Episode 008 - Josh Emig

Josh Emig Director of Digital Practice at Perkins + Will

Josh Emig the Director of Digital Practice at Perkins + Will stops by the studio and once again amazes us. We talk Research, Integrated Design and Construction at Auburn, Joseph Campbell, Front, Journalism School, Russian Circles, and Josh backs me up in my Star Wars as a western argument.


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Show Notes

  1. Turner Construction’s Regional Manager of VDC Jon David (formerly of SHoP) recently have a lecture at the Center for Architecture titled “BIM: What Architects Should Know from a CM Perspective

  2. Josh is the Director of Digital Practice at Perkins+Will

  3. Josh is the former Director of the Applied Technology Group (ATG) at SHoP, a position that Zach also held prior to leaving to starting Parabox

  4. SHoP did not have enough CoD licenses

  5. Josh studied architecture at RPI after transitioning from a Master’s of English program

  6. After architecture school Josh worked at Front as project consultant for facade/envelope design

  7. “Perkins+Will designs buildings with people in them”

  8. Josh taught at the Integrated Design and Construction (id&c) program at Auburn

  9. China’s Broad Sustainable Building designed Mini Ski City, a pre-fabricated, 57-story building that went up in 19 days

  10. Autodesk’s Matt Jezyk organized the Design Computation Symposium at AU2014 where, among other discussions, Mark Burry talked about his experience working on the Sagrada Familia

  11. The tradition of how Gaudi describes the geometry of the Sagrada Familia has been kept intact by a family of model makers - these same techniques are now used as the basis computational fabrication workflows

  12. Zach can’t pronounce “Woods Bagot

  13. Perkins+Will has an internal microgrant program called the Innovation Incubator to fund employees’ R&D proposals

  14. Perkins+Will formalized their internal research program by hiring John Haymaker as Director of Research

  15. “Artistic research” or “practice-based research,” commonly deployed in architecture, is when a creative work is seen both as research and the object of research itself. This is a debateable form of research and is seen as distinct from scientific research or humanities-based research which takes on more rigorous methods.

  16. A Github-esque form of version control for BIM is something the AECO industry has desired for some time. Past attempts at model version control include Newforma, GTeam, and Glue.

  17. Attempts to eliminate email and out messages in context have been made in a wide variety of task management and collaboration platforms including Asana, JIRA, Slack, HipChat, Evernote, Basecamp, Yammer and, if you’re a DIY nutjob like Zach, custom intranets via Drupal.

  18. “To-do apps are the ‘Hello, World!’ of iPhone development” - Zach

  19. Zach has a “To-Do” folder on his iPhone including apps like Wunderlist, UpWord, Todo, Things, and Clear (Also Omni Focus 2)

  20. But he mostly uses his Moleskine and Leuchtturm 1917

  21. The Rural Studio was started by Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee at Auburn as a means of using architecture to improve the lives of impoverished residents of rural Alabama. Mr. Mockbee passed away in 2001 but the Rural Studio lives on.

  22. Josh really likes Alabaster Coffee (Williamsport, PA)

  23. Josh took screenwriting courses at NYU

  24. Star Wars is a Western

  25. In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell explores the theory that all important myths globally and throughout history share the same fundamental structure called the monomyth:

    1. “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

  26. The BlackBerry Storm was essentially the company’s last serious attempt (or perhaps attempt that was taken seriously) to stay relevant in the smartphone industry

  27. Betamax was a videotape format that ultimately fell to the rival format VHS

  28. If you held rewind and play at the same time, a cassette tape would stop rewinding at the start of a track, something we started taking for granted when compact discs came out. Now we can do this with our EarPods. AND SOON WITH OUR MINDS

  29. The MiniDisc was a disc-based data storage device that was killed in large part by solid-state MP3 players

  30. Coursera provides free online courses from some of the world’s most prestigious universities

  31. The R language is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. Also, the assignment operator is an arrow - weird!

  32. Pascal is a structured programming language developed in the late sixties. An object-oriented language called Object Pascal was developed in 1985

  33. Perkins+Will runs virtualized Revit via RDP with a Citrix client

  34. Revit Journal Files record actions taken by the software during a session of Revit. These text files are often used to troubleshoot program issues but can also be aggregated for the purposes of data analysis

  35. When you beat Metroid (NES) you find out that space-faring bounty hunter Samus Aran is a woman


Lightning round:

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

  2. What is your favorite beer?

  3. What music are you listening to right now?

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

  5. What’s your favorite retro-game?

    • Mom bought him an odyssey when everyone else had atari

    • Zach on wrong side of consoles

      • Genesis instead of SNES (got an SNES later)

      • PS1 but not PS2

      • Gamecube instead of PS2

      • Dreamcast because you could pirate the games easily

  6. What’s your favorite childhood cartoon?

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

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

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

    • Irritating

      • Days where it feels like nothing gets done (back-to-back conference calls, meetings, etc.)

      • People who resist collaboration when the idea isn’t their own and create small organizational schisms

    • Enjoyable

      • Working on actual projects instead of overhead resource support

  10. What would you say to students graduating today?

    • Embrace the fluidity of our technological ecosystem

    • Understand data and information flow

    • Learn how to learn - prepare yourself for constant learning

  11. Who is Banksy?

    • Theory: John Goodman, who cooked up the idea on the set of Rosanne and perfected the idea during the filming of King Ralph

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

    • Architecture is the ceaseless pursuit of the ideal of the environment in which we inhabit.
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Zach Downey

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