Human Places for Life

“To build is to reveal your soul
To build is to engage, to act, to touch, to love
If you want a Cathedral you have to be a Cathedral builder”

[link: for full Cathedral Builder quote]

The HabitatMaker ValueWeb
researches, designs, manufactures, installs, builds, deploys and operates
affordable, sustainable environments
that augment human living
in work, play, learning, homemaking

It shares what is learned
among its members and humanity at large
in order to expand the World’s
Intellectual Capital
and thus
the range and scope of viable alternatives
to the making of human environments
from single dwellings to planetary architecture



and program
A HABITAT is that which surrounds an organism. The term implies a web of circumstances which interacts with and influences that organism - and in turn, is modified itself by the actions taken by the oranism. It is a LIVING system - never static, always evolving, occasionally transforming.

To make a truly human habitat, the dichotomies and contradictions that now exist in the design, manufacturing, building and development professions must be rethought and repracticed. The system and method of making PLACE has to be recreated.


Design and building, use and reuse through the entire life cycle of a building’s existance, economics and ecology, work productivity and recreation, energy cycles and transportation, utility and art - must be approached as a single integrated and co-operating SYSTEM.


HabitatMakers is a self-selected ValueWeb of artist-engineer-builders that MAKE truly functional and sustainable environments that are works of art. We are the nacent Cathedral Builders of the 21st Century.


The core of the HabitatMakers ValueWeb represents many professions. Many of us have been working together for over 25 years, Organizationally, as MG Taylor, Athenaeum International, the knOwhere Stores, SFIA Architects, Taylor Architecture, Imago, The ValueWeb, AI Europe. We have worked, in various network and organizational configurations, with scores of architects, builders, manufactures and developers - as well as - design schools and several hundred collaborating partner/client organizations. We employ both individual art and GROUP GENIUS to make extraordinary environments in a fraction of the time, and at substantially lower costs, than considered normal by today’s design and building “industry.” We employ LEAN - DESIGN BUILD USE - methods combined with high touch and concern for all life forms on this planet. We believe - and practice - the principle that the IDEAL and PRACTICAL are two facets of the same thing and can never be put in opposition with one another.


We work with our investors, suppliers, clients and customers as active members of our ValueWeb and partners in the entire process of making and operating physical places that create tremendous market value. We believe in free enterprise and profit but never exploitation. Sustain-ability is humanistic, economic and ecological.


Above all, we believe if making habitats cannot be both profitable and fun for all who do it then something is WRONG with the process and that this condition must be transformed by the way we think and work together. Great places to live cannot be created by a dying system made up of dying people on a dying planet.


The HabitatMakers ValueWeb function is to design and build a series of projects - for real clients willing to engage in R&D - that advance the art by a disciplined collaborative Design-Build-Use rapid prototyping process and to share the benefits of each project as agreed upon in the formation of each individual project Mission Statement and Rules-of-Engagement.

We seek partners for each project who, successful in their one right and secure in their practice, will engage in this VENTURE, with us, and take part in work - requiring special learning and effort - that advances the state-of-the-art of Human Habit while co-evolving with the Earth habitat.
Each project is intended to be cash neutral - the extra cost being intellectual capital - to the participating designer-builders with the immediate profit being what is learned, the joy of building, and any future value that can be derived from the resulting open-source-closed-nework IP when prototypes mature to become succesful commercial products and services.
The goal of each HabitatMakers project is the advancement of specific design-build methods and architectural forms - to be used for the benefit of the ValueWeb - while augmenting a partner-client’s life and work and creating concrete, publishable, broad-based, long-term social value. In do this, HabitatMakers provides and integrated, cross-functional, future-oriented, design-focused R&D function now missing in the building industry.
All building methods - ancient, modern and future - will be employed, as an appropriate mix, in each project. Quality of construction will be emphasized in equal measure with quality of design. Green methods will be employed yet not at the sacrifice of livability and abundance. The goal is to create new building grammars which incorporate a wide palette of means providing greater options not fewer.
Both organizations and individuals can participate in a project as owner, investor, sponsor, designer, architect, builder, manufacture, supplier, contractor. All will be bound by a Covenant unique to each project which establishes the general terms for everyone. Each will be engaged by a contract outlining responsibilities, commitments and expected returns. The Covenant and Contract documents will be designed to benefit the PROJECT while fairly mitigating, yet sharing risks, and delivering the specific benefits agreed upon to each member of the venture.
HabitatMakers is not a business. It is an action research organization which forms ad-hoc teams from its ValueWeb to execute specific projects relevant to its mission.
All costs, of each project are estimated in fine detail, tracked during construction and updated at the projects end. These are disclosed, in real time, to all members of the ValueWeb and published publicly at the projects completion. The Project documents - drawings, specifications and details - are made available in a similar manor. Total transparency is practiced. The organization and style of these construction documents - including final as-built drawings - are produced by the Taylor integrated D/B/U Method.
about ValueWebs
a new way of working
HabitatMakers is a network organization. It is a special kind of network organization called a ValueWeb®.
ValueWeb Architecture

The basic concept of a ValueWeb:
Making the Wealth Creating Engine

Why ValueWebs - a historical perspective:
Creating the 21st Century Organization

The architecture and components of a ValueWeb:
ValueWeb Mechanics

The ValueWeb concept was developed by me in the summer of 1985. It had it first real world test in 1995 with the F-15 Program [link: bill rutley and the f-15]. It is becoming the architecture of our entire enterprise. I have believed, since my work with the Renascence Project in the 1970s, that this kind of organizational architecture will be the organizing principle of the 21st Century. Of course the transition from traditional organizational structures to this architecture is not an easy task. One of the R&D aspects of the HabitatMakers Enterprise is to develop this way of working in a succession of incremental steps (project by project) thereby improving the ValueWeb practice along with the buildings and their construction methods.
The diagram below outlines all of the now know aspects of a viable ValueWeb system. the reading list found at the link “ValueWeb Mechanics,” above, provide the necessary background theory and practice for this Model. Click on the Model diagram to see a larger view.
Given that the ValueWeb concept is still nascent and an emerging practice and part of the R&D aspect of HabitatMakers projects, it is a far more sophisticated and mature practice than the ad-hoc system typical of construction today. It is my contentions that about 75% of total project time and often 50% of its cost is non-value-add expense. I was able to demonstrate this in the swimming pool industry in the 60s over a seven year period [link: swimming pool story]. In many respects, NASA employed a distributed network system in the Moon Program [link: swimming pools, nasa and value webs]. Unfortunately, NASA threw away the organization and kept the rocks so this social innovation has been largely overlooked. The primary work of MG Taylor, for 30 years, has been organizational transformation link: organizational transformation processes] employing the DesignShop ® and NavCenter® methods. We have had many successes involving large-scale complex organizations going through dramatic change. These methods will be employed with HabitatMakers Projects as well as good, down to earth, daily project management. While there are many opportunities for design and engineering advances, the biggest opportunity for time and money savings is to be found in the the conduct of a project and the organization of the building enterprise.
This is where we will begin...
about the MISSION
what we are and are not
HabitatMakers MISSION and Program [link: solution box model] is expressed by the symbolism [link: habitat makers masthead abscape] of the Masthead. This is a statement which declares what the purpose and goal of the enterprise is about - and, is not concerned with. It is not to say that this is the only way to practice architecture or that the projects which will be under taken are the only important ones to consider. It is to say that there are specific issues to be resolved and capacities to be developed which HabitatMakers is formed to address. To ignore this is to approach the project in a wrong-headed way. To keep the mission and program in mind is to be ready to give the most value and derive the most benefit from the experience of building a HabitatMakers project.

The four sections of the Masthead each convey and aspect of the HabitatMakers Mission and agenda.

The VISION - what we call the THERE - is to create a viable practice of Planetary Architecture which will include space habitats. The iconic Earth-Moon picture and the Taylor icon for vision conveys this relationship.

The TEMPLATE - the form the vision is recreated into as a design - is the ValueWeb Model - the organizational architecture we will employ to achieve the Mission.

The Leopard Studio is the first of a series of WORKS that will build a new Design, Build, Use capacity necessary to creating a sustainable quality-cost equation that is a significant improvement than achievable today while accomplishing two goals: a synthesis of ancient to modern architectural qualities and a synthesis of financial and ecological results.

The specific FEEDBACK loop of this Program is the progressive advancement toward the ability to build the Xanadu Project which is both symbol and tool for the effective making of Planetary Architecture.

click on each graphic to reach each program
about WorthyProjects
the criteria for selecting work
The WorthyProjects executed by HabitatMakers will range from a single room-sized project to planetary architecture of immense scale including the development of near-space habitats. Each of these projects will be new for their kind and involve the development of capacities not common at the time of their doing. Once they are “known,” and capable of scaling, they will pass out of the R&D focus of HabitatMakers and on to other organizational venues. The list of projects, below will no doubt change over time as circumstances evolve. These are the major candidates at present.
It is the criteria for selction the projects which is important here. Expereince may evolve these criteia yet it is likely that the princilples and intetions which are behind their statement will remain consistant:
HabitatMakers Projects will always involve a balanced ValueWeb of Owner-Customer(s), Producer(s) and Investor(s).
Habitatmakers Projects will always involve a balance of innovations: architectural, design and engineering/project management work processes, construction techniques, concerns of economic and ecological fitness, market product potential, customer/client use(s), and future research.
HabitatMakers Projects will always involve a balance of designer, artisans, engineers, craft-persons working collaboratively to produce a work of sustainable, affordable architectural art.
HabitatMakers Projects will always involve a design strategy that moves the art along the line described from the Leopard Studio to Xanadu. Each project will advance the art in learning, documentation, design, document production and management, engineering, production, and use. Repeating efforts will be avoided. A MATRIX of characteristics will be developed and employed to choose projects. Generally, a systematic increase in complexity and size will be followed.
HabitatMakers Projects will always be fit into the Global Master Plan process to build toward a sum greater than the parts.
HabitatMakers Projects will always be accessible in real time by the public consistent with real client privacy requirements and broadly published, upon completion, in full detail. Any retained IP will be licensed and made available in noncommercial forms/realms at non usury cost and socially reasonable terms.
HabitatMakers will constitute a broad based socially representative governance board of qualified yet otherwise not involved individuals of independent disposition and means.
The distribution of IP rights will be determined, on a project-by-project basis prior to the beginning of physical work. All claims of participating team members will be resolved before the value is created.
I have said the (un)real estate (non)industry is essentially without a comprehensive, systematic RD&D program [link: real estate development] which systemically - and ethically - advances the state-of-the-art across the entire spectrum of Design/Build (manufacture)/Use [future link:]. Lacking this, the building INDUSTRY is hardly a 20th Century practice let alone a 21st Century one. The damage to the psyche of the Human Race and the ecology of Planet Earth is so extensive it cannot even be measured. Such R&D there is focuses its attention primarily on product development followed by structural methods/materials with building processes far behind. Design practices are largely disconnected from these efforts. Every part of the system is optimized in isolation of the majority of the other parts with virtually no reference to the system as a whole neither considering means or ends. The consequence is accelerating costs, declining value, and the obliteration of the landscape resulting in a vast propagation of buildings that are economically and ecologically non-sustainable, and the almost total absence of authentic art by any standard that this can be judged by the criteria of the last 10,000 years. Many valuable and noble alternatives are now proliferating, yet, these also are all focused on improving parts of the system while ignoring the whole. The total result of all of these efforts - good and bad - is a mindless rush to turning our planet into an asphalt-covered sterile human-artifact - devoid of life - that, as near as I can tell, no one wants or condones.
WorthyProjects keep the whole in mind while advancing capability of strategic systemic elements that can be found in a specific work and also in a wide variety of other projects. It does not take thousands of tries to get it right. It takes a small number of projects that cover the right ground, unearth the right solutions, are connected to the right networks of projects and are documented [link: 20,000 steps] properly.
This then, is the criteria behind the criteria.
Each of us, like everyone else, has to maintain a “portfolio” of interests and projects. The mix will be different for each of us depending on our situation and personal goals. HabitatMakers provides a means for those in the design-building realms to have a means to do systematic research and learning while isolating the attendant risks and costs from their intact businesses. These projects can yield valuable knowledge that can be brought back to more mainstream efforts while also building the capacity to move to more long term viable ventures at a faster pace then otherwise would be possible. There remains, also, the possibility of a breakthrough technology, project or idea that can be of direct economic benefit to those who produce it. While not the aim of the enterprise, it certainly can be the time-to-time consequence.
Related WorthyProjects

The idea and argument for Planetary Architecture:
Planetary Architecture - 1 of 3
Planetary Architecture - 2 of 3
Planetary Architecture - 3 of 3

A Project to bring Planet Earth into the decision making processes of the Human race - as a partner, neither subordinate nor dominate:
The Gaia Project

The THERE of the MG Taylor Venture - When Xanadu exists, along with the networks that will be necessary to support it, the present phase of MG taylor’s work will have be complete and we will have put in place the capacity to deal with global, system problems as well as the tool-kit to facilitate Planetary Architecture:

Along the way to Xanadu, and even afterward, there will have to be an isolated “retreat” environment where issues the scale of Planetary Architecture and Worthy Projects can be research and supported:
Crystal Cave

The first step on the path to Xanadu [future link] also a project important onto itself: an intimate work environment for an individual based on an explicit way-of-working - it all begins here:
Leopard Studio - Preliminary Design
Leopard Studio - Design

A deployable housing for the RDS [link:rds] and a prototype of a 21st Century learning environment - is there anything more important? See the Masters Academy and College application due September 2008:
Snowflake RDS [link coming]

Promoting green, sustainable, economic/ecological living :
Livability Project Prototype [link coming]

The first prototype of a 21st Century learning system:
21st Century School Prototype [link coming]

To live on a single planet is to promote a potentially caltrop single-point-of-failure strategy - problems cannot be solved only on the scope of recursion upon which they are generated:
Space Habitats

and self selecting in or out
To some, the idealism of HabitatMakers will seem impractical perhaps even offensive. This is fine. I am not asking you to change. I am asking you to decide if - and how, if you do - you engage with HabitatMakers projects. Just remember the idealism is not going away so it is better for you not to run aground on this sand bar. I made my choice many years ago and see no reason to change in this regard [link: to hold - 2000]. I bring this idealisms to all my works and organizational efforts. Each of these, however, is shaped for different contexts and situations. While compromise is not part of any of them, each is carefully crafted to work in different segments of our society. They accept certain conditions, endemic to each segment, and bring the highest vision to the work we do in them. HabitatMakers is purposefully extreme - the way any research organization is and must be to be viable. Practical economics is not involved except that it is the goal of every project not to lose money and to understand, in the deep sense, the true economics of the projects that are built this way. Projects we do in other venues are expected to make a profit. This is not the goal of HabitatMakers. The goal is to create Intellectual Capital - and to share it in pragmatic and just ways. The goal is to advance the state of the art as much as possible. The goal is to learn as much as possible and to create works that are the highest expression of the architectural art. The goal is to build capacity so that Worthy Projects [link: worthy problems] can be accomplished. The goal is to be be able - someday - to build Xanadu.
You do not have agree with every specific of these goals. Your goals may be different. They do have to be compatible, however, for you to work HabitatMakers Projects and to take value out of that effort. You may find my goals attractive and worth working for. You may discover that yours will be served if we pull the same wagon with me down the road awhile. Find your value in these efforts and contribute what you can and take away from each project what we all have agreed is to be taken. The basic thesis of habitatmakers is an invariant - everything else is an open system.
It should not have to be said but in a world of such deep philosophical confusion I have to: I am not talking about, as being invariant, concrete issues of design and engineering - nor, about the best way to build and organize a project. There is always more to learn here and vigorous debate and rigorous testing about such things is welcome in this community. It is the mission, purpose, principles, ethics and standards of which I speak which are not for sale. And, as many seem to, I do not believe that the practical and the ideal are in opposition to one another. It is simply a fact that we have chosen to build a society where this is apparently the case. A part of the HabitatMakers Mission is to show otherwise. We all see things differently and we all understand the same words in different ways. There are bound to be conflicts and misunderstandings. These can be resolved with good will and dialog. One reason for organizing the enterprise around projects is that they support specific agreements to do specific work and projects are short in duration. If we have made a mistake in joining, it is not forever nor are huge assects co-mingled and difficult to extract. A project has a beginning and and end and is has specific tasks and roles. It has a CC and C system and a project management regime. The Covent and Agreements will be carefully rendered - as will drawings and specifications - so that expectations and obligations of everyone are made as clear as possible. This is an important goal of the enterprise. All this in place, the task which remains is simple: do what has been agreed to and work solely for the benefit of the project. After successful execution of the project, there is time for feedback and learning and this is when the benefits of the work - if any - will be distributed and shared. If the work is done poorly - no benefits, by definition. If done properly, money risk will be minimal. It is time and the investment of passion that is at risk with these projects.
HabitatMakers projects are not about making money. There are several reasons for this. The focus of these projects is to radically increase value and quality while massively reducing costs. The focus is genuine cost reduction not cost cutting by cheeping the product. This kind of effort is difficult in the default-business-arrangements dominate today. The lessons from this action research will have great value when applied to for-profit projects in other venues. Profit making is one of the most confused issues of our present society. I believe profit is a necessity for any living system to live - it is natural. I have no problem with it. Indeed, I have always supported the concept. I do have a profound difference in what is, today, considered profit and the terms and conditions within which it is expected to be achieved. I consider it a consequence - and a good one - not a legitimate goal - not a reason for doing something but the reward of having done it well. Sorry about that but Ayn Rand got hold of me when I was young and impressionable. Therefore, I want to keep profit out of these projects and focus on delivering maximum value for minimum cost to our client-partner, leaning as much as possible and building as great a storehouse of Intellectual Capital as possible which will be the wellspring of future for-profit ventures outside of the HabitatMakers ValueWeb. In turn, HabitatMakers will not become an operating company, it will not repeat project types after they are mature and understood. It will be a vehicle for passing knowledge and methods to society in general and to HabitatMakers members in specific as agreed to project-by-project.
further exploring Habitat Maker’s viewpoint

Alternative to common residential architecture practices:
The postUsonian Project

A criticism of common economic attitudes and practices: 12 Aspects of UpDideDown Economics

A criticism of common real estate practices:
Paradigm Shift - Real Estate Development

a little HISTORY
where this came from and an invitation
HabitatMakers was concived by me in a DesignShop ® event at the Palo Alto knOwhwere Srore in 2001. It was the main feature on my Take-a-panel™ exercise to define the future direction of MG Taylor. The accumulating consequenses of 9/11 and the .Com meltdown inhibited the advancement of this aspect of our enterprise. Now, in June of 2007, the first project - the Leopard Studio - is underway. Two follow-on projects have been identified. Timing is important in the global sense: are we responding to change as we should [link: a future by...]? Timing on the level of an enterprise has to be conducted in a way relvant to that enterprises natural evolution. In this regard, habitatMakers is in syc with both MG Taylor and my personal life-cycle [future link].
So, here is the “Bird Call.” If you are attracted to this enterprise after working through the deliberately placed filters and attractors, please get involved. My contact information is below.

Matt Taylor
Palo Alto
October 4, 2001


SolutionBox voice of this document:


posted: October 4, 2001

revised: June 4, 2007
• 20011044.372524.mt • 20011005.231116.mt •
• 20021013.284400.mt • 20040210.265542.mt •
• 20070528.767810.mt • 20070603.671245. mt •

• 20070604.209911.mt •

(note: this document is about 95% finished)

• Matt Taylor 615 720 7390 • me@matttaylor.com
• Copyright© Matt Taylor 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007

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