Passivhaus,Part L,Physics,subject choices & cyclist David Millar (@millarmind )

After returning from a Part L CPD course recently (a further 60% improvement on 2008 standards occurred on December 2nd), it got me thinking about the changes that have occurred since I set out on my architectural career, the subject choices I made at A level and as I’m a keen cyclist I’ve intertwined a little relevant bit from David Millar’s excellent book ‘Racing Through the Dark‘.

Well, as some of you may know, my father was a mathematics and computing lecturer at Chelsea College and then at Kings College, London and I think a little bit of his heart broke when I decided to pullout of my Physics A’level after only doing a few weeks. As only a teenage boy can be at that age I was resolute in my determination that the three A levels would be enough (Art,Maths and Chemistry as you’re asking) and that the combination of the arts and sciences would be an ideal combination for my career choice since a little boy of Architect. And for many years, this would have been ideal advice to any budding potential architecture student and the the A levels I took saw me through the architecture course without problem.

OK, so now fast forward thirty years and consider what I am now doing as an architect in the West of Ireland; I’m designing houses to the Passive House (Passivhaus) standard where guess what rules the roost ,yup you guessed, it Physics!

Now, I did do A level Maths so I’m not averse to a few hard equations but if I did physics too, my guess is that I’d find the PassivHaus calculations (PHPP is the design software) a little easier.

(Extract from a typical PHPP calculation)

So, where does pro-cyclist David Millar come into this? Well in his excellent book ‘Racing Through the Dark‘; a highly recommended book on pro-cycling,doping and turning it all around – a perfect stocking filling Christmas book !).

David recounts a story where he has similar choices to be made over his father suggesting dropping French with “It’s not something your ever going to use in the future,is it?” and then a few years later David is living in a remote French village as a pro-cyclist unable to order a coffee or baguette.

The interesting thing with both of these two stories is although it would have made life easier to have done physics in my case or French in David Millars; we both have moved on from the disadvantage and continued in our respective careers.

So there you go, advice for students; be careful about your subject choices as they can make life more or less difficult in future, but if you do get them wrong, don’t worry- you’ll just have to work a little harder later!

Comments as always welcome…

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