Joseki Group

Layout - Matt Taylor May 12, 2002

Work Environment



This is a small office that is designed to serve a complex purpose at a modest cost. It is to be built in a temporary space - the lease is 18 months. This means the minimum of “throw away” leasehold improvements. The environment has to support several different business functions and a number of people working remotely.


My main contact on the project is Stan Leopard. He is a strategist and entrepreneur. Along with consulting he provides capital and “hands on” guidance for expansion and/or restructuring/transformation of mid-sized, mid-tech companies who’s competitive advantage and core enterprise value is not based only in the technology but application of technology or using technology to compete. He is intending to raise a fund for seed capital and this environment must support this process. Stan, also, is an advisor to me and MGT. This project then, from my standpoint, is to support an “Inner Clam Shell” member who supports me. It is quid pro quo. This is not a fee project. My desire is that all available budget goes into the project to accomplish the best value possible. I am asking my Design/Build ValueWeb to support me to the maximum degree possible in achieving this goal.


There is, however, something in it for us. There is an entire layer of the office market that, for pricing and scheduling reasons, does not get good design nor quality workmanship. This is, potentially, a vast market. I have always said that accomplishing good design is not a matter of cost and that a ValueWeb can take 75% of the time and 50% of the cost out of construction. This is the first test case of our Bay Area vemture. My goal is to develop a “grammar” much like Wright’s Usonian houses did. This grammar is to address the typical problems generic to standard builder office spaces. The Joseki Offices can be an example of a new approach to basic officing.


Stan has recently downsized from a large house to a Menlo Park apartment within walking distance of his office. This is a life style decision and the ambiance of downtown Menlo Park is a key aspect of how this work environment must work. The key words here are: simple, graceful, unpretentious, affordable. In today’s economy, opportunity is afforded to those who do not over burden themselves with unnecessarily overhead. This does not mean, however, that this is to be a drab or ugly environment - or a common one. It has to express taste, flexibility of function, fun and a collegial atmosphere.


Richard Koski is Stan’s associate and runs a business of their’s that provides IT consulting and services to start up, medium sized companies and VCs. This business will be housed in this facility. This, and Stan’s other interests promotes a variety of activities all of which have to act seamlessly in a small space.


The project has a strict time and cost budget. From initiation to move in was less than 30 days from when we first discussed it. The actual time from assembling the D/B Team to move in is ten days. Some work will continue after the move-in. Move-in, however, means a clean space that is fully functional with minimal interruptions related to any post-move-in work. Because of the short lease period, only the minimum is to be done to the basic office shell. By choice, not necessity, the overall cost is to be kept to a minimum - a little over $15,000. These factors - while making a difficult design and construction challenge - are the appeal of the project. They promote fresh thinking, creative responses and precise execution. Any wasted effort or time materially impacts the outcome.


This documentation is being produced in real time as my principle means of both communicating with and incorporating the work and feedback of the design-build team and members of Stan’s office (all together who make up the complete project ValueWeb). I will be away during most of this project, starting the Vanderbilt and SDC projects, so this will be a test of many practice models from my architectural course, as well as, the nascent but growing “Habitat Makers” ValueWeb that is growing in the Bay Area.




Reviewing the Basic Concept


The plan is divided into Zones that interact with one another: The greater or lesser permeability, transparency and inner-operability of each space is carefully chosen based on function and the needs of the individuals and teams who perform those functions.
The Reception Area has a diagonal bias, a sitting niche, can be engaged from Ericka Sykes’ work area and directly leads to Stan (left), Rick (right) or the Design Room and Team work areas ( doors at the right of Ericka).
Stan’s Space is formed by sliding shoji panels up to door height and fixed glass above. Panels on the upper left open to his assistant’s area whose work wing can roll into Stan’s space. At the upper right is a 3-panel curve WorkWall. The long wall to the left is an art galley.
Stan’s Assistant’s Work Area is formed by sliding shoji screens that open to the hall way and to Stan’s space. This way both he and Stan have inner-operability and privacy as required.

Rick’s Place is located off the Reception and adjacent to Ericka’s Area (who is his assistant). Out his door and right leads to areas primarily dedicated to supporting operations he supervises.

The Design Room
The Team Work Area is a stand up height four person work station that functions in two modes: with privacy partitions up, it creates work four niches; with the screens down, it serves as a large group table. Speaker phone connections and power for laptops are built-in.
The Team Quite Room provides three computer work station areas in an acoustically isolated space.
The KWIB is at the heart of the entire office and functions as the “bridge” of the operation. Ericka has a refuge that, at the same time, looks out and engages all the surrounding spaces and functions.
Server Room


Matt Taylor
May 12, 2002
Palo Alto


SolutionBox voice of this document:


Building ValueWebs • ValueWeb Communities

posted: May 12, 2002

revised: May 22, 2002
• • • •

Copyright© Matt Taylor 2001, 2002



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