Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


BIM Worshops for 2014 start this April with the Pacific Coast BIM & Revit Workshop

March 23, 2014

Principal/Architect at Steven C. Shell, Architect

  5 other Nationally Recognized speakers along with several Regional and Local speakers.

Thursday April 24th and Friday the 25th. Registration is NOW OPEN. Early Bird Registration Rate at $350 to the first 100 registrations. Regular Rate is $500 and registration ends April 17th

Come see Lynn Allen, Autodesk superstar, along with nationally recognized BIM and Revit experts Andy Jizba, Brian Mackey, Doug Bowers, Steve Stafford, Steven Shell, Paul Aubin.



Six Qualities That Make Architects Ideally Suited to Lead Collaborative Integrated Teams

February 1, 2014

Re-posted by Steven C. Shell, Architect

In order to effectively lead collaborative teams, architects would do well to downplay possessing specialized knowledge. Knowledge acquired in school and practice should be thought of as the price of admission, not their “Advance to GO” card, as so many on the team in this connected age have access to and share this same knowledge. Along with specialized knowledge, as a professional duty of practice, architects will also need to reevaluate the role of professional judgment, design intent, responsible control, direct supervision, and serving as the hander-down of rulings in the shape-shifting required from working simultaneously on collaborative teams.

Recognizing that nothing incites a non-architect’s derision, ridicule and ire swifter than to start a sentence “The architect is uniquely qualified to.” 
Here are six qualities that make architects ideally suited to lead collaborative, integrated teams:

1. Architects can lead collaborative teams by tapping into their ability to maintain two or more opposing thoughts until an amenable solution arises.
Roger Martin’s The Opposable Mind, on the problem-solving power of integrative thinking, describes the human brain’s ability “to hold two conflicting ideas in constructive tension.” Like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s test of a first-rate intelligence as “the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function,” architects need to become even more comfortable working with and maintaining two or more opposing thoughts earlier in their careers. Architects famously can simultaneously maintain two lines of thought – e.g. their own and their client’s; their client’s and that of the public-at-large; the paying client and the non-paying client; the 99% and the 1%; the circumstantial and the ideal; science and art; reason and intuition; evidence and the ineffable; HSW and aesthetics; practical and dreamer. In an interview with the author, Phil Bernstein described the difference between young designers and older designers as the ability to manage an increasingly larger set of variables: “When I was working for Cesar Pelli, that was one of the amazing things about him – he could keep so many things in his head and he could balance them and weigh one against the other, and he could edit out what he called the systematic generation of useless alternatives. He would prevent us from going down that avenue.”

2. Architects are problem identifiers. Not only problem solvers, architects recognize that identifying the right problem to solve is often 80% of the solution.
Frequently, the problem assigned is not the one that truly requires addressing. Architects work to make sure that everyone is focused on the most pressing, pertinent problem.

3. Architects see the big picture.
Solution-oriented engineers sometimes have a difficult time seeing the forest from the trees. Malcolm Gladwell in Blink called this ability to see information in its wider context coup d’oeil, court sense or “giss,” the power of the glance, the ability to immediately make sense of situations. Architects, by the end of their formal training, have begun to develop this ability, by thinking laterally and simultaneously – not linearly. Neither exclusively right- nor left- – architects are whole-brain thinkers. In the midst of prolonged analysis, architects can help to keep things whole.

4. Architects draw by hand, mouse and wand.
Creatively ambidextrous, flexible and agile, architects are not stuck on any one means of communication or delivery. Architects make the best use of available technology to get the point across. Because architects envision what is not there, they help bring nascent ideas to life. Today, we cannot talk of leadership without the technology. We lead from the technology and the tools we use. In this way, architects lead collaboration from the middle by leading from the model.

5. Architects can lead collaborative teams by thinking like other team members, anticipating their concerns and questions before they arise.
Architects see through other’s eyes, empathize and understand what is important to others. They have both deep skills and wide wingspan breadth. Architects are the only entity who serve not only the paying but non-paying client (society-at-large.) In trying to predict the consequences for any course of action, the architect needs to anticipate the responses of each of the integrated team members. To do this, an architect must know enough about each discipline to negotiate and synthesize competing demands.

6. Architects don’t lead collaborative teams because of their specialized skills, technology know-how, or privileged knowledge, but rather because of their comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty.
Architects are best suited to lead collaborative teams by being able to extrapolate from incomplete information, and won’t let the lack of complete information stop them from moving forward.

Randy Deutsch’s “How We Can Make Collaboration Work:  How architects can decentralize rather than be marginalized”
Jan-Feb 2014  Design Intelligence journal


Rendering vs Presentation

November 15, 2013

Thank you Randall!

ArchVision Blog

For years we considered RPC a “rendering” tool, designed to help create photorealistic imagery quickly and easily.  Photorealism was at the core of our DNA.  How deep? The “P” in RPC stands for “Photorealistic” (RPC = Rich Photorealistic Content)! Our ongoing observations of how imagery is created has led us to a broader definition of where and how our products are (or could be) used.  Many more people are creating “Presentations” as opposed to “Renderings”.  What’s the difference?  I think it has less to do with the technical definition than it does the workflow.  In the early days of design visualization someone created a 3D model and then created “renderings” in specialized software like 3dsMax where materials and lighting were painstakingly added to produce an image.  The workflow looked something like 2D Cad > 3D Model > Materials > Lighting > Rendering  where multiple specialists generally assumed roles along that…

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Can you say “Disruptive Innovation”?

July 19, 2013

After the great SARUG meeting and discussion last night, I thought that I would share it with my UofA Architecture discussion group over at LinkedIn.
Here is what I posted. (Your morning coffee read for the day)

Our world is changing. Are you up to it?

I normally do not post or write about our profession, nor do I preach or give my opinions on a forum.  I seldom get up on a soapbox unless specifically asked about something. Those here who know me will agree; however, these past 2 weeks have really been amazing and I just wanted to share.  I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss our industry with many professionals throughout many industries who I really look up to and respect and are doing amazing things around the world .   Along with Architects, Designers and Contractors, I have met software designers who will soon be giving us more tools to play with, I mean “work” with. (Okay, maybe play with too.)

I have just returned from the Revit Technology Conference (RTC – NA) in Vancouver where I was able to hear from some of the most amazing people in our industry as well as discuss the future of Architecture and building with the people who are starting to design and/or implement our new work flows and processes which included software designers, Architects, Contractors, Fabricators and Manufacturers and whole lot of very smart people.

I also found out last week that one of my classes (the “new class”) which introduces new and unique ideas about how to integrate old and new work flows rather than replacing old ones, had been accepted by Autodesk for AU 2013 in Las Vegas.  I have never ‘officially’ presented these ideas and this class has nothing to do with what I normally present.   I found it interesting that my older traditional graphics and Architectural based classs were not accepted. I was also surprised that most of my fellow presenters had not been accepted at all. (Even last year’s number one rated speaker was not invited back this year to present.)

As luck would have it, I as in Vancouver when I found this out and had the chance to discuss this with some of the Autodesk representatives who were there attending the RTC.  I also had a chance to discuss Autodesk’s market positioning and direction regarding the future of our industry in general and how technology and software will impact and/or shape our world as Architects and Designers.

All I can say is…….damn!  Things are really changing, and really fast. Anybody who knows me knows that I am always looking over my shoulder to see what is coming down the from the world of “impossible and impractical”, into my world of “possible”.   I have had my own opinions for the past several years now which I have shared with some of you; however, hearing those opinions being repeated back to me by the people who are actually designing and using them now, really hit me!

If you understand the term, “Disruptive Innovation”, then you understand what I am referring to. As it was repeatedly told to me, you can either embrace it, or keep doing what you are doing. (You may want to think about Kodak while deciding.) The key is to not be one of the “un’s”…..unaware, unable or unwilling.

Just a thought this morning as I enjoy my coffee and photos from Vancouver.


SARUG Meeting Last Night

July 19, 2013

Thank you Carl and GLHN (and me for the cookies….lol) for hosting a great meeting last night.
Andrew came down from Phoenix and gave a very thought provoking presentation, which happened to be in line with Jake’s and my recap of the RTC in Vancouver last week.
Thank you Andy and GOOD LUCK in China! Congratz.

Steven Shell


Cute Video/Song

June 25, 2013

Cute Video/Song

And you thought Architects where dry……


Good Morning Read with Coffee……

June 6, 2013

Good Morning Read with Coffee……

Just an enjoyable read about BIM.

Steven Shell