Is Designing Software Like Designing a Building?

I’ve recently read Scott Berkun‘s excellent book ‘A Year Without Pants‘, where he reports from his experiment of working for Automattic (the wonderful guys behind WordPress). He was tasked with the introduction of team structures into the perceived chaos of an entrepreneurial, DIY-minded and bazaar-like organisational culture. The book is remarkable on various accounts: It…

Westminster as a Workplace

As part of ‘Workplace Week‘ I had the rare opportunity to visit Westminster Palace and see it through the eyes of a Facilities Manager, which was highly fascinating and intriguing. Andrew, Head of Facilities for the Parliamentary Estate guided us through Portcullis House, the building on the Embankment, where all MP’s have their offices, and…

What makes a school a school, a church a church and a shop a shop? Thoughts on building typology.

Inspired by the start of term at UCL, a new great cohort of students to teach and interact with, and the new module that I teach (‘Buildings, Organisations, Networks’ in the MSc ‘Advanced Architectural Studies’ – now called ‘Spatial Design: Architecture and Cities’), I have recently thought a lot about building typologies. So in essence,…

Inside the Gherkin – On top of the World?

Last week I had the unexpected chance to get myself inside one of London’s most iconic buildings: 30 St Mary Axe, Headquarter of Swiss Re, also known as the ‘Gherkin’. Built by Norman Foster at the turn of the century using parametric design and thus a novel technological approach, this building has seen both praise…

London Open House: The Bank of England

Like hundreds of other Londoners, I was curious to see the insides of The Bank of England at this year’s┬áLondon Open House. And like hundreds of others, I thought it would be a good idea to come early to avoid the historic queues. Well, arriving a mere 7 minutes after official opening on Saturday wasn’t…

Thoughts on data sharing

Or: Why Architectural Research is Still So Difficult. One of the beautiful aspects of being involved in inter-disciplinary research is that you are a member of different and sometimes quite distinct research communities, each with their own practices, policies, cultures and behaviours. It means being exposed to different ways of doing things, and this can…