Not gonna talk about it.....not no more.
It will be what it will be - in its own good time....
Spring, or perhaps a reasonable facsimile thereof, should/could/might - will, arrive.
Maybe not here in Montréal (if you are a Montrealer you are aware that we never really have spring, per se).....we go from too much snow to too much muck, to too much grey/cold/rainy conditions.....but never Spring. Not as I remember it growing up in Toronto. The event of Spring, in other cities or places, is a wondrous time.....softer, gentler air, comfortable warmth......bathed in sunshine. But, just not here.....we go from Winter to early Summer..... sometime around mid-June.
So - not gonna talk about it.....the weather, I mean.
You may ask, 'Well, how cold WAS it?' Cold....Brrrrrr - - shiver cold....it was this cold:
Yeah....I know - these two images don't make a lot of sense....
but, I took these photographs in November of 2010 in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
. . .and when I think of COLD, I recall that particular day, a Saturday,
when on assignment to survey a hotel for a client the GM took
me to the coast, about a 15 minute drive from downtown Iqaluit,
and I was stunned by the harsh, desolation - of what cold really is.
Standing on the stone beach of the Arctic Ocean, the abandoned
row boat was the epitome of c o l d and loneliness.....
This is where Iqaluit is:
They don't have daffodils there,
It's always good to remind ourselves, in context, how
things really are
In this issue we have a bunch...... of good things. Not as in a bunch of tulips, or daffodils.....just a bunch of very interesting pieces.....
Firstly, I have been in contact with the staff at Cadalog Inc.....they are the creators of Podium and Podium Browser. I submitted a series of questions to Justin Slick that I thought would be of interest to all you out there in design, architecture, interiors. Just for some background, I have been an AutoCAD user since 1983.....my first version was 1.4 on a single floppy disk. Over all these years I have experimented with mostly the full range of 3D tools......VRAY, Maxwell, 3D MAX, Kerkythea, and others. Most all are very good - they all provide muscle to the knowledgeable user in terms of generating excellent 3D visualizations. Some have steeper learning curves than others.....some are ridiculously over-priced. Within the last year I have finally settled on the one product that, in my work, is the best.....Podium. Combined with Podium Browser and it's amazing catalogue of furniture, finishes, materials and its fantastic lighting library I have all the tools I need to produce top-rate 3D imaging. Plus, Browser is a one-time $69.00 (US) investment....once bought there are no annual upgrade fees. There are frequent updates to the library contents. And, like VRAY and Maxwell, Podium runs completely inside of SketchUp.
Here are a few image files - the first is the raw SketchUp model followed by the Podium produced results.
These are student works.....the first image is a screen capture of the model
as it is seen in SketchUp, followed by the final visualizations with lighting
added and then rendered through Podium
The above work was done by Vanessa Bertran
Following is work done by Danhui [Danni] You
And this last one is the model created by Julie Brisebois:
Podium also has the ability to add a variety of image filters, from this one (Negate) to black/white, sepia and about 7 more.....
Interview with Justin Slick, Cadalog
DRI : : Can you give us an overview of the background of Podium, it’s principals, the mission that it sees for itself?
Podium was launched in 2008, for SketchUp 6/7.
The mission with was to build a preset-based approach to rendering, and streamline all the technical aspects of the process into a simple, approachable workflow. To make it easier for an architect, designer, or visualizer to generate lifelike photorealistic imagery without spending hours and hours tweaking a dozen obscure parameters.
An interesting bit of trivia: Kerkythea was actually Podium’s underlying render engine in version one. But we eventually switched to Kray (originally an engine developed for Lightwave 3D), which gave us higher-quality global illumination and lighting.
The mission of easy, affordable, high-quality rendering for are still the principals we work toward.
DRI : : Is the company staffed with architects, designers or primarily software engineers?
It’s a relatively balanced mix; hard to pin it down exactly.
On the software side, there are three C++ developers that work on Podium, ProWalker GPU, and some of our related tools/plugins. Plus the Kray developer, who works on the underlying render engine.
Apart from the software engineers, you could probably say there is an architectural leaning. We have three people in various “non-software-development” roles who primarily work as architects.
Then there are about five modelers working on Podium Browser content, with occasional contributions from others (sometimes directly from Podium users). And a few more of us in generalist roles: documentation, web, support, marketing, testing, etc. And one translator for the Japanese pages!
DRI : : Are there any product plans for this year you can share with us?
There will be another ProWalker GPU update relatively soon, adding a few animation tools for transitioning between scenes more elegantly.
But most of the development effort is currently focused on Podium 3, which will be the next “major” iteration. There’s no concrete time-frame on this, and I can’t really go into specifics until we’re further along.
jDRI : : How many schools/colleges is Podium installed in?
We don’t have an exact number, but estimate that it’s probably in the hundreds. Certainly, there are thousands of student licenses out there. Trimble’s educational SketchUp reseller in the US chose to offer Podium as part of a SketchUp bundle, so I think we have a pretty strong base among educators.
DRI : : Are there training courses available for Podium?
Well, aside from the documentation and tutorials available on the website, there are three people I know of offering some form of web-based Podium training.
1. Dan Brown at SketchUpTrainer.com. He has some on-demand courses available here: https://sketchuptrainer.com/sketchup-tutorials/, and occasionally schedules Webinar sessions teaching Podium. These come up sporadically, se we typically just post the info on Facebook, or include a notification in our newsletter when one is coming up.
2. Diane Dieterlich – She’s a certified SketchUp instructor with an interior design background, and offers an on-demand Podium course at Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/user/dianedieterich/
3. Tamy Cody runs a website called SketchUp for Interior Designers, and offers an introductory Podium course: https://www.sketchupforinteriordesigners.com/online-courses/
I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more people out there doing live training in their respective cities and towns.
For example, I came across a Dutch interior designer named Christina Williamsenwho held a Podium seminar recently – but of course, that’s only relevant if you’re in or near the Netherlands. Wish I had a more definitive list for you!
DRI : : Are there plans to develop certification for Podium trainers, teachers, etc.?
Not at this time, no.
DRI : : What does the company consider to be the best feature of Podium?
I think we’re all very proud of the simplicity of the UI and the preset system – it’s an important part of what makes Podium so easy to use compared to other render engines. You can download one of the test models from our website and have a basic understanding of how to produce an appealing render in very little time.
But of course, none of that would matter without the underlying rendering tech. Podium uses a pretty high-end ray-tracer, and the global illumination/photon mapping engine is capable of very beautiful results, with a lot of subtlety and nuance in the way light bounces around the scene.
Aside from that, we’re quite excited about 360° Panoramic rendering, and the accompanying panorama tours feature!
DRI : : How frequently will Browser be updated
There are modelers working constantly, and large batches are uploaded whenever a set of related items is finished. On average I’d say updates happen twice a month, with anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred additions.
The number of components we add per month just depends on the complexity of the items being worked on.
Lately they’ve been working on premade furniture assemblies, which I think is a great direction! So far I think we’ve added bedroom, dining room, living room, office, conference room, classroom, and outdoor patio arrangements. They take bit more time to produce, but are so, so useful from an efficiency standpoint.
DRI : : Will Podium be ‘hitting the road’, so to speak – attendance at trade shows, etc? BTW – every December there is a huge trade show in Toronto – it’s called IIDEX – sortof Neocon North
We go to the AIA conference every year. This year is in New York City, June 21-23, so no doubt it will be a great show!
And Dave, our CEO, attends most of Trimble’s SketchUp events. So we have a presence at pretty much all the official SketchUp 3D Basecamps.
Cadalog is also a SketchUp Pro distributor in several Asian countries, so there is sometimes a Podium presence at reseller events in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and less frequently in SE Asia.
• • • • • • • • •
Only yesterday I received, via email, the most current Podium and Podium Browser
newsletter....among other things, these office furniture models have been added to Browser....
The newsletter is viewable at: http://suplugins.com/whatsnew.php
Obviously I have a deep respect for Podium and their ongoing efforts to
provide the best of tools for the designer, architect, technician. As mentioned before,
I have experimented with, and used, VRAY, MAXWELL, LightUp and others.
Podium is IMHO the leader of the pack
Those of you who follow DRI regularly know by now of my passion for detail,
for unique and unexpected beauty, in all things. In a recent WebCrawl I came across
offerings through Christie's. . . . the venerable auction house. The following description is taken from their web-site:
What is it?
It is the web-site of a group of very talented architects, designers,
'Oh? And where are they? London? Paris? New York? Montréal?'
'Mais non.....they are in Amman, Jordan.''
As is my very good friend, colleague and former student, Hana Elayan.
Hana is, quite simply, amazing.....she graduated as an architect in Jordan - attended University of Edinburgh, Scotland, to complete a Master's degree
in Digital Imaging (this was around 2003). She arrived in Montreal and enrolled
at the International Academy of Design, in the Interior Design programme.
And that, was where we met.....I was lucky to be one of her teachers.
The educational programmes through institutions like the Academy are
extremely intense, high pressure.....classes go on for 15 months
with only a break at Christmas and one other time during the year.
In any event, Hana graduated, and fast forward - she is now back in Amman
and is the Managing Partner and co-founder of
So, in this issue we are featuring a recent project done by her firm
and her associates and partners.....
It is the landscape design for the
Samir Alrifaei Park
From their Master Presentation : :
The document is 12 pages long - too long to include all of it here...
we also have the Arabic version. Both the full length Arabic and
english version will be included in our sister site,
but not for a week or so....when completed there
will be a liveLink here, in this blog, to the pages
that contain the full-blown version.
Following are 4 of the pages depicting the design, the
context, the relationships.
Kawthar was the Lead Designer on this project,
the overall Concept Developer.....congrats Kawthar!
M.A. Landscape Architecture, University of Arizona, 2013
B.Sc. Architectural Engineering, University of Jordan 2008
B.A. Agricultural Engineering, University of Jordan 2014
B.Sc. Architectural Engineering - University of Jordan
M.Sc. Design + Digital Media (with distinction)
Diploma, Interior Design - International Academy of Design
Oak Refuge Cabin
is a resort/retreat located in upstate New York.
Five separate units can be connected as one by opening the sliding doors between them.
Rugged and rough boarding is used as the primary visual theme, which coupled with brass, concrete and blackened steel generates a feeling of industrial elegance.
Given that he windows are huge, and that it is located in the midst of an old growth forest,
the connection to nature is both live, and alive.
I'm pretty sure I could happily spend a week-end there.....or a month of week-ends.
And now, for...yes - you know the punch line...something completely different -
Steven Hu, our colleague and contributor just returned from eight weeks in China...
His ‘hometown’ is Guangzhou….and he sent us these incredible
photographs/images of actual projects, or planned projects…..
there is an obvious common denominator that links all of them…..
clearly, that doesn’t require clarification….
If you are terminally curious, you may ask, what/where are these amazing structures?
Ask away - but ask in the Comments section, okay?
We have featured some of the work of Herzog + de Meuron recently...the amazing
Beirut project in DRI Issue 2•1. Here is another even more astonishing project, this time in Moscow.
Personally, my admiration for this firm is off the charts. They are relentless innovators in the spirit and style of architecture.
This project is stunning, audacious, whimsical, bold – exciting and again, ground-breaking.
Over the last 5 years or so I have observed, along with the rest of the world, the forays into what has been called architectural ingenuity, building design innovation. The twisty-turny soft ice cream shapes of buildings are in most cases, to me, attempts simply to be different – for the sake of being different. Disappointing in most cases. However, the approach taken in this project is so uplifting (literally….) and such a fine problem-solving initiative.
From their web-site:
A Redevelopment Project of an Old Factory Area in the Heart of Moscow
The aim of the Badaevskiy Brewery project is to redevelop the six-hectares old factory area, between the Moscow River and the vector to Minsk, and to transform this famous but largely abandoned and dilapidated site into a vibrant destination point in central Moscow. The factory grounds and river embankment are to be opened to the city; the old industrial structures are to be assessed, with more than 30’000 m² of them restored and brought back to life through new internal organization and uses; and more than 100’000 m² of new residential, office and retail program is to be added in order to rejuvenate the site, support the complex renovation, and provide quality residential, work and recreation areas to this prime location. After an initial feasibility and concept study, Herzog & de Meuron were formally appointed for the design of the Badaevskiy Brewery Project in 2017.
A City Block Lifted up in the Air
The new building on the site could be described as a piece of city lifted up in the air. This "Horizontal Skyscraper" is the result of a research phase where we tested and tried out all kinds of building typologies along the riverfront, but whatever we tried felt wrong. The greatest problem was that any new structure on the ground would have divided the site into privileged and less privileged areas, into front and back sides, and the amount of public green would have been reduced to a minimum. It was obvious that we started to lift up in the air the piece that we had tested on the ground before, although we were hesitant to come up with a building typology which is so remindful of the "Wolkenbügel", one of the most heroic icons of the Russian Avant-garde. But here it didn't look heroic or monumental. The building does not fly; it rather sits on many slender stilts like an elevated lodge in the forest. The stilts connect the building with the ground and the park like trunks of trees.
The single operation of elevating the new building 35 metres up in the air brings three key advantages for the project: first, the new green area, an urban park, emerges in the vacated land under the hovering structures, between the heritage buildings and the river front; second, despite the substantial densification of the site, the historical buildings retain their direct connection to the river and their clear visibility and access to the city; and third, all the flats in the hovering structure are top floors with prime views to the Brewery, Kutuzovskiy Prospekt, Ukraina Hotel, the State Duma, Moscow City, and beyond to greater Moscow. Running along the riverfront plot line, the new lifted building follows the outlines of the heritage structures and the established north-south orientation of the old industrial grid. The resulting undulating form resembles the geometry of the meandering waterfront buildings in this part of historical Moscow
and maximizes the views out to the river.
The elevated building consists of approximately 100’000 m² of residential area. The apartments are highly individualized in terms of layout and facade expression and command sweeping panoramic views with their fully glazed facades. Each apartment has a large balcony, a truly private exterior space in the centre of Moscow.
The largest external spaces are located on the roof, belonging to the eight sky villas, where rooftop gardens complete the top of the hovering building. A single underground complex on three floors inhabits the entire site, connects and serves all the buildings and provides the required parking, delivery and support facilities.
Our friend, colleague, Lydia Pawelak had some of her work featured previously in DRI.....she recently returned from 3 week trek/trip to Nepal and the Himalayas. Before studying interior design at the International Academy of Design in Montreal (she was in fact a classmate of Hana Elayan), Lydia was a highly acclaimed professional photographer......now, this:
Her photoJournal is just amazing.....she decided to publish this book, not as a vehicle to enrich herself,
but as a tribute to the people she met while on her journey. All the profits from this venture are being donated to charities in Nepal! The images above are, of course, the front cover and the back cover of her book. If you want to see more of her work visit her web-site at: http://www.lydiaphotomontreal.com
Her photographic journeys to Cuba,Vietnam and now to Nepal are stunning. She has the amazing ability to capture the true sense of the people she meets in her travels. Bravo Lydia!
My efforts with this blog have been driven by a sincere interest and care for the world of the creative
thinker • • • the artist, the artistry that shapes them. With that being said I want to introduce you to some friends. . . . . one, Monica Parker, is a brilliantly funny lady. We went to high school together about a thousand years ago in Toronto.....Monica was funny then, she is funnier now. She is a comedienne having played roles in many movies, and now spends her time writing books and doing her one-woman performances. 'Getty Waisted' is one of her more recent books. Although we have been Facebook friends for quite some time, we haven't seen each other for 40+ years......and we hadn't talked to each other for about as long - until about a month ago when I volunteered to re-design her web-site......and from that first phone call, it's been as if those 40 years never happened. Please take a look for yourselves - www.IamMonicaParker.com.
More recently we also met some new friends......Kathleen Conway and Denis Pelletier, husband and wife, are in the business of c o m m u n i c a t i o n s. Their business CAMDEN Communications Inc. does exactly that. Denis is the english/french translation half of the business and Kathleen, who has an impressive client list that includes Apple, HP and other big name companies, now specializes in
' teaching managers how to interview prospective employees.'
Also, Kathleen writes her own wonderful blog, Passage des Perles at http://passagedesperles.blogspot.ca/...you will want to read it I promise.
Translation + Consulting Services / 412-6655 boul. St-Laurent / Montréal H2S 3S2
So, this is a wrap for this issue......if you follow the blog at www.DesignReviewInternational.blogspot.ca you will read much of what is in this issue, there....you will also read that I have come up against, what seems to be a non-fixable glitch with the Blogger engine.....so it may be that future issues will only appear here in www.DesignReviewInternational.com
I will keep everyone advised
As a professional interior designer (45+ years) and as a Certified Graphic Designer (25 years) I have devoted my life to the pursuit of design excellence. Winner of numerous design awards I have also spent 25+ years teaching Interior Design.....the greatest quote regarding design is: the greatest faux pas in design is irrelevance