The year summaries, in this biography, are usually written with the perspective of many years, and in some cases, decades. Not in this case. 2002 is a commencement year - an ending and a beginning; I am writing it in real time. This is both a summary and a forecast. It is written with the knowledge that a different path is ahead then behind. This transition is as great a “breakpoint” for me as were those in 1961, 1971, 1979, 1982 and 1985 with one major exception; this one will be a smooth one with no trauma and nothing left behind, left undone. And, the material aspects of it, the physical doing, will take up a fair portion of 2003.
It is now possible to look at the next cycle of work as an “end game” of long duration and sustained payoff. This requires a different approach to life-work style, use of assets, relationships and work focus. I have already made most of these shifts even though all the external circumstances necessary to support theses changes are not yet in place. This facts of this is how I know that the transition has come even though there are details remaining to be engineered.
In terms of the work ahead, the scale and scope of it is staggering. It certainly involves much bigger leaps than any I have accomplished in the past. So why the confidence? Not so much confidence as the understanding that the “real” issues can now be addressed. It is not some much that there is proof the game can be won but that now, at least, it can be played.
2001 accomplishments...
relationship to the past...
future scenarios ...
My intention remains the same. My focus is much sharper than before. Many paths lead here and many flow from here. Now, it is a matter of choosing one and pursuing it to the end. They are all good ones, these paths; almost any one will do. All will serve my agenda although in different ways. Choosing is simply a practical thing; a necessity. It engages reality, and in doing this, provokes response. Over a lifetime of work a number of projects have emerged, faded, reemerged and now constitute a body of work - that when built - will make a life’s work. These, in total, are worthy of effort and will add value to the storehouse of human knowledge. There has been a great deal of heuristic searching in my process; apparent starts and stops; what now STANDS as an agenda excites me and brings me energy. “Creativity is the process of elimination options” - I have eliminated what is not “me” and what is left to do is what I wish to make and give - and celebrate, as my sense of humanity and its potential. That which does not fit here, I choose, now, to ignore - others can deal with these things - I have my path.
I decided to become an architect 50 years ago and took my first job in architecture 46 years ago. It has taken me this long to define what that decision means, and in the process, to define a new practice of architecture. I started with a focus on buildings, I ended up spending most of my time on processes and systems: discovering how buildings are made and how they fit into the whole of the human-built and natural environment. This quest has opened an entirely new vista for me - the implications of which are just now becoming clear. After a normal lifetime of work, I find myself at the the beginning. Buildings are not the point, it turns out; important, but not the point. And, it is no longer a matter of human-made buildings in a natural landscape; the scope of architecture, today, is the entire artifact called Planet Earth. Architecture is not only a work of art and the expression of a single artist, it is a social art and the expression of and shaper of a culture - you cannot have one without the other. Architecture has not been defined (other than a metaphor) nor practiced in these terms (other than by default). How we think about land as property, money as wealth and energy and transportation infrastructure, it turns out, has a far greater impact on what architecture we build than factors related to those things we normally think about as making the basis of architecture. The architecture of human organizations and work processes define our built environment more than architects do. The default (hidden) design assumptions about the nature of life, society, enterprise and what is a human habitat have been remarkably resistant to change - we seem to be playing out an agent drama on a modern stage but the story remains essentially the same. Architecture, like so many other professions, has become a star-focused systems with “names” and movements and controversy - anything but thought and the making of serious, useful, life-supporting art. The means for creating architecture have greatly advanced, the appropriate climate in which to do it is nearly completely gone. All of these conditions are of a cloth; architecture reflects society; what we are building today is the consequence of what we have become since World War II. We have become a consumer society and what we are consuming is a planet, all life on it and our future. We have become the slave to our own creations.
It is a long road, by human measures, from the world of the 1950s to today. A short one in the history of life.
The vast majority of people seem to live without a purpose and a set of stated goals. I cannot understand this and could never do it. I admit that I sometime envy those who do not. There is much in life that is pleasurable just in the living of it. I have though about this - and struggled - but always come back to a set of things I just want to do.

Matt Taylor
October 2, 2002



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posted: December 20, 2002

revised: January, 2003

• 20021220.343305.mt • 20030108.358611.mt •

(note: this document is about 5% finished)

Matt Taylor 650 814 1192


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