Residence - 1976
Designed to exist totally off the grid
Alto to Japan back to Palo Alto
Store to Osaka and Kyoto, Japan and back to knOwhere
out party continues. Work on the TANSTAAFL [link] DesignShop events, which are in the process of being
speaking engagements in California, Japan and Korea,
a new License opening our work to the venture capital
is the 25th anniversary of the Steinmeyer Residence
- a self contained home that almost got built. A
real technological push then, feasible today. An
alternative to energy crises and unnecessary ecological
damage. A better way to live.
A. Hayes Teslas
Engine - A new Dimention for Power; James
- The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine; Kathryn
McCamant and Charles Durrett with Ellen
Hertzman COHOUSING - A Contemporary Approach
to Housing Ourselves; Leland M. Roth (text)
and Bret Morgan (photography) SHINGLE
STYLES - Innovation and Tradition in American Architecture
1874 to 1982; Henry Serrano Villard and Willis
M. Allen Jr. LOOPING THE LOOP - Posters
traditional architecture of Japan is without peer.
The perfection of these works, hundreds of years
old, is staggering. Here is my report [link] of an unforgettable architectural experience.
TODAI-JI Temple, Nara
center: Ryoanji Temple, Koyoto
rh: Nijo Castle, Koyoto
saga of the economy continues. What is
the true nature of this experience [link]?
on different parts of mosaicMatt
to see what is on my mind
3, to March 31, 2001
Alto to Davos, Switzerland back to Palo Alto
Store to the World Economic Forum and back
three years of rope-a-dope, MG Taylor
starts bringing its agenda to a broader population.
DesignShop [link] events of 2001 will begin this
is also time for me, personally, to launch the projects
that caused me, in the first place, to participate
in the creation of the Taylor Enterprises and that
keep me involved to this day. Projects that would
have no chance without the tool-kit the MG
Taylor Corporation set out to create. Gaia
Master Planning Project [link];
Earth as a Garden and Work of Art projects
the 2020 project; the Return
of the Usonian project [link];
Bootstrap to Space project [link];
Buckminster Fuller Your
Private Sky; Malcolm Gladwell The
tipping Point - How little Things Can
make a Big Difference; Bart Kosko Heaven
in a Chip - Fuzzy Visions of Society and Science
in the Digital Age; Patrick Tierney Darkness
in El Dorado - How Scientists and Journalists
Devastated the Amazon; Richard Wagner & Howard
Cook (illustrations) Designs On Space
- Blueprints for 21st Century Space Exploration; Kristin
Lund, Hans Jenssen & Richard
Chasemore (illustrations) Inside the World
of Star Wars - Episode I; Arthur C. Clarke Profiles
of the Future - An Inquiry Into the Limits of
the Possible; Joshua Slocum Sailing
Alone Around the World; Michael Frayn Copenhagen (A
Play); Kojin Karatani Architecture
as Metaphor; Roger Billcliffe Mackintosh
Furniture; Elizabeth Hilliard The
Tile Book - Decorationg with Fired Earth; Ester
McCoy Five California Architects; Juan
Bassegoda Nonell Melba Levick (Photographs) Antonio
Gaudi - Master Architect; Maya Lin Boundaries; Pierluigi
Serraino and Julius Shuman Modernism
Rediscovered; Barbara Mac Lamprechc Richard
Neutra; Robert Grudin Book; Jeremy
Rifkin The Age of Access - How the Shift
from Ownership to Access is Transforming Capitalism; Ray
C. Anderson Mid-Course Correction - Toward
a Sustainable Enterprise: the Interface Model; Jacques
Barzun From Dawn To Decadence - 500 Tears
of Western Cultural Life; Kathry Phillips Paradise
by Design - Native Plants and the New American
Landscape; Antonio Damasio The
Feeling of What Happens - Body and Emotion in
the Making of Consciousness;
and Shari gave us a day with the Elephant Seals for
Christmas. Once a year a few visitors are allowed
to intermingle with the seals during their breeding
and birthing season. This is one experience where
the word awesome is not an cliché nor
dubious characters seen lurking around the beach
might think from the pictures below that these seal
sleep a great deal. This is true. However, when they
move they MOVE. You cannot take pictures when
you are getting out of the way of 2,000 plus pounds
charging another bull. These animals swim 10,000
miles a year making two complete circuits between
their feeding and breeding grounds. When on land,
to breed, birth and molt, they do not eat for up
to three months at a time. When they are not active
they actually go into a hibernation phase to save
energy. Incredible adaptation and survival skills.
animal are magnificent and being with them a day
was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our Christmas/New
years visit to the redwoods and this time reminds
us of what we are putting at risk by mindless human
expansion. I believe there is room on this planet
for all species - it is a matter of design. Solutions
will not be found with political-economic compromises.
Davos, we worked with leaders on systemic issues.
Seals and World Leaders doing their thing
January 2001 on Planet Earth
my photo matrix this period, I could not resist
juxtaposing our seal and WEF experience. All
species and societies have elaborate traditions
and rituals by which they conduct their business.
It is both amusing and enlightening to look
at these two different systems and realize
we experienced them only 10 days and half a
world apart apart.
workshops for the World Economic Forum at Davos
went well - truly an amazing collection of
people. The focus of this year shifted attention
to many existing and emerging social issues
and broadened the participation. The WEF is
now about a great deal more than just business
and economics. The problems associated with
globalization are getting serious attention.
at Davos was an interesting exercise in the
relationship between reporting, perception
and experience. Many at Davos wanted to hear
about the great energy crises in
California (of which, of course there is none)
while, after I got back to the California,
everyone wanted to hear about the social disruption
in Switzerland (which, of course, there was
very little). It is not that the press reports
inaccurately, it is what is not reported
that distorts things so much. Information travels
- context does not.
issue of the energy crises and if it was news
or not came up in a Knight Ritter session I
did before leaving for Davos. I told them it
was not news. The crises is
like someone putting on a blindfold, at midnight,
and running down a dark street until he runs
smack into a wall - and then declaring himself
a victim of circumstance. I said that the energy
supply problems and costs were olds - NEWS would
be reporting on the many credible alternatives
that are not commonly understood and can be
quickly applied to the situation. All the press
now is aimed at the shortages and how we are
going to do more of the old policies and processes
that have clearly failed. This is like fixing
your fine watch with a hammer. It MIGHT work
- but then again, usually not.
of late February, here in California a state
know for its ecological stance, a few
articles are cropping up about private uses
of alternative energy. The government reaction
has been the use of more coal and the relaxing
of pollution standards. The way the payments
problem is being being handled is placing the
small alternative commercial energy providers
at more economic risk - some may actually go
out of business. Conservation and new energy
sources combined with a long term social policy
is not being employed. Under these circumstances,
it is clear how the majority of the market
will vote. This, of course, be labeled as the
workings of a free economy providing
further confusion [link].
was happy to report to those in Davos that
there is plenty of energy in California as
long as common sense is applied and to those
in California that those attending the WEF
were never at risk.
California energy crises and the social dissent
related to globalization, however, are serious
symptoms of the same governance issue: the
inability of our society to anticipate
future consequences [link] and engage in
vigorous dialog prior to hitting the wall.
learn to respond to weak signals, engage all
those effected in dialog that produces viable
alternatives to anticipated problems, we will
be doomed to reaction, fear, alienation, hate
and bashed together political compromises that
merely generate more problems for the future.
costs in California and dissent at Davos are
both the result of positive feedback loops
that are approaching lock in. Unless anther
approach is taken - and soon - this will lead
to true crises which will greatly re-calibrate
the blips we are now experiencing. We will
become victims of our own inattention. What
is new about that?
media will report NEWS and businesses
will sell GOODS. Keep working for it.
is a wonderful village and when it comes to
running things you cannot beat the Swiss. I
was greatly impressed with the architecture.
The Swiss have figured how to make post-modernism
work because to them it is not post.
Their ability to bring their traditional idiom
into harmony with modern materials and methods
is without peer. Below is a taste of Davos.
shots of Davos do not reflect the full variety
of the environment nor do the capture the full
ambiance of the place. They were taken
on a one hour walk on a Sunday morning. There
is much more to see than this indicates.
Davos report [link].
It is a story of paradoxes.
back on the home front:
find ourselves in a movement in the Palo Alto
Midtown Community to return the shopping area
to community-serving retail. A
new ordinance was proposed right before the
holiday season and was passed on the 15th of
January. Most of the community does not get that
the knOwhere Store is a community asset. So,
we find ourselves embroiled in a circumstance
that at other times and places we were able
to facilitate the solution. The Cobblers
son has no
new pieces from AI came on the 9th for my
workspace - they are prototype pieces to
be tested, improved and added to our WorkFurniture
pieces both use cherry as a highlight. We
have long employed contrasting woods in our
custom work and are now making it part of
our production Trade Dress. The
small rolling coffee table
is a new item. We have needed it for some
time. The center support is the column we
use for the extensive glass areas in our
CubeOffice [link] system - a nice reuse. The table is very
can be used as a low stool.
Drafting table is an improvement on an existing
piece. It has a leather pad on the front edge
and a suspended, swinging out three-drawer
unit that can be mounted on either side of
the table. Two of the drawers are shallow for
drawing tools and the bottom is a file cabinet.
This has already proven to be very useful.
Gaia Project [link] got
a logo design in January. There are several
variants of this design
that we are looking at. The design was created
by Robert Darling. Reviving the Gaia Project
concept is timely given the escalating conflicts
between the advocates of economy and the
advocates of ecology. What has to be understood
is that both these, economy and ecology,
are the same subject. They operate at different
levels of recursion and at different time
scales. The Gaia project has a specific focus
and will not, in itself, resolve all the
issues related to this conflict. However,
it offers one example of a way of
moving beyond conflict to design and action.
I cant take it any more. I have to say
something [link] about
the dot.bubble game.
15, 2000 to Jan 3, 2001
Alto to Princeton, to New York, to Cincinnati
to Palo Alto to Ft. Meyers to Palo Alto,
to Boulder, Co., to Palo Alto to Phoenix
and back. Then somewhere along the coast
for year end vacation.
Alto KnOwhere Store, ETS NavCenter, Marenzana
Conference Centers, Palo Alto KnOwhere, CAMELOT,
Palo Alto KnOwhere, AI offices, to KnOwhere,
to Taliesin and back and then to the Lost Whale
next iteration unfolds: Invitational DesignShop
events, FutureViews, ReBuilding the Future
seminars, collaborative design RDS deployments,
KnetWeb. The Business Units are growing and
gaining in market position and business model
clairity. Collaborators are finding their way
into the ValueWeb [link] network.
The architectural practice is taking shape.
Soon, the master planning process can begin.
capability, opportunity and agenda match. It
took many pieces, and many years, to get the
system in place - the system emerges
by its own terms - a combination of causality
and surprise. How will it be employed?
all starts with a thought... Out there, many
are thinking and dreaming. Dreaming of better
alternatives that produce more sustainable
results. All they need is a tool kit...
year will be busy year - the task, now, is
to get ready [note
have worked in my Pod for one year and recently
rearranged [link] my entire workplace.
A couple of new pieces are on the way from
will add new functionality. Working here is
a pleasure - a synthesis between the utility
I require, the expression of my personal brand
and the interface with a larger social space.
Circular forms are without question more fit
for humans than unarticulated rectangles. Handled
correctly, they can provide a great deal more
utility per square foot than conventional means.
Cooper House, 1960, [link] revisions are nearly
finished - I am doing this for fun and to
my design skills. It have been a long time
since I have worked on a truly complex architectural
assignment and now several are on their way
into the office. In addition, I have an intuition
that this project just might be buildable
soon. I am greatly attached to the idea of
it and want to see it done. It is a solution
looking for a problem. The Cooper design
was my first mature work - the first time
that I had a measure of mastery of the architectural
elements at play in a complex commission.
Revising it is like visiting the past while
preparing for the future - it has been a
very tactile, sensual experience.
foundation II WorkFurniture series by AI is
just about ready. We had a final design session
on the configuration of the system in Boulder.
This will be a completely integrated system:
WorkWalls, Pods, CubeOffice system and Armature
elements all dockable and plug and play capable
with each other - this means a complete wall-to-wall,
floor-to-floor solution from one system. An instant environment
in 30 days.
Carr Mahler; Jeremy Narby; The
Cosmic Serpent - DNA and the origins of Knowledge; George
Packer Blood of the Liberals; Sim
Van Der Ryn and Stuart Cowan Ecological
Design; Steve Lerner Eco-Pioneers; Eugene
Tsui Evolutionary Architecture - Nature
As a Basis for Design; Tom J. Bartuska & Gerald
L. Young, editors The BUILT ENVIRONMENT
- A creative Inquiry Into Design & Planning; Katherine
Nelson, editor WEBSIGHTS: The Future
of Business and Design On the Internet; James
Wines Green Architecture; Frank
Close Lucifers Legacy - The
Meaning of Asymmetry; Frances A. Yates The
Art of Memory; Christopher Curtis Mead The
Architecture of Bart Prince; Claudia
Gerdes and Jutta Nachtwey Cybershops;
Simon Velez Grow your Own House; Nick
Taylor LASER - The Inventor, The Nobel
Laureate, and the Thirty-year Patent War; John
Rattenbury A Living Architecture -
Frank Lloyd Wright and Taliesin Architects; Paul
Laseau and James Tice Frank
Lloyd Wright - Between Principle and Form; Myron
A. Marty and Shirley L. Marty Frank
lloyd Wrights Taliesin Fellowship; David
Rothenberg Hands End - Technology
and the Limits of Nature;
[link] Expressions of the Built Environment - November
Frank Lloyd Wright - photos by Lisa Piazza
Gaudi - photos by Vlasta Pokladnikova
Camelot - photos by Matt Taylor
building [link] is
one of the great acts of the human race.
To me, it is not the deity
or organization that matters so much as the
human gesture. Cathedrals are a celebration.
They are giving the best that can be given
to the expression of pure art and creative
exuberance. They take a long time so the
project has to be created and recreated in
the minds of many builders. The reward is
in the doing of it - not in fame and income.
New things are learned because the state-of-the-art
is pushed. Cathedral building is about investment
- not consuming, not return of investment.
This act teaches every generation vital lessons
that everyday life seems to miss.
This level of art teaches and requires a
contemplative life [link].
Familia by Gaudi
Photo by Vlasta Pokladnikova - November 2000
Cathedral is one of the great contemporary
examples of the genera. Its construction
started in the 19th Century, spanned the 20th
and continues into the 21st. It is an astounding
virtuoso piece. Is Gaudi dead?
|A single family
dwelling can be a cathedral of another kind.
In many respects a house is that for a single
life or family and one of the most difficult
works of architecture to do well. Great houses
are rare. It has nothing to do with the budget
and everything to do will the skill and dedication
of both client(s) and architect.
had fallen into almost total obscurity [link] when
he produced Fallingwater. It is, perhaps, the
most famous house in the world and certainly
a masterpiece. It also is a great gesture. And,
it is a comfortable summer retreat house for
a family. Gaudi and Wright were near comtemporiars
although Wright lived and worked to a much
older age. On the surface their work
in common. At the root of things, however,
they had a great deal in common. Both started
tributaires of the organic school
of architecture; both lived and breathed their
work. They were great technical innovators
and the structures of these two buildings are
equally bold. Still, the
it is a comfortable summer retreat house for
a family. Gaudi and Wright were near comtemporiars
although Wright lived and workcontrasts are
interesting. Gaudis Cathedral is over
a 120 years old and is still being built; Wrights
House is 64 years old and is undergoing restoration.
Gaudi devoted the last several decades of his
life to the Sagrada Familia and it barely took
form before he died [rbtfBook].
Wright, who was in his sixties, worked for
a quarter of a century
more after Fallingwater [link] and
built the bulk of his work after its
completion - a body of work nearly 50 times
greater than Gaudi produced. Gaudi died in
relative obscurity, Wright became a household
word and a modern icon.
comes in many forms. Our society is uncomfortable [link] with
the notion, too often denying, building up
and then destroying those who show a new way.
At MG Taylor we have found, in our work, that
the available talent is much greater than the
rarity of great works would indicate. Had Wright
died before Fallingwater, his work would have
been known to a few - to be, perhaps, discovered
by a future generation after most of it was
torn down [link].
He practiced with incredible persistence in
his life and work and enjoyed
health and vitality. Gaudi produced fewer works
but practiced in a different social milieu.
I would think that the Barcelona of the last
Century would be less inclined to tear buildings
down and replace them with modern works.
In our country he may have been totally erased
before his work was appreciated. About a third
of Wrights work is gone and he died famous.
So it takes more than talent to produce great
work that ends up enduring and having a lasting
impact. It takes persistence and a measure
of luck - you have to be in the right time
and place and be able to seize the opportunity.
Gaudi, apparently was quite the dandy as a
young man. He became increasingly more recluse
and religious [link] as
he aged. Wright was flamboyant to the end and
for his unabashed
optimism. Both exibited a central integrity
and purity about them and both were works of
art in their own individual way. Both were
helped along by unsung heroes at critical moments
in their lives. Maybe, as a society, we should
pay more attention to this unrecognized aspect
of creativity. Gifford
Pinchot [link] has
delineated the critical role of the sponsor
in the intraprenueral process.
The mentor and patron may yet be critical to
the emergence of greatness in our culture.
pictures of Fallingwater [link] were
taken by Lisa
Piazza [link] this
was a busy year for me and I was able to
spend only a total of three weeks on CAMELOT.
Others, fortunately, were able to enjoy [link] her
more than in the past. In my experience,
she remains the quintessential work of architecture.
She is an exercise of all the criteria [link] which
an architect has to consider - and master
- when producing a work. Keeping CAMELOT [link] is
to practice Alexanders [link] Timeless
Way of Building. Architecture involves
designing, building, using - the using part
is the most neglected. It is rarely seen
as an extension of architectural practice [link].
Buildings tend to be compromised and deteriorate
over time - they should evolve and get better.
Brand talks about this in How Buildings
Learn [rbtfBook]. His thesis is solid,
the question is what do they learn?
Few buildings are designed so that they can evolve
gracefully. Modern boats are beginning to
lose this capability as they become mostly
manufactured rather than built. I
have never accepted the split between the
manufacturing process and the craft process
- nor the division between the building process
and the using-evolving process. I believe
all these elements [link] can
be - must be integrated: precision
and feeling, build-ability and evolve-ability.
All are necessary for the next generation
by Captain Armour Rice
|CAMELOT [link] sailing Charlotte Harbor, Thanksgiving vacation
A synthesis of utility and art - living, breathing,
dynamic architecture. A place to rest, a place
to work, a means of travel.
is always a great place to visit. We had a
dash of snow - just enough to give the Flatirons,
which can be seen from the AI office, a covering.
The time at AI was spent working on new client
environments, tying down the final Foundation
2 configuration and the end-of-year AI Board
last business trip of the year was to Taliesin.
I have not been back to Taliesin since 1959
when Mr. Wright died - and then for a short
visit in 1964 to show a friend how to get there.
have have not maintained any relationship with
Taliesin in the last 42 years. The purpose
of this visit was for Fred Stitt, founder and
director of the San Francisco Institute of
Architecture, to make technical arrangements
so that SFIA and the Frank Lloyd Wright School
of Architecture can connect electronically
and share materials, courses and interactive
experiences. SFIA [link] and
Taliesin are the only schools I know of that
focus on educating the organic architect Their
approaches are different yet compatible - hopefully,
a rich synergy will result.
there is any place on Earth that is magic,
it is Taliesin in the early morning.
you return to your roots.
by Matt Taylor
visit was short - only 20 hours. It was full
of memories. A brief chance to talk with a
few from my time here and dialog with some
from a new generation. The work is being carried
on with great energy and vigor. Taliesin West
continues to grow, inspire and nurture 64 years
after it was built. A community of architects,
artists, builders, teachers and students carry
on an important tradition while seeking a vision
for the future.
was a time of snapshots [link] - remembrances from 42 years ago intermingling
with images of today.
and I spent a quite Christmas at home resting
and catching up on our web pages and some event
designs for early next year. Between Christmas
and the second of January we are traveling
up the California coast to visit the redwoods.
bale construction and solar energy - demonstration
that alternative energy methods
work even for the demanding retail store
by Matt Taylor
photo is of the Real Goods store designed by
Sim Van Der Ryn. This was our first stop along
the way. A photo essay of our trip go to Northern
California Coast is under construction - 2000. [link].
only thing I will say here is that there are
few experiences of Nature as powerful as walking
in an old growth redwood forest. I hope that
we humans decide to use the freedom of the
market place to vote wisely in
the future and contain harvesting to within
sustainable limits. The are many alternative
materials that can be used for building and
few alternatives to the experience of an intact
wonderful thing about markets is that they
truly reflect values.
started for me with the design of my Bay
Area Studio [link].
It ended with the design of the iterations
Compound [link]. Mostly stolen time never the
less the most active year for serious architectural
design in 25 years - the first steps back to
a full practice of architecture.
voice of this document:
USING LOGISTICS PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
Octiber 29, 2000
May 4, 2001
20001029.238712.mt 20001118.341761.mt 20001120.871937.mt
20001125.452851.mt 20001126.882093.mt 20001206.341861.mt
20001217.295812.mt 20001224.348798.mt 20010103.828361.mt
20010105.672953.mt 20010107.239419.mt 20010110.856234.mt
20010120.845377.mt 20020202.545279.mt 20020212.992884.mt
November 13, 2004
with minor edits and links added
Taylor, 2000, 2001, 2004