Japan and Singapore

This week I’ve been on the road working on the GRAPHISOFT Salesforce implementation and meeting with our Teams in Japan and Singapore.

This is my third visit to both (or maybe I’ve been to Singapore a couple of times more??) and as always it was great to get out and about.

The photo from the plane is the closest I’ve come to seeing Mt Fuji up close but one day we plan to visit for sure.


I’m in Minneapolis – one of the twin cities – to present at the Graphisoft North America Team Meeting.

Following the release earlier this year of ArchiCAD Subscription it is chance to share results, talk about new initiatives and share ideas on how to improve our processes.

Its my first visit to the American Mid-west and the industrial heritage of the city is clearly visible.

North America Subscription

I’ve been working at GRAPHISOFT for over a year now and it is great to see the launch of ArchiCAD Subscription for the North American markets.

This is one of the major projects I have been working on since taking up my role here in Budapest.

Following on from both the success and learnings from introducing ArchiCAD Subscription in New Zealand we’ve developed a comprehensive Webshop and Subscription Offering.

Unlike other vendors we believe in offering customers choice and to that end the Subscription Licensing is not a replacement for our perpetual licenses but rather another purchase option.

As we round in New Zealand a certain portion of the market will finds the month to month payments far more affordable and we’ve also introduced an annual option which is cheaper then the monthly option.

APPC Chengdu

I’m in Chengdu for the GRAPHISOFT Asia Pacific Partners Conference which I’ve attended for the last few years. This is the first time I’ve spent time in China beyond passing through an airport.

Chengdu is the capital of the Chinese province of Sichuan and its been an interesting visit to date (I passed on eating brain at one of the social events).

As with a lot of cities the are contrasts everywhere you walk. Walking in one direction and I’m in a domestic styled hopping mall where all the shops are in two storey buildings that look more like houses. Walking in the other direction and the quality of life is a lot different.

I’m doing a presentation regarding pricing – which generally isn’t most people’s favourite topic but fingers crossed it goes well.

The Grand Canyon

I’ve spent a lot of time in the air lately, with a trip to Japan and Hong Kong last week, home in time for the weekend in Budapest and then off to Las Vegas for the GRAPHISOFT North America User Conference.

While the week in Japan/Hong-kong was extremely busy, fortunately this week has been more about connecting with customers.

The GRAPHISOFT Team was then very fortunate to be hosted by Chris and Link from BIM6x for (yes another plane flight) a visit to the Grand Canyon. It is an awe inspiring location, even as the photos show the weather turned a little for the worst. The climate was very different to downtown Las Vegas and I wished I’d taken more clothes.

The day finished with a night helicopter flight around downtown vegas which was delayed for an hour due to all the lights being turned out to observe earth hour!


Following the sale off Cadimage a few months ago, I have now relocated to Budapest and have began a new role as Global Director of Business Development.

The role is newly created and while I can’t provide too much detail at the moment on the projects we are embarking on it is great to be hear and join the team at GRAPHISOFT HQ.

Mid-winter Malmö

I’ve just got back from a quick visit to Malmö catching up with Magnus Dulke who I first met at a GRAPHISOFT Conference in 2000 or there about and have enjoyed catching up with at subsequent conferences.

I first visited in 2011 and while some of the sights are the same there are a number of new buildings that have been added to the skyline.

We went to the Skybar at the top of one of the newer buildings Malmö Live which gave us a great view of the inner city.

Taipei 101

I’m currently in Taipei for GRAPHISOFT’s APPC 2015.

When I first arrived I did what I enjoy doing in all new cities – I went for a walk to orientate myself and help with jet lag etc.

After only 5-10mins Taipei 101 came into view. Having held the record for the tallest building from 2004 – 2010 it is no wonder.

Having taken it in from the outside it was great to see on the conference agenda a tour of the building literally from bottom to top.

Once we got to the top – in double decker high speed elevators which took 37 seconds to reach the top – 1,010 metres per minute of 60.6kmh!

As with all tall buildings they are exposed to high winds and need to employ a dampening system to counter these winds and reduce excessive movement. And what a system:

This 660 tonne suspended steel ball mounted on hydraulic dampers is a tuned mass damper. This massive ball helps reduce the movement of the tower by over 40%. Skyscrapers really are incredible feats of engineering.

Considering Taipei 101 held the record for the tallest building, it comes as no surprise this the biggest TMD ever installed.

Tokyo Highlights

I am currently in Tokyo for the GRAPHISOFT Asia Pacific Key Client Conference (AP KCC) and have had a chance to see some of this enormous city.

My welcome was less than ideal with a sizable earthquake shortly after my arrival at the hotel but things have calmed down since.

The Yoyogi National Gymnasium built for the  Swimming and Diving events of the 1964 Olympics was a recommended place to visit and while it was on dusk and I couldn’t see inside, it was quite incredible with its suspension roof design. The Gymnasium is also going to hold the Handball competition for the 2020 Olympic Games.


The Tokyo Sky Tree, which opened more recently in 2012 was quite stunning to see but following my welcome I was a little less inclined to visit the Observation levels at close to 500m, so stuck to the free viewing on level 45 of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.


It was great to see in such an enormous city large parks and greenery which helps gives the city a very welcoming feel.



Student Design Awards 2014

Over the last two days 12 of New Zealand’s top architecture graduates battled it out for the coveted NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Award.

As always the quality of the work was exceptional.

This years winner was Tom Dobinson from Victoria University with his project ‘Wharf Dwellers – An Expose Of Lyttelton


Highly commended were Ji Min An from Unitec with ‘Korea Korea’ and Norman Wei from Auckland University with ‘SUPER-PACIFIC-CITY: The Saga Of Lomipeau’

You can read the Judges citations below the gallery.

Auckland University, School of Architecture and Planning

Raimana Jones

Architecture of Coexistence: Regenerating Royal Oak through Urban Acupuncture
Focusing on his own neighbourhood in Royal Oak, Raimana addresses an Auckland-wide issue: the domination of suburban communities and architecture by vehicle traffic. Light touch interventions reveal a respect for the existing building fabric and a sympathetic understanding of local social conditions.

Natalee Tan

Rotovegas: Playground of Flux
By marrying speed and play with urban infrastructure, Natalee has produced a hyperbolic, hyper-real version of Rotorua, New Zealand’s tourist playground. The scheme – engagingly presented in sulpher-yellow renderings and with a rhyming couplet commentary – mandates drive-through fun for locals and visitors.

Zee Shake Lee

Moving Grounds: Irrupting Three Kings’ Inverted Volcanoes
Zee Shake’s polemical and provocative scheme is a dramatically unorthodox option for the development of one of Auckland’s much-abused volcanic cones. The moody presentation of a series of propositions provides a strong indication of the form of the architectural response to a man-damaged landscape.

Norman Wei – Highly Commended

SUPER-PACIFIC-CITY: The Saga of Lomipeau
Drawing inspiration from the Tongan myth of sea-faring Lomipeau, Norman Wei has proposed a big-boat, hydraulically powered solution to the Pacific problem of impending inundation. The horizons of this inventive, exuberant and well-illustrated scheme stretch well beyond the Islands to the shores of Asia. It’s an ingenious and very optimistic scenario.

UNITEC – Department of Architecture

Flora Kwan

Piranesi: [Th]reading the Repository
Flora’s proposal explores the mysteries of Piranesian space, as illustrated in the Carceri series of drawings, and expresses a contemporary spatial approach that resonates with Piranesi’s ideas. The scheme is a brave attempt to make design sense, through physical and digital models, of Piranesi’s claustrophobic, labyrinthine vision.

Ji Min An – Highly Commended

Jo Min’s entry is a well-judged means of using architecture to explore an intractable political problem. The proposal for a factory sited in the middle of the Korean DMZ in which workers from both North and South would produce Kimchi – the non-partisan national dish – is clearly presented, tightly edited and very focused. It also manages to be both realistic and optimistic in its appreciation of an issue architecture could only ever alleviate, not solve.

Mayank Thammalla

Swim Or Sink
Mayank’s innovative and research-driven proposal responds to the situation of the Maldive Islands which, thanks to global warming, face a submarine future. Semi-submersible oil rigs are re-purposed as platforms for displaced communities; the scheme is logical, knowledgeable, and clearly explained and presented.

Shane Tregidga

The Steaks Are High
Shane foregrounds the issues attending modern bovine grazing in his proposal for a vertical urban tower for the production of beef. A cow ‘cradle to grave’ system – it could also work for goats and pigs, where culturally appropriate – confronts city dwellers with the realities of the provision of their meat. The scheme is supported by in-depth research and was rendered possible by an enterprising, problem-solving attitude.

VICTORIA – Department of Architecture – Faculty of Architecture and Design

Benjamin Allnatt

Plan B Hive: An Outpost In The Hinterland
After an earthquake in Wellington the Beehive’s occupants are relocated to a groundscraper fortress in the Kapiti Coast foothills. Clever siting, a bold and singular formal treatment, and a strong polemic distinguish Benjamin’s scheme. This is a real proposition, presented with wit and verve.

Hamish Beattie

Topology Of A Phantom City
This is a brilliantly illustrated presentation of an ambitious proposal to address the needs of inhabitants of slums or ‘informal settlements’. Hamish’s scheme envisages the combination of basic digital technology – the ubiquitous Minecraft game – with a sophisticated, vertically integrated system that recycles waste into energy and the construction materials needed to build sustainable communities.

Tom Dobinson – Winnder

Wharf Dwellers – An Expose of Lyttelton
Tom’s proposal to open up public access to Lyttelton’s privatized wharf, and at the same time explore the town’s ‘underbelly’ and the persona of one of its distinguished inhabitants, the artist Bill Hammond, is inventive, curious and assured. The scheme is the very impressive product of a highly iterative process. Clearly and legibly presented, and well put together, it reveals its author’s talent for analysis, skill in assembly, and deep interest in the social and architectural condition of his hometown.

Carinya Feaunati

E Toe Sasa’a le Fafao ; Return to Paradise
Carinya’s scheme for the regeneration of a tsunami-damaged Samoan fishing village expresses her impressive immersion in the project and her commitment to mastering craft skills. Scientific data and fieldwork interviews have informed good architectural judgement, exhibited in the sensitive amalgam of traditional principles and construction methods and modern architecture.