Tag Archives: bbc

Architectural Technologist – History of the WC

Yes you have read the title right, The History of the WC, its a subject dear to us all, because compared to days

Thomas Crapper Toilet at the Victor Horta Muse...

yonder, we live in splendid confort. If you get chance, go onto the BBC’s iPlayer service and watch a television program called “The Unspoken History” on BBC 4, there is not much time left to watch it, I think it was aired on the 16th July, and it might have only 4 days left on the system before its removed. But as a technical piece of the history of the WC, its the best I have seen, with lots of info and dare I say movie of older WC’S that I have not seen before, including many original Thomas Crapper loo’s oh he was not the inventor as myth might have it, he just took a great idea and make more of it than any one else by great marketing. This site has a lot on him

But back to the film, it shows the history and how toilet systems evolved, through the Romans, declined because they left, and it’s eventual re emergence as todays unit, with a little humor on the way.

For the technologist its good CPD, we detail so many loos, WC’s and the like, that we should look at this sort of film. Try making a list up of associated subjects,

  • pipe sizing
  • Crimp and Bruge
  • Pipe shapes,tank storage, mains pressure systems
  • Earth clossets
  • water cappasity
  • Stack design
  • Venting
these are just a few I could think of, you might add more, also as the film depicts, and I actualy remeber, try looking into back houses, and the way outside loos were used. The first house I purchased and renovated actualy had no inside WC or bathroom. Do a search on this site for more info on Thmas Crapper, or pipe design, the shape of which for sewers is very interesting.


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Architectural Technologist – Vertical Garden

English: livingwallart.com
English: livingwallart.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On our way home through Paris recently, we passed by Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens, it’s a fantistic sight, especialy at the begigning of summer, all the plants are at their best, but more importantly it shows just how well this idea can transform a bland wall, into a living organism. Try doing a google search to find just loads more and some excellent pictures.

Inhabit have a great article on Patric Blanc’s building, with a load of excellent links. The BBC garden program this week from the NEC Birmingham had an excellent wall vertical garden, that local people were populating with plants. Made from a wall of reinforced plasic with pockets for plands it stood about 6′ high and I must admit it looked vey good, far better than a bland timber fence.

Amongs the many benefits, air quality,visual,insect home, thermal,water shed, but keeping the plants live in drought, and weights, plant replacement, also come to mind. But adding this to your general CPD is I think important, but not high priority, still I shall add 1/2 hour.

Generally we as Technologists tend not to get involved with gardening, but this brings on a whole new concept, so perhaps the green among you might want to add a little line to your CV showing your prowess in Vertical garden design. I have added quite a few links below to sites showing a similar outlook or having Vertical garden design info.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Thursday @ 12:30 pm, a change from my Friday haunt, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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Architectural Technologist – No CPD today, its a Sunday

BBC iPlayer
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday it was Saint Patrick’s Day 17th March, I had a couple of pints in my glass and thought about my mates in Ireland, doing exactly the same. I looked up St Patrick in Gogle, apart from the usual Wiki there was a lot of history and a lot about the many St Patrick day events all over the globe, Ireland has by default become the nation most spread over the globe, there is not a country, well I don’t think there is, without some Irish link.

Google + is becoming increasingly important to my social networking, more so than I think Twitter, although I still twitter, but not as much, because I prefer the full richness of Google+. I tried the hang out the other day with a friend, and it’s fine, but whats more interesting is the way Google Docs is starting to become integrated, it seems like Wave, remember that, although it was stopped rather to quickly I thought at the time, Google might have seen just how good it was and started to integrate it into its portfolio.

If you get the chance, watch the BBC series,  “Orbit”, it’s a fascinating series that looks at the way the orbit, the tilt, and the path of our planet affects not only the weather, but us and more really the way we detail. I watched the first two on BBC’s iPlayer, , the third is due tonight, but I shall catch up on iPlayer later.  Its a series that explain very well the influence of the tilt of the planet and funily the way the tilt changes, plus the orbit, which also changes.

So thats it, it’s raining here and unless it warms up a little, I shall not be gardening, so looks like I might be reading or, dare I say it going for a pint at my local the Drum. I’ve spoken to my mom, as it’s mothers day, so all is well in the world, except the weather, but I’m English and what else is there for me to complain about.

If your at ecobuild this coming week, drop by about 1 pm on Tuesday to the Vectorworks stand run by CU, I shall be speaking on their small presentation area on my company VantagePoint Cartographic’s, and our work plotting large Arboretums and our Search programs within Vectorworks. A few slides, but a lot of live demo and I hope questions.


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Architectural Technologist – Brain Picking

brain pickings
Image by Scays via Flickr

Every Sunday, I eagerly look for an Email from Brain Pickings, it’s the most unusual letter/email, that is full of interesting stuff and I mean stuff, because the content is so unusual. But I value it as CPD just because it makes me think outside the box, It makes me free my mind away from my day-to-day activities, and really think about other topics. Take for instance the BBC volatile history session, it’s so good, and I missed it on BBC 4, so reading about it here was just excellent.

Its this thinking out side the box, that is so important, I not only do this with Brain Pickings, but I do it with a certain select group of people I know I can talk to, Jon Pickup, is a mate of mine in NewZeeland, who runs Archoncad and trains in the use of Vectorworks,  who I regularly talk to, and our conversations tend to be Vectorworks oriented, but every now and then we stray into this, no mans land of topics that come up.

And that is the point of todays CPD, it’s the unusual, it’s the box outside of your normal sphere, it’s looking at new subjects, expanding your thought process, its important, just because your brain needs that stimulation. I do it with people like Jon, I do it with books I would not normally read, I certainly do it with Brain Pickings, and I do it with travel, by going to places I might not normally go to, but I don’t often add it to mt list of CPD activity, it’s the result of that conversation or read list, or visit that generates the CPD activity.

This is where my little mole skin book comes into play, it’s that sort of thought process, I tend to jot down, sketch, or just let my pencil wonder, linking thoughts, and things that pass me by together,


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Architectural Technologist – News and Zite

Image representing Robert Scoble as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

You might think that todays headline is a little small, light, even sparse, but believe me it’s not, I use many different programs to gather news that I think will be of interest, and will add to my CPD, Flipboard, Google news and their excellent reader, the BBC, and many more, but yesterday, I was reading Scoble and I saw his comments on a new program that seems to be a clone of Flipboard for the iPad, called Zite, it’s certainly  similar in that it gathers news, but its gone way ahead, I spent all last night catching up on the news and reading stories that Flip just could not find, its excellent. OK Flip has issued a new updated program, but I still think Zite is ahead, it seems to learn just what I like to read. But there is nothing like competition to get development going.


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Architectural Technologist – Weather and the Technologist

Image by Scays via Flickr

As a Technologist, I have always had to make some account for weather, we design for rain, rising water, wind and sun, but the moving goal posts of the planet earth eco system means we have to take more interest in the way the planet weather is evolving, temperatures are bringing to rise, what we now see as record breaking days will be broken many times over the next 20 years or so, winds will become more violent, already in the UK we are seeing small local tornado‘s, Birmingham were I live has been hit several times in the past year, so what am I doing about it, well, I am taking more interest in some of the BBC wild weather programs, not because of the sensationalism, but because within the programs are the basics of the way our weather works, and at its heart is the global story, what happens in the USA affects us in the UK, the gulf stream in moving about, the pacific gulf stream is also moving, affecting more of our climate that perhaps we all realise, the arctic both North and south are slowly, if not at a pace, melting, we are going to see ground water levels rising, even coastal levels are set to rise, in one Wild Weather program, they are predicting that the Thames might just have two defence structures in the near future, due to rising rea levels.

So I have put a new subject onto my CPD list, it simply says weather, I have put two entries up so far, one for Tornado valley, in the USA and one for the UK weather in general, I think more will come as I research just what the effects will be on our buildings and what we as Technologists need to do the detail against the weather. I am also pleased to announce that as part of the Midlands CIAT CPD events we have a lecture planned and booked for Feb 2011, on this subject from a leading climatologist in Coventry University.

Does this also mean energy production might favour PV and other alternatives, absolutely, if we are in for more hot and windy weather, then surely we can expect the supply of energy to almost every user, domestic, and commercial to change, so on the bright side, we may find our detailing looking at these alternative in more detail.

Things I have put onto my list of details to amend, pitched roof design, strapping of pitched and flat roofs, edge details, chimney design, ,,,,,,, my list grows as I think about it.

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Architectural Technologist – What will Electricity and Gas smart meters will do for you

About two weeks ago I reported on an article I saw in my local paper, re the installation of smart meters in every home, well since then I have been researching and doing a little digging. First and foremost the BBC new site picked up on the news and has posted under the title of

What smart meters will do for you

But what excited me most was the vast efforts Google is putting into this problems, and I mean putting in. The home for the Google efforts is Google.org, and they have a new saying, they are calling the whole thing, not just the smart meter, smart grid. Have a look at this video which has the whole set up rolled out.

Google is partnering with GE, to role this out, its predominantly USA based, but what they do, we will be doing. Especially as Google has a number of incentives such as the Google PowerMeter

What ever system they use, it must be smart enough to allow us to control the system not the power companies, otherwise we will find the same old confusing technology being used, Plus we as technologist must start to design our houses, with this technology, and think about puting small “Power rooms” into each building, and make the Photovoltaic and solar systems more of a standard spec rather than a specialist whim.