A Tale of Two Platforms

This Post is by Jon Buerg.
It originally appeared on his new blog ALL CAPS. Check it out and follow Jon on both Tumblr and Twitter.

What goes around, comes around…

Folklore says that Bill Gates’s magnificent residence on Lake Washington may have been, ironically enough, designed on a Mac. As I’m sure you all know, Apple is currently building a super mega-Gigantor corporate campus in Cupertino, and knowing what I know about design software, I suspected an inversion of the events surrounding the design of these two structures occurred. So I did some digging through my memories (sounds like the name of a 70’s AM radio hit) and the interwebs…

First, I remember reading about the Gates house some time ago and I was actually able to find the article I remembered reading back then (by the way, love the HTML throwback look of that link). This article was researched by the awesome people over at Architosh, and I think that they’ve provided the most complete and thorough answer we’re going to get to this question; which is that some parts of the house were designed on the Mac, but most of the project was in fact drafted by hand. Given the time that the design work was taking place, perhaps some of this was going on too.

Then I remembered seeing the presentation drawings of the Apple campus that were posted to the City of Cupertino’s website several years back. I also remembered thinking at the time that some of them looked rather “Revit-y” to me, and we all know that Revit runs exclusively on Windows (well, unless you run the new cloud-certified version, but that’s probably still using Windows in some way too…anyway). Apparently I wasn’t the only one who assumed Revit when seeing those presentation drawings. But as it turns out, it was actually Microstation with some help from an assortment of what I refer to as “prettyfication” software. Since Bentley hasn’t produced a Mac version of Microstation since the Clinton administration, it’s quite safe to assume that Apple’s new campus was designed on a Windows machine (actually a small army of them, all run by weary drafting servants who are chained to them and have to sleep under their desks while Norman Foster is off on a yacht in the Bahamas or something…but I digress).So there you have it. Not as shocking or as juicy of a conclusion as I thought it would be. This sort of zinger just doesn’t carry the punch it once did. The world has changed. Technology has changed. While all the Gates house stuff was happening, Steve hit Bill up for a loan and used it to kickstart a revolution at Apple that saw them finally surpass their former nemesis. Today, Apple and Microsoft relations are as strong as they’ve ever been and people are more interested in their social media tools than the platform used to run those tools. Microsoft has a search engine and hardware like a video game console and a super-tablet, Apple has a watch and is trying to build a car. All this means that operating systems just don’t have the cachet that they once did.

Anyone else excited for a time with the raging BIM Wars subside like the OS Wars have?

By Jon

Again, follow Jon on Twitter and check out more posts on his new blog ALL CAPS. Jon promised he’d still share his thoughts here on Shoegnome, but he’s also going to be posting lots of great stuff on his own blog. Subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss future posts from Jon Buerg: Shoegnome on FacebookTwitter, and the RSS feed.



  1. Steve Nickel March 8, 2016
    • Jon Buerg March 8, 2016
  2. SPR8364 March 8, 2016
  3. Paul TP April 11, 2016
    • Jared Banks April 15, 2016
  4. Phil Allsopp June 11, 2016

Leave a Reply