Episode 004 - Alex Pollock

Alex Pollock

Alex Pollock the Director of Design Technology at FXFOWLE drops in to talk about Simulex, MassMotion Flow, the octothrope, Stevens Institute of Technology, AIANY Technology Committee, and Jem and the Holograms.

Or Listen on iTunes!

Show Notes

  1. FXFOWLE must be written in all caps. For bonus points, make the “X” bold.

  2. The Lotte Super Tower (an unbuilt SOM design) changes from a 70 meter square base to a 40 meter diameter circle. The project was eventually completed by KPF.

  3. Simulex is a legacy agent simulation software. It’s not a laxative, and it’s certainly not a brand of condom found in a rest area bathroom vending machine.

  4. MassMotion Flow is a contemporary agent simulation software by Arup Oasys.

  5. MassMotion Flow supports IFC import - IFC, or Industry Foundation Class, is an open and platform-neutral data exchange format for BIM.

  6. A BIM execution plan defines expected BIM deliverables and provides guidance for project team coordination.

  7. Brian’s first architecture job was at MKC in Mansfield, Ohio where he scanned the firm’s paper specs to PDF for like, weeks, and used ArchiCAD 9.

  8. Everyone likes cheeseburgers. This we know.

  9. The United Architects were a team of architects including Greg Lynn FORM, Foreign Office Architects*, Kevin Kennon Architects, and others whose submission for the World Trade Center competition featured five interconnected towers.

  10. *RIP 2011

  11. Peter Eisenman’s submission for the same WTC competition kind of looked like a giant hashtag and was often referred to as the “tic-tac-toe building.”

  12. Zach’s preferred terminology for a hash/number symbol/pound sign is “octothorpe.”

  13. The “@” symbol is called the “at symbol,” the “commercial at” and, less commonly but most awesomely, the “strudel.”

  14. The Stevens Institute of Technology is a private research university in Hoboken, NJ known for its engineering programs.

  15. John Nastasi is a practicing architect currently teaching at GSD who developed the Product Architecture Lab at Stevens, a program that has essentially defined architectural technology in NYC by virtue of its graduates now holding senior technology positions in many of the city’s major firms.

  16. Alex has a valley girl accent. It was very rude of Brian to point this out.

  17. Alex taught a notoriously challenging but popular optimization course at Stevens.

  18. Optimization algorithms (specifically evolutionary solvers) are now made accessible to architects through tools like Galapagos and Octopus.

  19. Z-Corp, a manufacturer of inkjet powder 3D printers popular in architecture schools, was purchased by 3D Systems in 2011.

  20. Excavating a print from a powder printer reminds Brian of the Badlands Badlands dig site scene from Jurassic Park.

  21. Cory Brugger is the Director of Design Technology for Morphosis.

  22. Eisenman Architects won five SLAM (Softball League Apres Moderne) championships in a row from 1989-1993.

  23. Alex chairs the AIANY Technology Committee along with Buro Happold’s Erleen Hatfield.

  24. Brian often confuses the AIANY Technology Committee with AIA TAP (Technology in Architectural Practice) because they both have the word “technology” in them.

  25. Night Diapers is the name of Brian’s police procedural featuring babies on the late beat.

  26. Jon David is the Regional Manager of VDC at Turner Construction.

  27. Melanie Silver is the Sustainability Coordinator at FXFOWLE.

  28. Navisworks is a 3D design review application that assist with the coordination process by federating multiple disciplines’ models together. Clash detection is a typical component of model coordination.

  29. The “second method” of Midtown building zoning “employs a daylight evaluation chart based on a view at a distance of 250 feet from the far lot line of the proposed development.”

  30. Passivhaus is an international low-energy design standard reliant upon superinsulation and airtightness.

  31. Jem and the Holograms’ rival band were “The Misfits.” There was actually another rival band “The Stingers” who debuted in the third season, with their lead singer Riot serving as a kind of reverse femme fatale for Jem.

  32. Tempo is a timesheet plugin for JIRA.

  33. Hours is a time-tracking app for iOS.


Lightning round:

  1. What book(s) are you reading right now?

  2. What music are you listening to right now?

    • Symphonic re-creations of popular music

  3. What’s your favorite sci-fi film?

  4. What’s your favorite retro-game?

  5. What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?

  6. What’s in your current “app kit?”

    • Revit, Navisworks, Rhino, Grasshopper, MassMotionFlowThing, Excel

  7. Describe your productivity ritual.

    • Escape the house before Owen gets up (alternating duties with husband!)

    • Work really, really hard all day, really fast.

    • Monday morning drudgery - timesheets and email filing

    • Everything is scheduled, even lunch

  8. What social media platforms do you use and how?

    • Twitter

    • Alex is a lurker

  9. What’s something that you think is a critical issue in technology that’s currently being overlooked?    

    • Post-occupancy data to validate simulations for sustainable design

  10. What’s something that recently blew your mind?

    • Exhibition on Leonardo Da Vinci in Toronto

  11. What is the most irritating part of your day? and what is the most enjoyable?

    • Irritating part is vendor cold calls. Enjoyable part is working directly with project teams.

  12. Who is Banksy?

    • Alex: Probably just one dude.

    • Zach: A London street gang type of guy.

    • Brian: Two people on each other’s shoulders in a giant trench coat.

  13. WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE???!!! In one sentence.

    • Architecture is spaces for people.

tutorial rating: 
Average: 4 (3 votes)


Zach Downey

Want to Contribute?

Want to be an author? Drop us a line here we'd love to have you.

Already have a video you'd like to post? Send us a link and we'll get you going.