Residential vs Commercial

Conversation between Jim Disbrow and Deborah MacPherson regarding the component and community of interest we’re trying to build.  Metaphors comparing semantic architecture vs building architecture are presented on 2 levels: Residential vs Commercial.





Details of the trademarked EuraCraft System at gutterspecialist.com

JD: …for artists to understand and help depict relationships in semantic space….Building outbuildings and barns might be easier to understand than contracting and programming commercial office space. I can pick up a book at the hardware store on the first two, but not on the latter. Can we make allusions to weightbearing and nonweightbearing walls, and the space in between having multiple functions? How about snow loads and fresh air exchange; mighten they have some semantic equivalent? Cantilevered buildings, porches, and awnings are pretty common too. How about glass houses with lots of transparencies and light?


DM: Right – what is holding it together? What can you see through? How do the various parts perform? What is the equal to door hardware and hallway layouts to control accessand direct the flow of visitors to this space…?




kmeans Kmeans

Basic k-means clusters that can be used as a reference for comparison vs Overlapping k-means clusters illustrate SOM distortion of semantic space both by Stacy Rebich, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Both images show variations of the same solution in semantic space. The same semantic relationships may underly what is being shown in both images, but simpler versions are all the general public needs 99 percent of the time. Like the residential manufacturers drawing above, all that is needed is one picture showing how the parts fit together, and the names of the parts in case there is a question about one of them. A failure of the resident to assemble the parts the right way would not be a disaster beyond their own property. Commercial projects however, require standards, tests and inspections. There are rules to comply with and more detailed relationships need to be documented.

….in progress….





From Commercial Construction Loans

SHORT stands for Semantic Heuristic Ontological Relator Terms.

Comparison of semantic architecture vs building architecture.

Semantic = Each piece of information has a context where it belongs. For example, in an architectural package, the 100 series is always plan drawings. Symbolic notations refer one drawing to another, recognized by both their number series and symbolic notation as a plan, elevation, section, detail, coordination drawing, and so on. The relationships between all drawings in the set are captured by a project name and number. All projects of the office are in a linear sequence with no relationships between projects except before and after. All the lines and words for a project are in an evolving context together as a set of design and construction documents, specifications and work result requirements. There may be common details or requirements between projects of similar types (residential, office, mixed use) or location (Arlington County, Florida, Dubai), but once the contract is executed, the documents are frozen in time unless formally changed by amendment. The established semantic structure of a set of construction documents allows the Architect to issue updated separate parts in ways recipients can quickly know where the interpretations and clarifications belong.

Heuristic = You can make things with this system of terms and relationships. Drawings and specifications already have established locations and standing references between them. For documentation efforts, SHORT will create a better work environment than starting with a blank slate. Nearly anything that can be designed and built can be made to fit into a heuristic structure. Shared heuristic structures need to follow the equal of drawing conventions, and be described by a controlled vocabulary to be understood by others without ambiguity.

Ontological = Large scale, underlying, overarching principles of design and specification – but not yet construction or project definition. A potential ontological aspect of the work patterns and products of Architects could be the National Building Information Modeling Standard NBIMS. A consensus based, technology neutral, industry wide solution where software needs to be certified for compliance, you are on your own for hardware. NBIMS is a huge technological challenge to capture and maintain records of physical space, locations, and valid measurements including time. SHORT terms are like proprietary language being presented in NBIMS language to meet exchange requirements. The relator terms are an ontological mapper to meet exchange requirements defined in a SHORT checklist where some terms are included, others are specifically excluded to define the scope of work.


X Y z


There is underlying background information but a contract to do ontological work using SHORT includes only the contract items listed in the checklist, subsequently shown and specified in the final contract documents.

Bidders evaluate the checklist and design documents to negotiate or win a contract.


The checklist is used by Contractors to presort projects to decide what they are interested overall and for Owners to prequalify Contractors experienced with certain types of construction.



~ not shown yet~ Once the work is underway, the Contractor submits and continuously updates the schedule of values independently from the design by the Architect because the values are always changing based on the market but the design documents were frozen in time when the contract was executed. SHORT ontological terms keep the different disciplines in check. ~ aligning “bar codes” above is only for simplicity, the semantic relationships could rearrange and be any shape because of standing references between the relators. The more projects that repeat the same relationships, the stronger the references between the relators will become~


Waves_H by Kumiko Kushiyama SIGGRAPH 2003

Relator = When the design is broken into constructable parts to be communicated in checklists, models, drawings, and specifications the relator terms are like keynotes. They are a code, a short consistent designator.

Term = Expanded relators.

So – if building architecture is in physical space, SHORT is for semantic space. Accuracy&Aesthetics interest in the comparison is to require, through regulations and exchange requirements, that public space be purposefully set aside, designed, and updated with current information in the semantic world.

These designs do not have to be done over and over again. Patterns of understanding and communications can be reapplied and reused by repeating their semantic structure – which will help them to match up on higher more abstract levels in the future.

Today, it would give public information organizations the chance to select their best examples of the thrill of discovery, explain the services they provide, provide official answers to re-occuring questions, and set up predefined directions through the information they provide. By designing the semantic architecture specifically for public space as a small interoperable part of most projects.


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