Monday, November 30, 2009

Order of the Drunken Leprechaun Unite!

The location has been selected. And it's great!

When: Tomorrow night. Tuesday. 9pm until (this is Vegas). No cover until 10pm. Get in early!
Location: Mix Lounge. 64th floor of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.
Dress Code: I'm buying your first round if you're dressed appropriately. Them's the rules.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Just a matter of time, I suppose..."

Documentation for "Autodesk® Revit® for Film and Stage" has been posted on the AU 2009 Website! Link here and another here compliments of Dropbox. And another set of links has been added just to the right (over there - to the right of this post...above the t-shirt), including a link to Eddy Krygiel's session, "Using Autodesk® Revit® and 3ds Max® Design for Daylighting".

It's a largish PDF (33mb) file and at nearly 40 pages I'm really glad Autodesk isn't printing documents this year. No - not because trees have souls (Ents have souls, but that's another story...). It's simply that the color and resolution of an electronic file is such a better customer experience and they're saving a lot of money and resources in the process.

There is a link at the bottom of the cover page to some associated Revit files. But no links to any of the actual set designs (sorry - them's the rules).

Overall, I owe an extraordinary debt to Bryan Sutton, who has been extremely gracious and patient during some tough times (tougher than you know). He's obviously Canadian - but this is way above the required level of niceness mandated by the Canadian government. And this session would not have been possible without his direction, input and sense of humor!

While I've seen some pretty incredible work in Revit over the last 10 years or so, Bryan Sutton has taken Revit and elevated it's use to an art form - by no means an easy task. There's a joyful elegance to the linework, color and geometric attention to detail. And in this sense, I really don't know of anyone that has accomplished more with Revit.

Like guitar makers that sponsor accomplished musicians to play their instruments, Autodesk should sponsor Bryan Sutton! :)

See everyone in a few days! AU2009 is nearly here!

Software Turns Webcam into 3D Scanner

“It’s called ProFORMA, or Probabilistic Feature-based On-line Rapid Model Acquisition, but it is way cooler than it sounds. The software, written by a team headed by Qui Pan, a student at the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University in England, turns a regular, cheap webcam into a 3D scanner.”

Read more about it at the Gadget Lab on

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AU and Beer

The Order of the Drunken Leprechaun

Hey, Phil is still promising beer. But with the new venue, we gotta find a place. Check the blog for updates. It's all about location, location, location.

See you all @ AU.

Oh, and PS. Check my daylighting class Tuesday night @ 5pm. AB122-4. Not as heavily promoted as stairs, but equally as enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not Your Dad's CAD

Documentation for "Insanely Great Stairs and Railings with Autodesk® Revit®" has been posted on the AU 2009 Website! Link here and another here compliments of Dropbox. Once you download the PDF file, you'll find there's a bunch of links right at the bottom of the cover page. The very last link is to the 100MB or so of datasets and sample files.

Disclaimer: you use one of these stairs in a real project you owe me a beer. And not a some crappy American beer designed to be consumed minutes after production and measured in volumes rounded to the nearest cubic kilometer.

I'm talking about one of these:

Preferably the bottle on the far left. Long story - but it's JamesV's fault. Buy me one of those and I'll really tell you what I think about the 2010 UI. ;)

Vertigo at Burj Dubai

Even if you don’t work for SOM, this is way too cool.  Construction workers at Burj Dubai have been posting video from atop the world’s tallest building.  Here’s one (via Arch Daily) from the very top of the spire…

Also of interest are videos on SOM’s website featuring structural engineering partner Bill Baker discuss the concepts behind tall towers in “Structural Lessons” or his lecture at the Skyscraper Museum.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Indiana University Requires BIM

[ Co-posted on “All Things BIM” ]

Yet another organization in the United States has hopped on the BIM wagon…this time it’s Indiana University (IU). I recently had the opportunity to speak with Theresa Thompson LEED AP, the Director of In-House Projects & Spatial/Project Information at the University Architect’s Office about their new BIM requirements and associated documentation.

Over the last two years, Indiana University has been embracing the use of building information modeling to expand and enhance their commitment to sustainable design and efficient use of funding through lifecycle data management.  This journey began with various GIS and facility management implementations and has come full circle to encompass the building design and construction domain.

Earlier in 2009, IU had a positive experience with BIM - going literally from light table coordination to virtual building model – on the completed Innovation Center at their Bloomington campus.  Messer Construction Company led the effort by generating models of the design data from BSA LifeStructures, ensuring a successful project delivery and a happy client in IU.  In October 2009, the university announced that it would require the use of BIM tools and processes for all capital projects over 5 million dollars and on all projects within the next year or two.

Standards and Guidelines

IU has made the following documents available on their website:

  • BIM Requirements Presentation
  • BIM Guidelines and Standards
  • BIM Proficiency Matrix
  • BIM Execution Plan Template
  • IPD Template
  • Revit CAD Layer export template
  • Revit CAD import lineweights file

Goals and objectives

The following are the key objectives behind the IU BIM/IPD program:

  • Capture information early and throughout the design/construction process
  • Improved change management
  • Better construction documents and as-builts
  • Database links to FM / Campus Management
  • Decrease cost of managing information and facilities
  • Improved energy conservation
  • Establish standards for the future

Top-Level Takeaways

Beyond the usual standards and protocols, here are a few interesting highlights I found while reading the IU documents.

  • IU requires Revit as the BIM format deliverable
  • “The model managers from all parties will establish modeling standards and guidelines.”
  • “The architect’s model manager should coordinate with the consulting engineers’ model managers to eliminate duplicate or redundant objects.”
  • “The Architectural and Consulting Engineers’ models will be revised throughout construction, based on owner directives and As Built comments. The models will always reflect the revised contract documents.”
  • Definition of “Level One, Level Two and Level Three Collisions” (see BIM Guidelines and Standards)
  • COBIE Design Data required
  • Energy Modeling - “After building completion and occupancy of a minimum of one year, actual building performance shall be evaluated against this model.”

By focusing on data reuse for facility management, Indiana University presents a clear understanding of their objectives in requiring a BIM/IPD process.  At the same time, IU is still learning about the process by placing much of the design and construction BIM standards in the hands of the architects, engineers and contractors.  These documents and others listed below can help the AEC industry continue to improve its efficiency and can also assist those just learning about the implementation of building information modeling and integrated project delivery.

Blog-IU-01 BIM Proficiency Matrix (BPM)

Other recently published BIM standards:

Wisconsin BIM Standards:

US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District BIM Standards:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Whole Lotte Love

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates announced it has completed conceptual design for Lotte Super Tower 123 in Seoul, South Korea.

Read all about the announcement on:

Arch Daily

What makes this project special to me?  For one thing, it is slated to be the world’s second tallest tower to SOM’s Burj Dubai, but it was a lesser known fact that SOM actually designed an earlier version of the Lotte Tower in Revit as a follow up to 1WTC.


In the Lotte World Tower design, we were able to build on the BIM pioneering achieved with WTC. The complex diagrid and curtain wall were designed and optimized through scripting in AutoCAD and Excel, modeled and tested in Digital Project and composited for documentation in Revit Architecture.  It was quite an amazing project with an equally amazing team.

We even had started to coordinate structure and MEP systems in Navisworks for the first time on this project (see below).

base sect axon   ext-closeup







Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Global Warming Done Well

The world wildlife fund created a bit of 'performance sculpture' in Berlin recently. They put 1,000 ice sculptures on the steps of the concert hall in Gendarmenmarkt to bring awareness to global warming. Regardless what you think about global warming (real), it's a great display of art and delivers an awesome message.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One Reason Not To Hack Your iPhone

I know Phil loathes AT&T and has given up rights to his first born for allegiance to T-mobile. Personally, I'm a bit more carrier neutral, but I do like my iPhone. Apparently, for those who have jailbroken their phones, there's the first virus appearing that exploits those hacked phones. According to posts:

....a harmless exploit that simply changes the user's iPhone background to an image of singer Rick Astley...

which is already very close to my current iphone background:

Update (Phil): If you've unlocked your iPhone and haven't reset the default password head over to Cult of Mac for a quick step-by-step. Only necessary if you've installed SSH.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"There's A Lady Who's Sure...."

Can't stop tweaking the "Insanely Great Stairs and Railings with Autodesk® Revit®" AU2009 session. It's the same every year - and at the end of AU I tell myself that next year it'll be different - that next year I'll really finish early for once.

But then I decide to change this one little thing...nothing else...just this one thing. Oh - and this other thing...but nothing else. Well - except for this other thing. Okay that's all no more changes. Actually, I should change this one final detail....And so it goes till I've reworked 30+ pages of documentation for one session with just a month before AU.

Anyway - here's some recently created stairs and renderings in Revit. Look closely and you'll notice that the edges of the treads are actually curved. This can't be done with the OOTB stair tool. But a bit of hacking actually makes it pretty easy.

In the next image - you'll notice there's a fairly complex support element. This is a pretty common feature in historic stairs, and this particular instance was modeled after photographs of an access stair in a lighthouse. Again - all OOTB Revit - just not the stair tool. It's an interesting technique or two that I'll be discussion during the presentation.

Finally - I need to pick a location for the "1st Annual Meeting of "The Order of the Drunken Leprechaun" at AU 2009. Suggestions welcome. Yes, the latest iteration of the Ribbon is a move in the right direction. But it's still a good excuse get together with friends and remember the good times!

Don't forget to wear a t-shirt. And if you happen to be wearing a very particular t-shirt (order information here) then I'll be buying your first round.

And don't worry - exceptions will be made for those in the Factory that own t-shirts but know better to wear them in public. I know who you are so just show up and deny you have one. Except for you-know-who. I'm really hoping he'll show up wearing his t-shirt and have a laugh and a beer with the most passionate of his Revit users!

See you at AU!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Snowing in Charlotte!

No - not that kind of global-warming-run-amok kind of snow (sorry Eddy). This is blacksn0w.

George Hotz (aka 'geohot') has gone and released the most elegant of unlocks / jailbreaks for the iPhone 3G and 3GS to date (doesn't work with 2G iPhone - but that's not a big deal). Couple of important points:
  1. Do this at your own risk.
  2. Doing this will void your Apple warranty.
  3. If you have any doubts and/or questions before proceeding, please re-read #1 and #2.
So if you have an iPhone 3G or 3GS and 1) you've always wanted to be able to operate it with another carrier or 2) install non-Apple-apps, this is about as easy as it's going to get for a long time.

First - make sure that you're on the latest / greatest iPhone software. If not - upgrade via iTunes to version 3.2.1 (7D11).

Second - go to and pick your OS and download.

Third - plug in your iPhone (if iTunes starts just quit iTunes).

Fourth - start blackra1n. Now you have to push a button. There is only one button. It's the button in the middle:

This will "jailbreak" your iPhone, meaning you can now install non-Apple-apps. And here's where it gets interesting. See the black, eye-drop shaped icon in the upper left corner? That's your newly installed blackra1n app.

When you start blackra1n, you'll see the following three options:

Cydia and Rock install applications that allow you to install other applications. Like GoogleVoice Moblie. Which rocks!

Fifth (and finally) - the really magic button is the one called "sn0w". Pushing this one button will "unlock" your iPhone 3G or 3GS and allow it to be used with other carriers.

"AT&T is frightful,
But T-Mobile's soooo delightful,
Thanks to some guy named 'geo'(hot)
Let it sn0w, let it sn0w, let it sn0w."