Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Reprieve #22

Found this early this morning over a cup of coffee. As you might now, I love the weird, random things you can find on the internet. Here's a simple list of some Father's Day ideas from that same, whacky source.

Personally, magnetic bacon tops my list. Happy Friday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Corrections, Context and Comments

Looks like those previous estimates may have been a bit low. Now we're looking at 30,000 - 60,000 barrels a day. Over 60 days. At 60,000 barrels a day? 3.6million barrels. 151.2million gallons. 202million cubic feet. That's a oily, goo filled cube under 300'x300'x300'.

How big is the gulf? 615,000 square miles. Or an area just under 785 miles x 785 miles. Or 4.14million feet x 4.14million feet.

At scales like this, it's kind of hard to put it into context.

Imagine this. Spilling one cubic foot of oily goo (just under 7.5 gallons) in an area that is 13,800' x 13,800' (2.6 miles x 2.6 miles).

Or spilling a gallon of oily goo (the contents of your engine - about 231 cubic inches - about a 6" cube) in an area that is just over 6,900 feet x 6,900 feet. That's a 6" cube over an area of 1.3 x 1.3 miles.

Or this: one dice (3/4" x 3/4" x 3/4") in an area of that is just over 862 feet x 862 feet.

I'm just saying.

Could someone run these numbers and double check?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Revit and the oil spill

So I decided to take Eddy up on his challenge to model the volume of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico by the BP disaster because it was just announced that the actual oil spilled may now be double the original estimates. Reuters says that approximately 2 million barrels may have leaked since the event on April 20.

Oil Spill2 million barrels =
84 million gallons/317 million litres =
415,895 cubic yards/317,975 cubic meters

How big is that? I started to build some masses in Revit to visualize this volume. First, I used an American NFL football field (160’ x 300’ – end zones excluded). The mass would be about 234 feet (71.3 m) tall. I then linked in a model of the Lever House office building (SOM) in New York. If I modeled a mass based on the footprint of the tower, the oil spill volume would be almost 1,400 feet (426 m) tall!

Here’s a link to download a 3D DWF file of this model to explore the scope of this disaster on your own.

The Parametricist Manifesto

Writer and theorist Patrik Schumacher, partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, contributed a fascinating commentary in the latest East Coast issue of The Architect’s Newspaper entitled “What Style is That?” Unfortunately the article has not appeared on the newspaper’s website, but if it does I will update this post. (The original essay appeared in The Architects’ Journal in May 2010.)


The term “parametricism” was first enunciated at the 11th Architecture Biennale in Venice and has since been gaining momentum. In the Arch Paper commentary, Schumacher gives an updated version of the Parametricist Manifesto. Here are a few excerpts…

“Parametricism offers a new approach to architecture on the basis of advanced computational design tools and techniques…” and as a style is “marked by its aims, ambitions, methodological principles, and evaluative criteria, as well as by its characteristic formal repertoire.”


“The concept of style has long been losing ground within architectural discourse. And the reassertion of the concept as a valid and productive category calls for a conceptual reconstruction in terms that are intellectually credible today. What stands in the way of such a reconstruction is the tendency to regard styles merely as a matter of appearance, as well as the related tendency to confuse styles with short-lived fashions.”

Schumacher proposes that “architectural styles are best understood as design research programs conceived in the way that paradigms frame scientific research programs. Thus, a new style in architecture is akin to a new paradigm in science: It redefines the fundamental categories, purposes, methods, and innovative course of a coherent collective endeavor.”


“As a conceptual definition of parametricism one might offer the following formula: Parametricism implies that all architectural elements are parametrically malleable. This implies a fundamental ontological shift. Instead of the classical and modern reliance on ideal, hermetic, or rigid geometrical figures – straight lines, rectangles, cylinders, etc. – the new primitives of parametricism are animate, dynamic, and interactive entities – splines, nurbs, and subdivs – that act as building blocks for dynamic systems like ‘hair,’ ‘cloth,’ ‘blobs,’ and ‘metaballs’ that can be made to resonate with each other via scripts.”

As this movement/style gains even further momentum (see current projects in Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi), will we start to see more requests from clients to design them a “parametricist” building? Food for thought… Do yourself a favor and get a copy of the East Coast June 2, 2010 edition of The Architect’s Newspaper to read the complete article. Original version of this essay and the images above appeared in The Architects’ Journal in May 2010.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stop. Do This. Wait. Now Do This. No This.

Interesting articles in the NYT on the alleged effects of dependence on technology. Another interesting and related article on the difficulty of unplugging.

"Has high-speed Internet made you impatient with slow-speed children?"

If by children you mean software companies that alternate between not listening to their customers at all and wanting to listen so much that it leaves you wondering if they've done their homework...then the answer is yes.

Anyway, my scores are in the image at the top of the page.

In other news, iPhone 4.0 is being released today. And it's a really big deal. The iPhone is not a cell phone. The iPad is not a Tablet PC. They represent new technologies that are displacing incumbents by creating new ecosystems.

Don't bet on hardware. Don't bet on software. Bet on ecosystems that represent the next computing paradigm.

More to follow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Try modeling THAT!

For those of you tracking the oil spill in the Gulf, someone (my wife) forwarded me a handy little tool that will help you gain some perspective on the whole issue. I know everyone talks about millions of gallons of goo but it's all kinda hard to put into perspective when you have that much goo and it's covering so much area. I know Phil did some quick calculations to figure out that OTD (Oil to Date) is a football field 80' deep. But even still. If you're a designer, you can probably conceptualize 80' in height. But that's still a challenge. 80' is like this billboard. But without a dude in sneaks, it's still kinda hard to get and that's before you add volume to the conceptualization.

Volume makes things harder to comprehend mainly because 51% of the industry is still using CAD. So, a football field (l x w) x 80' deep is something that you could make with the Revit massing tool, but even when you zoom out, it looks small.

But what does this and OtD really mean to you? Well, for me, it would mean that if it were a cloud, it would cover enough area from Lawrence, KS to Columbia, MO. Which is somewhere in the neighborhood of a LOT. Check it. You can enter your own city and see what kind of colossal damage it's creating. Now the next question is how much of a carbon offset would you need to eradicate this mess? How many of us over how many days would need to walk to work, not turn on all the lights in the house, video conference in lieu of flying, hug a tree, etc to make up for this?