

I do have a plan to follow up my Project Soane website with something more general which features analysis of a wide variety of buildings in the context of the societies that gave birth to them.  It will be called "The Way We Build" and it's a project that's been at the back of my mind for at least 20 years.  I thought it was going to be a book, but that never happened.  A website is easier to start up in a small way and gradually enhance so let's hope I can find the time and energy to do it well.
I am open to collaboration of course.  It would be wonderful if students of building /architecture /history, the old and the young, could work together to create an open resource of models and analytical diagrams, available over the internet. 

I think this is one of the great missed opportunities of BIM: using the technology for education and research.  There are lots of courses ABOUT BIM, but far too little use of BIM to actually DO education and research.  Why aren't students and teachers of architecture bowled over by the incredible power of the BIM pencil to reveal how buildings work?

By the way, that last image shows the village church at the bottom of the hill in relation to the chapel of "Our Lady up top" Not the kind of image you normally expect to get from Revit (sadly) but as an architect, and a student of the history of buildings I do like to use my favourite "drawing tool" to convey these kinds of relationship.  Ultimately it becomes boring to talk about technique all the time instead of just using BIM software as if it was a pencil, in a natural, uncomplicated way to explore and express ideas.

So this is just a tribute to Enscape3d, and another thankyou to the guys for letting me use it for educational purposes, plus a bit of a teaser for what I am planning to do, moving forward.  I have modelled lots of interesting buildings over the past few years: Robey House, bits and pieces of Gaudi, Casa del Fascio, the Gherkin, Lever House, Newari houses of Kathmandu, Temple of Poseidon, Pantheon, Borromini, Soane of course, Hawksmoor churches, Palladio (the last 2 as urban design studies)  I will try to generate some more Enscape images from these models and share them here.

Maybe you will get inspired to join my mission.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


I'm going to begin this post the way I finished the last one.  We have set up a new website for the continuation of the work begun during the Project Soane competition.  Please take a look, and seriously consider the validity of using BIM tools and processes outside the normal "commercial" or "day-job" context.

Another weekend has flown by and I didn't achieve half the things I wanted to, but I did at least begin to prepare for the BiLT Europe conference in Aarhus at the beginning of October. I'm doing a presentation on creative use of the "Planting" category in Revit.  This will cover both actual trees or shrubs, and other types of object that don't really belong to that category but can make use of the peculiar capabilities of double-nested planting objects.  For example, these are railings.

You might notice that the second one from the top is a double-sized version of the ones immediately above and below it.  This is achieved by nesting a planting category family within the baluster component.  These are not intended to be actual railings either.  They are inspired by Project Soane and represent the carved decoration on masonry friezes.  Railings are very useful for quickly creating these kinds of repeating motifs of course they go around curved corners quite nicely.  Here's a couple of images of the kind of thing we are talking about.

I've also been reviewing my "lollipop" tree family, cleaning it up and making the parameters a bit more user-friendly.  It's intended for use in large-scale contexts: Urban Design studies and the like where you want to keep things fairly abstract but just represent the idea of a row of trees or a small public park.  These are all types within a single family, so it's super lightweight.  I also added a choice of plan symbols that you can choose from, and set these up to scale correctly to give a realistic impression of the canopy diameter.

That's one of the well-known issues with the out-of-the-box planting families.  The plan symbols don't adjust properly so a tall-thin tree will have a symbol that's too large, and a short fat one with look too small in plan.  I came up with a solution for that a few years ago and shared the family, which has been one of my most popular downloads.  But at the time I only did the deciduous RPC tree family.  What I've been preparing for October is to cover all of the free RPC content, and to show people who attend my session how to easily adapt the family to incorporate any RPC content you might have acquired from Archvision.

I spent a bit of time revisiting my collection of plan symbols.  This goes back more than 20 years, to a library of CAD blocks I built up when I was in Zimbabwe.  That brought back some memories.  Days when my children were still at school.  I guess I started using CAD before the youngest even started primary school.  And now I have a grandson about to start school in England.  For those of you out there who also have kids: cherish those days when they are getting on your nerves, it will all seem magical looking back 20 years from now.

One tip I plan to share involves using family files as a working area to store various bits of content you intend to use when making a whole bunch of families.  In this case it's CAD content waiting to be traced over or exploded or whatever then pasted into new families as symbolic lines in the planting category. 

And finally I have a few tree families that I attempted over the years based on different approaches.  For example There are some that look a bit more like the bunch of model lines we used to have show up in shaded views back in the days when Revit used Acurender.  There might be times when you want something more like this to show up in a shaded view perhaps.  The abstract/stylised thing again.

And that's it for another short, long weekend.  Day job beckons in the morning.  Hope to see some of you in Aarhus a few weeks from now.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


There's always been a bit of an anti-competitive streak in my make up.  As a young boy I always dressed up as a "red indian" rather than a cowboy.  I also refused to eat meat ... just didn't like the taste and texture, still don't.  Maybe I'm just a bit of a wimp.  But at school there was always the end of term thing where all the results got totted up, and there would be half a dozen of us vying for the "top of the class" spot. We would be keeping track of the scores as they came out and working out how we were doing, kind of like a league table thing.  But I did lose interest in the academic success thing towards the end of school and then at university turned into a positive rebel, and some kind of drop-out.

Anyway, it's six years since I started this blog, and for much of that time I have been excited by the steadily climbing numbers and the contact with people all around the world that ensued.  Well it so happens that since the last time I looked Google is reporting 1 million page views for my blog, which is kind of nice but not exactly earth-shattering.  At the same time the numbers of hits have dropped off a bit over the past year and to be honest, my hunger for keeping the posts going has dropped a little, partly because the whole Project Soane thing has absorbed a lot of my energy.  It's not always easy to take the time off to convert the modelling work into an interesting post, and there's so much still to do on the models.

Looking at my stats, There is a dramatic peak about a year ago.  Don't really understand that.  Tend to think it must be an artefact of the way the stats are calculated by some algorithm or other.  But it's clear that they have dwindled back to their former level now.  I think that can be linked to not posting regularly enough. But then, "does it really matter?"  Maybe this blog isn't going to be my main focus going forward, who knows.  Maybe it can just tick over with a couple of posts every month and a more or less static following.

Looking at stats for the past month, they definitely show a spike straight after my last post.  So my frustration at not finishing off posts to keep stoking the fire seems justified.  But when you look at the posts that actually get hits, that post is half-way down the list.  All the rest are 4 or 5 years old.  Looks a bit like the law of diminishing returns.

While I'm reviewing my analytics, what about the comments?  Well people do sometimes say nice things, which is great.  And people ask for help, which I'm usually very slow in responding to.  And I still get spam on a fairly regular basis, presumably from very clever robots, or maybe human-assisted robots of some kind. But that's seven comments in the past two months.  Which is fine, because I really don't have it in me to spend a couple of hours a week dealing with my comments stream.  So probably we are looking at a blog that ticks over for however many years I want to keep it going. 

I know that from time to time someone discovers my blog and gets very excited working through my past posts.  I know quite a few people have this mental note in their brains to find the time to read back through my blog more thoroughly, cos they keep finding little gems.  I go back over it myself from time to time, and I am really proud of what I've produced over the past 6 years, so I do want to keep the blog active and to encourage the idea of open sharing.  But rising to new heights? Exponential growth? Making a living out of my BlogSpot persona? maybe not.

SO ... what's new?  Well I've been working on an idea that crystallised while I was in the UK talking to people from the two museums.  Which is a website focused on Project Soane.  The competition websites were temporary, and the A360 space is really targeted at active Revit modellers.  Project Soane needs to reach out to the general public, the kind of people who visit the Soane Museum, or the Bank of England Museum, or Dulwich Picture Gallery.  We have a lot of stuff now that could be usefully shared on line with the average museum visitor, or someone who might be a walk around looking at old buildings, and buy the occasional book.

I chose WordPress this time, just to see how different it is.  Well, partly because WordPress sites tend to look a bit sexier, and when I explored, I found templates that were less blog-like.   So the basics are up there, and it will continue to grow.  I'll be interested to know what people think.  There will be some reference to BIM, but not much that is specifically Revit.  Lots of images generated from Revit models of course, but the focus will be on sharing ideas about Soane's work and the social context within which it arose.  I want to focus less on talking about BIM tools and processes themselves, more on just using them to think about our built heritage.

I've enjoyed setting up the website and learning a tiny bit more about formatting pages with HTML.  Nothing clever, just following step-by-step instructions to create "grid" pages that show a picture and link through to the next level.  I've also had to come up with a naming convention for the images so it will be easier to replace them with newer versions as the models progress.

There are two phrases that I have been using for a while now:  "the BIM pencil" and "the Way We Build".  They both reflect a belief that the history of our buildings and cities is an important research field, a doorway to understanding ourselves.  The way we build tells us a lot about who we are.  It refers to evolving architectural styles, functional aspects of city form, building techniques and materials.  The BIM pencil implies using digital tools for hands-on research into the way we build.  So that's what the Project Soane website is all about.  Tale a look for yourself.