Wednesday 31 July 2013

Wooden Skyscrapers

Here is a great TED talk by Michael Green on "Why we should build Wooden Skyscrapers".

Here at CEI we are also exploring the possibilities of utilizing this renewable resource for high rise construction.

"The NAIOP competition for “An Office Building of the Future” provides CEI Architecture and our partners with an opportunity to explore the issues of constructing a tall office building from wood. Our submission attempts to address the issues of creating effective and attractive working environments that are appealing to a broad cross section of the working public. We believe that a tall 40-storey office building constructed from wood provides opportunities to be uniquely iconic, instantly recognizable and attractive for potential tenants. Our submission defines 40 storeys of flexible, warm and appealing space.
In our desire to define an innovative solution to the issues of an office building of the future, we also believe that any study that provides innovation in a specific building type must also include sustainable strategies that provide solutions to limit greenhouse gas emissions. As the effects of global warming become more and more evident, other methods of construction need to be explored by architects and engineers that provide real alternatives to the traditional methods of construction. One such option is to maximize the use of wood throughout the built environment."
Check out our link.
40 Storey Wood Office Tower

Wednesday 24 July 2013

London Photos

Here are a few of the photos of our London trip.
We're heading home tomorrow.

Friday 19 July 2013

Lviv Architecture

Just down from the mansion we are staying at is the Ivan Franco Lviv National University.
One of the finest universities in Ukrainian. 

The University originated during the Galician empire.

As you can see the streets are very busy in Lviv. The city is pivotal in trade as it is situated close to many eastern European countries.
The city is a mix of architectural periods according to the rulers of the time. You can quite often see a variety of styles on the one street of different periods.

I found this sigh occasionally throughout the city, if you are disabled you ring the bell. Frankly I don't see how the disabled could possibly get around any eastern European country, with the cobblestones, cars parking on the sidewalk and risking your life everytime you want to cross the road it must be impossible to get around.

Here they are excavating to the original street level which is typically 6 to 8 feet below the current street level.

Prior to numbering buildings along the street You would recognized the building by either the owners name or the building use. Here you can see the the stone engraving representing the original use of the building.
The Opera House is fully functional and magnificently restored inside.


Thursday 18 July 2013

Sign interpretation

Here are a couple funny signs I saw.

These were taken at the entrance of a washroom at a gas station....
please note: gas stations often have the best washrooms.... more on this latter. 
European bathrooms deserve their own blog let alone a single post.

This was the entrance to the Female washroom, I believe the sign means...
A) no vomiting in the toilet
B) no explosives in the toilet...!! this must be a problem in this region?
C) you may use the toilet when cold??
Actually your lucky if you have a toilet seat.

This was the entrance to the Male washroom, I believe the sign means...
A) no stealing the toilet paper.
I have found toilet paper to be a rare commodity in eastern europe.
B) no stealing the toilet.... this too must be a problem in this region.
C) you may stand up to pee.... thank you for making this clear...
And finally Im sure the picture in the male symbol means something, I just dont know what..?

The entrance to the same gas station.
Not a clue what any of these mean...especially feeding the cell phone which is wearing a diaper coins!!?

This one I took while in Lviv.
It explains a lot.

Amazing architecture in Lviv, I will be taking a tour tomorrow and I will be taking lots of photos...

Tuesday 16 July 2013


Ukrainian has many churches, typically Orthodox and Catholic, not only throughout the country but there quite often will be more than one in each village.
These churches are very ornate and are a focus point of the community.

This church is one of the older styles with a log or timber base with a metal roof or metal cladding above. The metal cladding is very ornate.
On many more affluent churches the dome is of a different metal to imitate gold and in the cities some of the church domes are actually covered in gold leaf.
The structure of this church shown above was built entirely without metal fasteners in a region famous for its woodwork.

Note the very ornate chandelier and interior.

Many churches were destroyed during the Soviet rules and those that survived were used as administration buildings and subsequently preserved. Often in those cases the occupants saved the church relics and sacred items.


Friday 12 July 2013

Bunkers Castles and Parking

Still in Kiev the subway is one of the deepest in the world. The reason for this is that during the cold war period it would double as a nuclear fall out shelter. The escalators are soooo long they're amazing!! At the bottom there are these huge doors that would close during an "emergency" and there are stores of provisions...quite amazing really...

Apparently parking in Kiev is a rare commodity.. You park wherever you can. At first I thought that there was an accident but then realized that this is where you park. On the sidewalk, at intersection, on crossings, anywhere where there is a free spot.

We caught the overnight train to Chernivtsi and had a tour of the historical university. See images below. Apparently one of the best universities in Ukraine. Chernivtsi is a sister city with Saskatoon!

We hopped on our bus again and headed towards Kamianets Podilsky but stopped along the way to take some pictures of the beautiful fields of sun flowers. We also had to stop to have a break from the crappy road!!! Omg! Potholes everywhere!!

Visited the historical castle at Kamianets Podilsky.
Rebuilt and added to many times and only been taken twice during its long history.

Typical masonry construction. Not sure about their building codes though.....

Off to the Carpathian mountains today. Into more rural areas which are less economically developed.


Wednesday 10 July 2013

Kiev Architecture

Here are a couple examples of Ukrainian architecture.


Majority of new construction is masonry brick or block then stucco or plaster finish.
Early masonry is basically held together by mass! Exterior walls are typically over 2' (60cm) or more thick and quite often include large rocks.


Historical Orthodox Church in Kiev, the "Domes" are finished in gold leaf.
On these grounds the remains of monks are interned in the tunnels below the church.... I got as far as the base of the steps into the tombs and had to turn around... too claustrophobic for me!

Kiev Opera House.

Saturday 6 July 2013


Just a FYI... I'm taking a break for July, I'm traveling to Ukraine and England with my wife's Dance Ensemble. 

While I'm overseas I hope to take some photos of interesting European Architecture and post them to my Blog. 
That is... if the internet gods provide me with access... 

I'll be back posting regular BIM content in August.

See you then...


Украин чере в цуме!!

Friday 5 July 2013

Are you using Ambient Shadows on your 3D views?

For 3D views we have a number of Visual Styles available to us to view the Model.

However we also have a couple other options which I have found makes viewing and understanding the model easier.

We are all familiar with the Hidden Line setting:

Or Hidden Line with Shadows turned on:

These two settings are great, especially if you don’t want the colour shaded view and just need black and white.
However they can appear to be a little too “Harsh”….
Here is an alternative…….
Under the Graphic Display Options dialog box turn on Show Ambient Shadows.

This will give you the following effect….which is a little softer on the eyes and gives you more perception of depth.


Thursday 4 July 2013

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July to all my friends in the United States of America.

Otherwise known as Independence Day the 4th of July is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from England in 1776.

Happy Birthday USA...

I'd send a birthday card but I don't know your postal address!


Tuesday 2 July 2013

BIM, Modularization and Prefabrication

During a recent project team meeting the topic of prefabrication came up... which is a good thing.. more about that on another blog...

During this discussion there was some debate as to the definition of the term "Prefabrication" and "Modularization"

MacGraw Hill have an excellent definition of these terms and more in their  Prefabrication and Modularization Smart Market Report.

Modularization/Modular Construction: 
The manufacture and remote assembly of major interior or exterior sections of a building (e.g., wall, floor, roof) of one or multiple material types which may include portions of a system (e.g., electrical, plumbing). Examples include curtain wall, structural insulated panels and entire building modules.

Manufacturing processes generally taking place at a specialized facility, in which various materials are joined to form a component part of a final installation. Examples include trusses, joists, structural steel and precast concrete. Model-driven prefabrication describes the use of the BIM model to enable prefabrication and assembly of building components both off and on the construction site. 

Off-Site Fabrication:
The fabrication or assembly of components (no manufacturing processes) off-site or on the construction site but at a location other than the point of installation. The process is usually completed by specialty contractors (e.g., finish carpentry).

Permanent Modular Construction (PMC): 
A design and construction process performed in a manufacturing facility, which produces building components or modules that are constructed to be transported to a permanent building site.

Monday 1 July 2013

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day for those of you living in Canada or are Ex Patriots living overseas.

I have a multicultural family and we love to celebrate Canada Day which to me really celebrates multiculturalism in Canada.

Members of my family will be performing Ukrainian Dance as well as playing in the local Kalamalka Highland Pipe Band at the local Canada Day celebrations.

I'll proudly be sporting my maple leafs.....

If you live in Canada enjoy the day off and be thankful that we live in such a beautiful country.....