Envionments in Development
Model for a Full Service
Rapid Development/Product Development NavCenter

April 17, 2004 Note: This was written in 1999, five years have passed from this time and the comments that I have added below. It is interesting to see how the ideas and design concepts illustrated here have started to find their way into reality a half a decade later from when this was written and more than a decade from when they were first drawn.

see: 1990s Concepts

This concept sketch was developed in 1995 as a Product Development Center for Vanguard Corporation [link]. It was never built. It remains the scope-model that outlines those key components essential for effective Rapid Prototyping and multidisciplinary team-based, “cradle-to-grave” Product Development and Management. They are: Radiant Room (large group process area - in this version called “ACE”) with breakout work areas; several clusters of WorkPods (on this sketch called “Power Teams”); individual Knowledge Worker Pods and workstations; a Multimedia Center for creation and playback of interactive multimedia works); Kiosks; Workstations and Pods for visitors; content-specific support team areas; R&D and Production areas for bread-boarding, model building and so forth . All of this, of course, to be augmented with a full technology backbone and infrastructure.
A variety of client-owned and operated NavCenters are now being developed based on this concept. The Vanguard sketch, indicates a 20,000 square foot environment.
As is typical of MG Taylor/AI/KnOwhere Store and client NavCenter environments and processes, the entire environment can be reconfigured as required, and, minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day levels of flexibility are integrated with the work-processes of each Center. These NavCenters can be thought of as one way to construct the tool-kit for the Big E. Soon, there will be a network of NavCenters sharing non-proprietary information and experiences. A supra-learning organization.
April 17, 2004 Note: This number could reach 30 by mid 2005.
The concept drawing below, while not directly related to the Vanguard Floor Plan, indicates how such a layout might look in three dimensions. This concept drawing became the template of object options from which we could design and manufacture various NavCenter solutions.
AI NavCenter Armature system - 1999
The objective is to organize the total space into a variety of zones and neighborhoods that accomplish the mix of technology, space and size, openness and privacy, “feel” and orientation appropriate for the actual work going on. An armature holds it all together allowing great local variety and difference. Each Neighborhood should have a distinct sense and feel of its own.
Of course, if space is to be fully exploited as a tool to support knowledge work, vertical development will have to be employed. This is for three reasons: first, the appropriate proximity cannot be accomplished on a single plane; Second, openness and privacy can be better accomplished with the proper use of “open” vertical spaces; Third, “prospect” and refuge” is achieved on a much greater scale this way. Opportunities are just opening up for this.
These arrangements, then, can be reconfigured - in whole and in part - as the work mix shifts. Most of this reconfiguration can be done by the users themselves with a few simple tools. The idea is that the environment changes to fit the work. Today, humans have to fit into the “boiler-plate” environment - if this works or not. And, into environments not designed for knowledge work and collaboration. The typical environments, in use today, support only a few of the work processes required by today’s reality - knowledge work is compromised and knowledge workers are frustrated. These environments are not “engines” of knowledge-creation. They do not “facilitate the creation, storing, retrieving, communication, and recreation of information and knowledge.” They do not adequately interact with other facilities.
All this is rapidly changing.
This piece will document the ongoing development of various NavCenters which are an alternative to this dull and ineffective status quo.
For snap shots of the Borgess NavCenter install see 1 and 2. For images of its first multi-day event.
Comments Added April 2004
Eight projects came our way during the three year period 1999 through 2002; unfortunately, three of these were not built. Nevertheless, we did get the main elements of the the 1999 template realized.
Projects 1999 - 2002


A NavCenter-Office environment overlooking the Hudson River in NYC. This was our first project that combined these two functions which worked seamlessly together.






I was asked to suggest some modifications to a project already underway. Nothing came of it as far as I know. The space combined offices, NavCenter and client hosting.


An interesting challenge: what can be done with two dull entries and a hallway into the offices of the Cape? The solution: turn the space into a medium of memory recalling the past, present and future of space exploration. An exciting concept - then, one day the dialog with NASA stopped.


This is one that got away and it was very disappointing at the time to see this concept passed over. What was build, instead, is a conventional meeting-space solution in a basement space with no provision for natural light nor the broad variety of interactions necessary for true learning and collaboration. Our design called for Light Courts with landscaping, an extensive Armature system and a sunken/raised work-theater in-the-round placed at the center of the space and augmented with extensive interactive multimedia. This would have been our first University NavCenter and our first full expression of the Armature system but is was not to be and Vanderbilt NavCenter became the place where this happened.


Offices for a venture development and management company.


Erected in an unfinished space in 2002, this environment will be redone and expanded in 2004. The Armature and WorkFurniture will be removed, the space redone and that all put back in place.

The number and range of projects now under way, compared to the last decade, has greatly expanded over the last two years. Some of these projects are profiled below. Each, no matter size and scope, illustrate some unique aspect of the Taylor System. Taken together, the work of the next decade can, perhaps, be seen here in its nascent state.
Projects 2003 - 2004


Phase I Move In completed 2003. Phase II to start mid 2004.


Finished February 2004.

[graphic in progress]


Under consrtruction.


About to begin the Preliminary Design stage to establish project feasibility and costs. there is strong sentiment for the project. Building it, however, will take about 30 months given approval protocols and contract regulations.

[graphic in progress]


About to begin the Design Development spage


The three pieces of property are about to be assembled.

[graphic in progress]


About to begin the Design Development stage.


In permitting phase. Construction completion scheduled for end of July. This will be the most advanced MG Taylor environment yet built.


In Design Development and about to start fast-track construction process for May use.


Second Concept Plan in development.

[graphic in progress]


Campus Planning phase to start in May DesignShop.


In Preliminary Planning and costing phase. Two markets are being explored prototyping and test marketing. This is our first major home workspace design.

[graphic in progress]


In Programming and Schematic Design phase.


Installation completed April 2004 - In USE shake-down cruize.

[graphic in progress]


In Programming and Schematic Design phase.

[graphic in progress]


In Programming and Schematic Design phase.

The number of projects has doubled in a bout a third of the time and the range of work is much broader. With this work nearly the full range of the 190s concepts and 1999 template will be realized in some form. And, with VCH executive Offices, new idioms are being created. It remains to be seen what will result from the other projects, like Master’s that are still nascent in their design development.

Matt Taylor
Palo Alto
February 25, 1999

April 17, 2004


SolutionBox voice of this document:



posted February 27, 1999

revised April 17, 2004

• 19990227.876292.mt • 19991119.382654.mt •
• 20040417.376510.mt •

(note: this document is about 65% finished)

Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 20002, 2003, 2004 Matt Taylor

DesignShop, NavCenter RadiantWall, WorkWall, RemotePresence, RemoteCollaboration, CyberConn are Trademarks of iterations and licensed to MG Taylor Corporation

Aspects of the system and method described are Patent Pending

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