Episode 023 - Billie Faircloth

Billie Faircloth

Brian and Guest host Daniel Davis catch up with Billie Faircloth, Partner & Research Director at Kieran Timberlake, at the Design Modelling Symposium Copenhagen. 


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Show Notes:

  1. Billie’s new book, Plastics Now, was published by Routledge in July 2015

    1. You can purchase Plastics Now directly from the publisher or on Amazon

    2. Billie began work on the book in 2006 while she was an Assistant Professor at University of Texas (UT) at Austin

    3. Billie continued work on the book after she became Research Director at KT in 2008.

    4. Its ‘cool cover’ (Brian thinks it’s great) was designed by KieranTimberlake Graphic Designer Alex Cohn - check out his other work on his website

  2. Daniel Davis, our guest host, is interviewing for Zach’s position as permanent co-host of the Designalyze podcast

  3. How to pronounce Copenhagen in Danish

    1. Brian apologizes if his attempt at pronouncing Copenhagen offends any of our Danish listeners,or rather listener: Sorry Anders

  4. The Design Modelling Symposium Copenhagen (DMSC) 2015 was hosted by the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK)

  5. The advisory committee for the Design Modelling Symposium Copenhagen 2015 included:

    1. Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Head of CITA at KADK

    2. Martin Tamke, an Associate Professor at CITA

    3. Christoph Gengnagel, founder of the Design Modelling Symposium, Professor of Structural Design and Analysis at the University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin and Partner at Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure, Berlin

    4. Fabian Scheurer, the founding partner of designtoproduction

    5. And Billie Faircloth, Partner and Research Director at KieranTimberlake

  6. 276 participants gathered for DMSC 2015 from 33 countries for 3, day-long plenary sessions where a total of 12 keynote addresses and 43 research papers were delivered

  7. The DMSC Masterclass, Modelling for Trans-Scalar, Trans-Temporal and Trans-disciplinary Design Practices, was taught by Billie Faircloth and Ryan Welch

    1. Ryan is a member of the research group at KieranTimberlake in the role of Building Performance Specialist

    2. Ryan also presented research by KieranTimberlake which demonstrated an application of their wireless sensor network

  8. Holism was a term frequently discussed at DMSC as it pertains to computational models of architecture - that an architectural model might not be fully comprehensible solely in terms of its component parts (thermal analysis, structural analysis, physics-based form-finding, etc.) but could only be understood by considering the whole workflow or model system

    1. Philosopher of Science Eric Winsberg explained to DMSC attendees that in philosophical discourse ‘holism,’ and especially holism as related to computational models, has pejorative connotations - a position that might be contrary to architectures usage of the term.

  9. Brian took Workshop 3 Multi-Objective Optimization in Parametric Design: Modelling with Karamba/Octopus at DMSC

    1. The workshop was instructed by Clemens Preisinger, Robert Vierlinger, Matthew Tam, and Adam Orlinski, all of Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure, Vienna

    2. Karamba is a parametric structural analysis library for Grasshopper that makes it easier for architects to communicate with engineers through shared models

    3. Octopus is an evolutionary solver and multi-objective optimization library for Grasshopper that expands the functionality of Galapagos in a number of ways including the ability to 3-dimensionalize the multi-objective design space and query individual results per generation

  10. Topological or topology optimization is a computational approach to optimize material layout for a given design space which is often primarily concerned with loading and boundary conditions

    1. Topology optimization algorithms have been integrated into design and engineering software such as solidThinking Inspire, Autodesk Dreamcatcher, VR&D GENESIS Topology for ANSYS Mechanical, Sawapan topostruct, and more

  11. Daniel Davis, who is now Lead Researcher at WeWork, gave a DMSC keynote on his research into the impact of data and technology on the building industry

  12. Clash detection is the process of checking for model component overlaps in the federated model, where models from the various building disciplines are integrated for coordination purposes

    1. Autodesk Navisworks is a popular platform for clash detection and coordination

  13. Flux’s co-founder Jen Carlile gave a DMSC keynote on Flux’s vision for a sustainable building industry capable of responding to rapid global population growth, as well as their interoperability toolset which allows for the bespoke passing of data between a number of common AEC design applications

    1. During her keynote, Jen announced that Flux will soon release an SDK to allow users to connect any of their apps and not necessarily be limited to the plugins developed by Flux

  14. Tally is the first Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) app that lets you calculate the environmental impacts of your building material selections directly in an Autodesk Revit model

    1. Tally would not be possible without LCA data provided by thinkstep and support by Autodesk

    2. The current discourse on LCA practices is necessarily industry wide and Billie notes that other LCA tools are available. For instance, the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute provides Architects, Designers and the Building Industry the free Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings

    3. Professional LCA Practitioners are likely to use thinkstep’s GaBi or PRe Consultant’s SimaPro

  15. Architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart’s 2002 manifesto on environmentalism, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, was printed using DuraBook technology so that it whttp://www.simapro.co.uk/ould be upcyclable

    1. Allegedly, if you boil the book the ink will disappear, though this has not been verified in field

  16. Billie refers to MIT Professor Dr. Albert G.H. Dietz (1908 – 1998) and his first book on the subject of plastics titled Materials of Construction: Wood, Plastics, and Fabrics, published in 1949

    1. Professor Dietz would continue to publish – translating plastics to us through the 1970s

  17. Monocoque is a structural method where loads are supported through a single skin like in an egg shell (the structural analog of holism); the technology was first applied to early aircraft and boat design and has since been adapted for building construction

  18. The Six-Shell Bubble by Jean Maneval is an example of plastic being used to mass-manufacture housing

  19. Fiber-reinforced composites, fiber-reinforced plastics, or fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) are composite materials made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibers, typically glass, carbon, aramid, or basalt

  20. The image of the all-FRP washing machine tub is circa 1950. It originally appeared along with several images of mass produced FRP products in one of the first comprehensive handbooks on the technique titled Fiberglas Reinforced Plastics, published in 1954, written by Ralph H. Sonneborn with an introduction by the aforementioned Dr. Dietz.

  21. Brian’s a HIPS man

    1. They don’t lie

  22. List of plastics standards developed by ASTM

  23. Canal Plastics is a famous plastics store in NYC known for their variety and utter chaos

    1. Also their website is hilarious

  24. No one wants to be compared to Howard Roark

  25. Dwight Schrute is a fictional beet farmer and Assistant (to the) Regional Manager at the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company Scranton branch

  26. Brian’s guide to urban umbrella etiquette:

    1. No golf umbrellas

    2. No umbrellas for light rain

    3. Definitely no umbrellas for snow

  27. Can you get seizures from cartoons?

  28. There’s a great future in plastics


Lightning round:

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

  2. What music are you listening to right now?

    • Ambient music - allows for greater focus and has a calming effect

  3. Describe your productivity ritual.

  4. What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?

  5. If you could have a tea party with any three people, dead or alive or imagined, who would they be?

  6. Who is Banksy?

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

    • The power to draw a boundary

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Zach Downey

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