Here's a plotted timeline of projects which have influenced how we work.
Early Verified photo-montage 1988
Simon started out writing code to create 3D models on Unix workstations, processing perspective views and plotting these with ink pen plotters which would then be overlaid onto large photographs used to consult with planners.
'As we were plotting these wire-frame perspectives and to ensure accuracy, we would commission a team to survey the camera locations and other features within the photograph, this ensured that we got it right first time' as each view would take several hours to complete plus the time to get the ink pens working!'
These early methodologies are now considered as best practice and used for all Verified Views submitted as part of the planning process. This method is recognised by the Landscape Institute for visual impact assessments.
Very Early Digital building Projects 1989
These are photographs, taken of Simon's monitor (before we had affordable colour printers). His job was not to create computer generated images but create a digital building model from which all the required 2D drawings and information schedules, could be extracted (furniture, areas, doors and windows etc.) Doing this faster and more efficiently than the architectural teams.
In 1994 the Latham report was publish on the construction industry with one of the recommendations being that the industry should embrace technology to improve coordination and efficiency.
Project modelling / BIM 1994 -1996
Construction sequence created in 1996 by linking the 3D objects with data exported from the open plan project planning software. Data was integrated using Unix scripts so that we could type in the date and see what should be constructed, with transparent red being used for components under construction. British Airport Authorities (BAA) commissioned the project being influenced by the Latham report published in 1994 recommending that the construction industry could be more efficient and should make better use of technology. Simon's job working in parallel with the project team, was to model all the design and construction information, doing this fast enough to communicate the design to the client BAA (enabling them to influence the design) and then modelling all the contractors information to identify clashes with the project managers (Bovis) prior to them reaching the construction site when it's more costly to resolve.
Urban Modelling - 1996 -
Being influenced by Richard Rogers book 'Cities for a small planet' within which it quotes "computer modelling in our best tool for communicating the complex issue of urban planning" and after the terrorist bomb in Manchester, I approached the newly established task force and got a commission to integrate all the design information to create a single urban 3D model using this to both coordinate the urban design information and to help engage with the various stakeholders. Presenting this to the task force and with an interactive touchscreen installation in the visitor centre.
Key Values (Arup) 2002 -2016
Simon took his City Modelling ideas to Arup in 2002 and continued with his work establishing many Digital Urban models across the UK and internationally. Building an understanding of how the Digital urban model could be integrated with technical engineered data helping people make more informed and challenging decisions - with applications also being adopted by towns.
After 14 years, Simon left Arup to explore and develop some new ideas whilst also ensuring that his work in establishing Digital Urban models remained accessible and usable by all.
Now with a global team and a scalable software platform we have laid the foundations for this work to evolve.