More CAD history! #ModelShop @Sketchup @DMRSpamKiller mentioned

I wrote THIS POST in 2015 and thought I’d give it a bit of an update:

I mentioned the system we had at college (GABLE) developed originally at Sheffield University (headed by Bryan Lawson) and in its days was a pioneering combination of software that is one of the grand-daddies of the BIM software we see today. You can read a description of the software HERE in the 1986 CAD Directory!

Well, it must have been about 1987 when one of the sons (who was probably only 12 or so) of the dear Oxford Architecture lecturer Layla Shamash (1943-2002) showed me a piece of software he had brought back from the US called ‘Schema’. This went on to be ModelShop 1.0 ( and then upgraded to ModelShop II by Paracomp).

You can read details of ModelShop at Daniel M. Rose’ legacy website at: http://www.danielsays.com/ss-gallery-macintosh-modelshop-10.html (special thanks for the image below showing one of the screen grabs):

You can see my review of ModelShop II from probably 1990 or so in (I think MacWorld) – click for larger version:

Couple of things that are interesting:

1. Boy, I’ve been in this game a long time

2. The first Schema model that Layla’s son showed me was a 3D model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. Which incidentally killed the ease of use compared to GABLE – all on a single floppy disk!

I got one one of the TY students to model the house last year (below):

And then I was privileged to visit it late last year. Almost a full circle of CAD & architecture. The photo below is the view from the balcony:

3. Check out the tools in the ModelShop screen grab (above): 2D shapes, extrude, move, rotate, scale…

Have you seen similar, easy to use tools in 3D modelling software recently. Yup the tools used in ModelShop are the grand daddy (IMHO) of those used in Sketchup today (below):

Below are a few screen grabs from Stuart Mealings book of the time ‘Mac 3D’ describing ModelShop (plus third extract from Google Books):

4. How the wheel turns. An interesting anecdote. A special thanks to Bill Allen for this one (and for everything over the years). Gomark (distributor of ModelShop at the time) had a ‘ModelShop User of the Year Competition’ in the 80’s. The building shapes Bill recounts looked nothing like a building – sharp angles, triangles, jagged points! – The winner…Zaha Hadid (RIP)

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