Collaboration Studio
Creating the School of the Future...
Radiant Room a few minutes before
the Master’s Board members arrived
Sunday, 09/19/04 Notes:
Substantial completion of the design, manufacturing, construction and installation phase of the Collaboration Studio was accomplished Monday September 20, 2004. There were, of course, some items to be finished over the next two weeks. I arrived on site Tuesday the 21st to help with set up; the use of the environment commenced with teacher, student and parent sessions Thursday and Friday conducted by Gail, myself and Tom Rudmik, Master’s founder. DesignShop preparations took place over the weekend and the first DesignShop was conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The focus of this DesignShop was: the School of the Future; the new Master’s Campus (and the ongoing development and migration from the existing one); the creation of the ENTERPRISE that will take what is created in the project Phases [link] to a global scale. There were other celebrations and events to follow the DesignShop. This period, through October 7th, will launch both the conceptual work and the capital campaign for the new school.
This web page documents these proceedings. These activities are the launch of a NavCenter which is both a serious task and a celebration. Initial steps are important as they set the precedent for all that follows. This process is a time of intense discovery. No matter how thoroughly planned these environments, they are always full of surprises and hidden potentials. NavCenters are emergent as is the process that takes place within them.
The following e-mail written on September 18th to Paul Graham sets a context for this process. The reference to layers [link] was in response to his surprise as the installation of the WorkFurniture pieces started to achieve an uncommon, in his experience, measure of environmental synergy.

Sat, 18 Sep 2004 05:41:24 EDT
Subject: Re: work in progress -

This approach uses layers of architectural elements until a place is created that is simple and complex at the same time. Anywhere you stand, there is foreground, middle-ground and background. Prospect and refuge. The layering is three dimensional -- up and down as well as horizontal. This makes the space seem intimate and expansive at the same time. There is interest everywhere -- all the senses are stimulated. The lighting will be variable and provide shade and shadow like a forest. There is no distinction between utility and art. The iconic references are not traditional so the environment becomes itself (self-aware, “complete”) with connections to other idioms without being a mere collection of them. This specific design is “edgy” -- it pushes the envelop (literally) it is what you want people to be when the work in it. It is supportive but “unforgiving.” It demands. It requires that you be alert. Yet, there will a niche in it, somewhere, where almost everyone will find a “home” to feel protected and safe.

This room, then, is time out of time, a world of its own and a place to design new worlds. To act conventionally within it would be a rebuke. In this it is a religious space (to connect back). You cannot bring and hold a day-to-day mentality within it. This is an active, living art that you work in. It wants your best. It gives what it asks for. It says that the greatest demands can be met and that the best within you can find expression. You must tap into yourself and find what only you have and bring it as a gift to the world.

Because it is so compact and tight, you are connected intimately with everyone else in the environment. This stresses GroupGenius® even though people may be working on “different” things. It also is a memory. Can you think back now to what these two rooms were, what they stood for and what happened within them? How does this seem? How does this make you think about the path we are on?

We have to operate this space as a sacred place. A place where the highest aspirations are conceived, engineered and made real. Ideas birthed and “practiced” so that they can go out into a world that may be hostile to them yet survive, sustained by the memory of their conception.

I pushed everyone to their limits with this project. It is a small room but it is full of latent ideas and dreams. It is a symbol of Master’s -- the Master’s of today and of tomorrow. A celebration of what has been done and a symbol of what is to be done.

It is a tribute to you and Tom that you have been able to ride this Tiger and bring it to a safe harbor. It took a great deal of trust and integrity. It is just now that what is being created is beginning (just a little) to show itself. There was -- is -- no way to explain it on paper. Over the next couple of weeks, we will breath life into our little creation as it helps us imagine our future. There will be no way to explain that either. But now we have a room that can hold the memory.


Tuesday, September 21st Notes:

I arrived arrived in Calgary 5:30 pm. Paul picked me up and we drove directly to Master’s. Tom, Paul, Jeff and I reviewed the the Collaboration Studio and did an informal punch list of things to fix and projects to do later after the DesignShop. The environment was still not cleaned up as final work was still going with a number of trades: painting, electrical, hardware for the entry doors and so on. We decided to delay the raised seating installation was until after the DesignShop due to the risk that it might not be completed prior to the event. There were a number of small problems to be addressed with only one built flaw - we worked out some adjustments for this that brought it into an acceptable range. Not a bad result given that the team was new, the time pressure of the project was intense and the complexity of the design was high. I am very pleased with the result. This is going to be a great space once it is “practiced.” We set Wednesday as the day to work through punch list items, do cleaning, plant, art and book buying, and setting them in place; and, designing and getting set up for the first use with students and teachers on Thursday. Gail and Patsy arrived late Tuesday to be part of the planning process for the Thursday and Friday sessions as well as the DesignShop walk through process over the weekend. Most of the KnowledgeWorkers were scheduled for Friday and Saturday arrivals.

We toured the Imagination Studio which is almost finished and then went to dinner - our last moment of relaxation and celebration before a week and a half of intense but fun work.
Wednesday, September 22nd Notes:
I reviewed the next several days with Tom and met with the builder team members to go over remaining details and punch list items. There remained a number of items to finish however the space began to take shape as revealed by the picture above. For the first time we wrote on the walls (our schedule) and the Hayworth chairs (new for us) were rolled out. I got the space partially set up and the final clean up crew started late afternoon. Gail got into town at 3:30 pm and met with teachers to plan the first session with students which took place Thursday at 1:00 pm - the first use of the Collaboration Studio, the first NavCenter in a school. Jeff Graham and I when shopping for plants which arrived Thursday afternoon just-in-time to be in placed for the Master’s Board members preview at 7:30 pm. When we left for diner, the entry doors were being hung and made ready for glazing, the painter was applying final coats and touch up here and there. The two photos (above and below) were taken about 4:30 in the afternoon. Bed time was 11:42 pm ending a totally satisfactory day. Thursday started at 5:30 am.
Thursday, September 23d Notes:
Thursday: a day of first use. The 5th grade class came in to work a project they have with National Geographic. The Master’s Board and key supporters came in the evening. The two sessions combined to produce a memorial day.
5th graders at work
the first uses of the Master’s Collaboration Studio
the first NavCenter in a School
setup for the Board members (past and present)
Entry way prior to the arrival of Master’s Board members. The light tube above the rolling book case is showing late afternoon September sun. In background is the “Teacher’s Lounge” portion of the Collaboration Studio. This can be accessed by a separate door when the folding panels between it and the Entry and the WorkWall to the Radiant Room are all closed. The Studio has ENTRY yet this configuration also can be rearranged in a variety of ways as required by the work while maintaining its function.
The intersection between Jeff’s POD and the entry into the Radian Room (when the Radiant Wall has its back to the front area). This is the first introduction to vertical space. The plants arrived and had been placed in their new home an hour before the evening ceremony began. Books arrived a matter of minutes before our guests. Plants bring life to the environment; books, intellect, challenge and history. Everything in a NavCenter has utility, contributes to the aesthetic of place and delivers a distinct message.
The first Board members arrive in the early evening. Gail and Tom are in the foreground helping to introduce the environment. The entry to the Radiant Room shown above is just to the right of this scene - Both prospect and refuge is abundantly present throughout the space.
Tom showing the main skylight. “When I see people’s surprise and delight upon encountering features such as this I do not know to laugh or cry. Where have we got to that the amenity of natural light brought to the center of a space is unusual and special?
Snacks under the dome. The focused acoustical effect of the dome was noted. The raised natural carpet sitting area will not be installed after the DesignShop. When it is completed, the feeling of this part of the space will be that of a casual, relaxed place for dialog, reading and thought.
Tom introduced the room and give his thanks for the significant contribution made by the many people necessary to make this happen. Gail and I shared stories of MG Taylor’s history and what the purpose of the Studio is. The coming DesignShop goals were reviewed. There followed a dialog on why the Studio was designed as it is and comments by the Board.
At the end of both the student and Board sessions we asked what the space said to them. The 5th graders: Everywhere I look I see design. And, the last time I was in this room it was a presentation room; we were presented to; now, we are the presentation. Another, I like the wood, my family is into wood - it is our tradition; it is the grain. And, the space goes on and on one place leading into another - it never ends. Board Members: This is a safe place. I am relaxed here. It is peaceful. With both groups there were many questions about the “blue fins” (on the Armature [link]) which lead to a lively discussion about acoustics, refracting light, color spectrum, layers of prospect and refuge and the pattern: “room within a room.”
There were two aspects of these experiences that stood out. First, that the 5th graders and the Board members understood the space more or less equally. Second, that both appreciated the result for the right reasons. Both had a very sophisticated understanding of what was done and why. Of course this pleased me no end. It also made me wonder why there is so much architecture” being built that in no way expresses the principles that we discussed. How can this be?
Friday, September 24th Notes:
A Teacher Development Day; the staff was introduced to the Collaboration Studio and, in the afternoon, worked in teams further developing projects that evolved out of last years DesignShop (an RDS in the Gym).

This was a good day but perhaps not as powerful as it could have been. We (MG Taylor and Master’s Sponsors) simply did not have the time to plan it out. There was more Explaining than necessary and not as much Experience as there could have been. The Five Es of Education [link: the 5 es of education] were not as balanced as I would have wished. That said, the day ended with a great deal of energy and both the projects and understanding of the Collaboration Studio’s mission were advanced. The Story of Matt and Gail and of MG Taylor Corporation was told and this is an important aspect of passing on the tradition of a NavCenter. The teachers that participated in the DesignShop, and those who supported the event as KnowledgeWorkers, will have a much better sense of the Collaboration Studio and how to use it. They are the first wave of transfer.

The Teachers had a debrief session the Friday after the DesignShop to discuss it and to review rules-of-engagement for use of the Studio

Saturday, September 25th Notes:
This was day of organizing the environment for the DesignShop; KnowledgeWorkers arriving and a full Sponsor Design Session for the event was conducted mid day. We started work on SCAN Modules creating a “Red Thread” [vw_members_link] based on a number of themes central to the DesignShop focus.
The Master’s senior administrative staff, Gail and I went to diner to celebrate our start and to dialog regarding the work to come.
Wall scribing for the
DesignShop StrawDog
Sunday, September 26th Notes:

We started the day with a StrawDog that was built from the Saturday Sponsor session. The design held up with just a few modifications. This made the Sunday Sponsor session easy.

More plants were purchased and set into the space and different layouts tried out to match the StrawDog. Other than the simple set ups used for the students on Thursday the Teachers day on Friday, this was the first exploration of how the space can be adjusted, in real time, to support the work within. Finally, the lighting was adjusted for the various anticipated uses.
Remarkably, given that fact that we were both bringing up a NavCenter and designing a DesignShop, we all managed to get back to the hotel by 11 pm. Given the activities of the prior days, we were all ready for bed. For many of us, this was the third DesignShop within a month all held in different cities - there had been no step down time for most of the team.
Monday, September 27th Notes:
Day One - SCAN - of the first DesignShop in the Collaboration Studio. It is not easy to describe any DesignShop let alone this one. Weeks ago, when we sent out the invitations to this event we did not know how this group would “assemble” itself. Master’s put out the “bird call” to a diverse number of people the majority of which did not know one another. At first, it looked like the attendance would be scanty. Then the energy started to build and those attending turned out to be almost perfect for the work that we had to do. At the beginning, Tom charged us with creating a revolution in learning and so the work began.
How magic this group turned out to be became apparent with the first exercise. We asked everyone to take a HyperTile and think about and write who they were and what unique gifts they brought to this emerging community. Each participant “played” their Glass Bead [link] on the Radiant Wall [link] - each building off each other’s Tiles. This first exercise demonstrated that we had a critical mass in the room necessary for accomplishing our task [link].
After this “introduction” to ourselves, we moved on to creating a Scenario of the past, present and future. This work always reveals the (sometimes hidden) Design Assumptions that a group brings to their work. There is no question that this assemblage of people are underestimating the scope and rate of change coming in the future; What is clear from their work, however, is the positive attitude and creative response they bring to the challenge of the future and the depth of the values they hold. These are far more important factors than any “technical understanding” of the future. After the group Scenario, teams developed the scenario further, wrote and explored Scenario Challenges in which various “what ifs” were presented and answered. Then, each individual did Take-A-Panel and presented their perspective on the future of education, Master’s Campus and the use and exist strategy of the existing Master’s facility. Included in this exercise where questions related to the development of the ENTERPRISE necessary to accomplish what we are aiming for.

One of the things that always fascinates me about people in DesignShops is how beautiful they are when they are fully engaged in a collaborative, creative process, They come alive in ways that are (unfortunately) not common to the daily workplace.

This difference, between the “normal” work environment and the NavCenter, is dramatic and becomes more so as time progresses. This can be seen in body language, facial expression, tone of voice and the intensity of focus over extended hours of work.

Tom started the event with an overview of Master’s vision and a challenge to all to recreate the concept of learning in the 21st Century.

The Glass Bead Game reports revealed the high level of creativity and artistic talent among the participant-designers. This is not unusual. However, this module drew it out quickly and made it apparent to all.

It always amazes me how little time we spend, as a society, thinking about the future. Our focus becomes ever shorter even as the impacts of what we do reaches out further and further into the future. We are compiling a greater and greater inventory of social liabilities most of which could have been avoided without paying a very great price. Now, the bills are coming due and they look to be enormous. And, at the same time, we continue to underutilize the enormous assets we have created.

A critical part of the SCAN is to get everyone to be come clear on just what their view of the future is and and their vision of it also. We want them to share these viewpoints, and play with the implications of them, before taking on, directly, the work that they “came here to do.”

Sometimes this is resisted as a waste of time. As if a few hours of unfettered thinking about the world we are creating is not practical. This group embraced the exercise and took it on with a high level of gusto - “This Future Is For You!” (to turn a phrase.

This first sharing is intimate. Everyone has the opportunity to express themselves and their agenda without interruption or debate. A common language is built in an unforced way; mutual respect gained as each learns the depth and nuance of each other’s experience and thinking.

This is a liberating experience and one not typically found in the modern workplace where the creed of utilitarianism still rules. It is the UTILITY of where we are headed as a society that I most question [link].

Progressively, unnoticed, the SCAN gets more specific - it is a genital glide from “abstract” issues to circling around the work at hand until it lands directly on it at the of the day. By this time most of the participant-designers have worked together in small teams. They have now been “introduced.” everyone has their own unique approach to creative work. Unfortunately, in a group, the “styles” most often clash. What the DesignShop does is to offer a process that is natural and aligns the creative energy of each participant-designer so that they become synchronized. Content is left free. Energy is channeled.

By the end of the day the energy is focused and the teams are working to articulate their VISION of education and the Master’s opportunity. The journey has begun.

The first test of space flexibility came early in the DesignShop in the Group Scenario exercise. The Scenario had a deliberately (designed) loose time line. The past and the present sections of it filled the entire curved Radiant Wall (which is six, four feet panels in this facility). There was no space for the future, the most important aspect of this exercise. I asked the participants to roll their chairs over to one side of the room and pulled the twenty foot folding WorkWall out - the exercise continued without hardly a pause. This was a dramatic demonstration of space configuring to the work rather than the usual circumstance of the work process conforming to the space. For the Collaboration Studio we specified a Hayworth rolling, stack-able chair. This is the first “modern” chair [link] we have found that meets our requirements and also extends the flexibility factor [link]. I am sure we will use it again in other projects now under development [link].
After reporting the work from the earlier Modules, the participants where rearranged (yet again) into new teams and asked to develop their vision of learning in the 21st Century, of Master’s, the new school, what can be done to the existing facility and the what kind of enterprise we needed to build in order to have global impact. They worked on this until 8 pm, slept on it, developed the work further Tuesday morning and reported it out at 9 am to start Day Two. This completed the Scan and set the stage for Focus.
Tuesday, September 28th Notes:
Day Two - FOCUS. The purpose of the Focus day is to Create the Problem. This is true in every DesignShop. Often “the problem” is confused with conditions [link]. Too often, people think that the problem is the barriers that they face. To us, a problem is a “good” thing and it is composed of the following parts: a clear vision of where you want to be; understanding of your present positions; an accurate accounting of the blocks that are in your way and the assets that you possess ; a design strategy to overcome, circumvent, neutralize or turn to advantage these blocks; and, defined projects - the completion of which - make the design strategy actionable. A “good” problem is definable, solvable, useful when solved and something that you have a great deal of passion to do. Without this passion, the inevitable “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” will win.
The design of Day Two was simple. Finish the VISION Design team work from Day One and report it out. Then, have a group dialog - our first. Break into Design teams to look at each of our subject areas: 21st Century Learning, the New Campus, the Existing Campus potential and Exit Strategies, the Enterprise (necessary to do the project and to scale the effort), the Learning Environment (in general), the Learning Process (in general) and Learning Tools (in general). The teams worked, reported their results and we had another group dialog on the implications of what was emerging. We then did Why it Won’t Work and went into new Teams to Create the Problem in general and subject area terms.
The Designer Participants went home at 6 pm (what I call a MSD: miserably short day!) and several stayed to work with some Master’s friends and parents to refine ideas related to the capital campaign scheduled to launch on October 7th.

There are many fears that people can legitimately hold in regards the prospect of truly collaborating on a complex and multiyear project. It is easy, in the prevalent social world that now exists, for the results of creative genius to be robbed and compromised by the system in place. I shared an example of this [link] as an out come we were not going to experience.

This unfortunate reality is a consequence of the structure in which most work. STRUCTURE WINS and this structure is largely designed by default. To design an alternative, people must be in an alternative and this fact makes up the essence of what A DesignShop is about.

The FOCUS process is always a roller coaster ride. In SCAN, we often challenge the participant/designers to rethink their paradigm. In FOCUS, they challenge themselves.

This DesignShop was no exception. The very premise of why Master’s was building a new school was tested as was the nature of the urban setting the new Campus should both be in and create by its presence. These are not simple questions nor do they make for easy dialogs.

Testing every design assumption is necessary for understanding and essential to creating the right problem. Problems, once clear, are not that difficult to solve. Getting the right problem in mind is the real challenge. This DesignShop is the first of many to come as we identify the many options before us, create the many programs and projects that, together, add up to the VISION we hold and the future it will reveal. Growing a ValueWeb capable of accomplishing this vision, which is both fixed in theory and emergent in practice, is the main task ahead. A ValueWeb is not the simple assemblage of the “logical” players - it is the result of a self selection process that is tempered by candid dialog and common experience. The DesignShop does not plan a ValueWeb - it practices one into existence.

This work is both exciting and stressful. We design the environments the way we do to stimulate the imagination and to mitigate stress. The environment adjusts to the work not just in the spatial sense but also in the mood that is set. It reflects the time of day, has the variety found in nature but rarely inside a building and exemplifies behavior that is congruent with people are being asked to do. This is not a place (in spirit, process or physical statement) where compromise comes easy. It is a place where hearing one another, building on one another’s ideas and reaching for synergies that go beyond what each can do alone comes easy.

Right on schedule, the statue that symbolizes Master’s vision arrived during our Focus day. On the Radiant Wall the yellow stickys are color coded with green, yellow and red tags. Each individual had placed on the last report out tiles personally signed comments that said yes! go! (green); caution, lets think about this (yellow); beware! stop! (red). We call this Module Why is won’t work. The point of it is to surface every reason why we can fail in our mission. The task to follow is to make sure that we answer every one of these questions be they of external or internal circumstance.
The statue, of which this is a replica, is provocative. At the base is a young boy “dreaming” with a book in his hand. He is, without doubt dreaming of flight - his experience of FLIGHT - which the rest of the statue portrays. This image fits the Master’s vision that every child can seek, find and reach their highest potential and that the task of education is to support and facilitate this happening. The unlimited potential of each child to reach their best expression in life is at the core of Master’s learning methods. Creativity and innovation, a something integral to life and work for all people is what fuels both Master’s and MG Taylor’s vision, methods and practices. This is the basis of our partnership.
The challenge that I gave our designers was this: do your work, in Defining the Problem [link], such that we never have to tell this child that he cannot fly. Of course no one likes to admit it but this is the message that is delivered to millions of children everyday all over the world.
Wednesday, September 29th Notes:
Day Three - ACT - This is the day to think in terms of action. Some think that Scan, Focus, Act equates to Strategy, Tactics, Task - that is, high level concepts to specifics. Not so; Scan, Focus, Act are modalities. The content in all stages of the process has to cover the most broad to the most minute. The MODE, however shifts how you treat the material and what you do with it. The charge in the ACT day is to design, decide, know and to time line out the actions necessary to accomplishing the mission. This includes detailing action steps about the unknowns. If it cannot be decided, then, what do we have to know? How will gather the necessary to knowledge to know? When do we have to know it? What are the steps necessary to do this?
After reporting out our CREATING THE PROBLEM exercise from the day before, we identified what was necessary for our work to be a success and then picked Buckets of Work to do so with each designer choosing the team they wanted to spend the rest of their time working with.

The transition between FOCUS and ACT is an abrupt shift in energy.

To me the dialog around selecting the Buckets of Work is always fascinating. The real conversation is not so much around the Buckets themselves; it is about the underlying issues. In “merely” selecting the Buckets, much deeper aspects of the work are being sorted out,

This is the way a single mind works: on one level a systematic process; on the other, a far richer and complex process, accession millions of connections, is happening. the DesignShop is an architecture that facilitates a group of people so that they can function more like a single I. We call this GroupGenius. Solutions emerge [link].

What makes ValueWebs WORK is this functional alignment: individual mind to DesignShop designers to ValueWeb - all recursive levels of the same architecture [link]. Conventional methods neither understand no facilitate this result. This is why they fail when faced with broad-scale systemic challenges. And, almost everything critical, interesting and worth doing in our time IS a system issue or closely connected to one. All the easy stuff has been done.

There is a point somewhere between late FOCUS and early ACT where the entire process escapes. It no longer can be “designed” or “controlled.” It captures everyone and takes the lead. This is exactly what happens in an individual’s singular, creative act. Everything - for a period of time - becomes “subordinate” to a super ordinate goal. This happened after the Buckets were selected and I joined the New Campus Design/Build Team for the rest of the process. The KnowledgeWorkers took over stewarding the DesignShop. This gave me the opportunity to to meet my future team mates in a different relationship. While in the process of designing the ValueWeb, a significant portion of it formed.

This was an organic, self selected process - it required “stepping up” on the part of all.

ValueWebs have to form this way. They will not come together in the same way that the alliance and joint venture of the past did. ValueWebs can superficially look like these old forms, however, at the root of it, they are not related to these far more mechanistic expressions of organization.

Myself, I was surprised how the ACT day played out. This does not happen often. Although I had a different model of the outcome in mind, I had to succumb to the net vector that we all had been instrumental in creating, intentionally and not, together.

I was disappointed with this at the beginning of the final reports - story telling really - until I started to listen to what was being said. Then, I realized how much was there and how deep each team had actually gone. All we have to do is organize to continue the work.

I think, however, this turn in the road did not find us fully capable of capturing all the work that was completed. We organized what we did capture to go into a wiki [link for participants] and this will facilitate the next iteration of work. This also may turn out to be the best circumstance - we shall see.

One of the trickiest judgments in any process of design - for individual, group, participant or facilitator - is to know when an iteration of work done; when it is good enough for now. I tell my architectural students that you know you are done with a design cycle when you cannot get any smarter without out going out and building something. Acting on what we have created is clearly the next phase of the project. This is how we will get smarter. And this is how we will grow the ValueWeb. The story of this project will be the story of its ValueWeb. The is the key and the process cannot be forced.

We have found that the peak of a DesignShops impact is usually about a year after the event. Of course, we will have many more exercises - large and small - within that period. The experience will accumulate. And, the Collaboration Studio will be the keeper of these experiences. The pace of implementation will start slowly yet yield an ever increasing return. The path between intension and heuristic search will be found and one day we will look back on this event and see all that we have achieved represented in our beginning.

Tom, at the close of the event
The DesignShop came to a soft landing. I had wanted more drill down into projects, dates, specifications. It became clear, as the day progressed, that this was neither possible nor necessary. We had gotten what was possible to get and what was necessary in order that we carry on our work. I was working with the new campus design team when the KnowledgeWorker KreW made the call on the final report out. The form of this invited the eight teams, who were working various aspects of the program, to reflect on the meaning of their work and what they had produced. They did this by writing a future article in Revolution Magazine, looking back, on the results that Master’s accomplished. All the reports, together, made it clear that a Revolution had been launched and that there were specific strategies, tactics and tasks produced by each Team.
Thursday, September 30th Notes:
Thursday started early with an early meeting between Master’s and a local group, some members of which had participated in the DesignShop, to discuss opportunities for sharing the new land. The DesignShop, apparently, had sparked some ideas. Much of the work done in the DesignShop focused on land use and density options and this dialog reflected this thinking. After this meeting, Larry Mielnichuk, founder of Genesis Building Corp, and I walked the entire Collaboration Studio discussing the few things remaining to be done. Some added lighting to support more flexibility and the installation of the seating platform being the principal work remaining.
Meanwhile the seating platforms started to go in. This sparked a lively conversation as some though they were too large. After talking about the process this sitting arrangement represents, looking at the Cequal BedLounge web site [link] and after several sat on the platforms, it was decided to leave things as they are and see if there are any adjustments to be made later. The platforms are large. They are the principal feature of the “Teacher’s Lounge” portion of the space. They will change the interaction patterns of the teachers and of whatever design team uses them in a DesignShop exercise. There was, originally, a pit in the upper part of the platforms but I removed this because it directed the focus in the wrong direction [link]. Cushions and Cequal recliners will work much better and will be far more comfortable and flexible. All of the materials used in this area are natural fiber making a healthy, comfortable place for a different kind of experience and dialog.
This space is left open for photos of the seating area which was completed October 7th. Now we await the back rests and a pile of cushions and we will be complete.
A television channel came by and interviewed Tom and me, individually, for over an hour. It will be interesting to see what happens with this tape. Tom is trying to get a copy.
I spent some time with Jamal Mubdi-Bey, of Sojourner Douglass College [link] - he attended the DesignShop. We are developing the SDC Campus [link] in Baltimore. SDC and Masters’s are exploring working together to create a Charter school on the SDC Campus for the East Baltimore area adjacent to Johns Hopkins University. Phase II of the SDC work will create a NavCenter at SDC for community development uses as well as facilitating the ongoing development of the college. Like master’s, it will be staffed by teachers and students. Phase II will proceed early in 2005. One aspect that is demonstrating is that MG Taylor is reaching a level of maturity [link] so that we are, increasingly, able to connect our clients and friends to each other facilitating the emergence of new opportunities. At this point we have three projects focused on education: Master’s, SDC and the University School [link] in Nashville. We also have a relationship with SFIA [link] and a connection to (and perhaps relationship) with Tillers [link]. “Connecting the dots” - or ValueWeb nodes - is very important here. The synergistic possibilities are almost without limit. And, all of this has relevance to what Andy Sticker is doing at New Harmony [link]. This work is not unconnected to our work with the World Economic forum who is interested and active in the advancement of global education [link].
I love it when a plan [link] comes together!
Friday, October 1 Notes:
I am writing these notes on the Northwest Airline flight back to Nashville. This period, September 21st through today, is a benchmark in the history of MG Taylor. This project has required a tremendous effort. We have worked at direct cost, for product, and no fees, for time, in order to help Master’s get to the point that they can fund their expansion. This has not been easy for us at this point in our own development. It certainly has been worth it to us. The master’s leadership has taken great conceptual and financial risks to get to the ability to have their own DesignShop in their own facility. The investments in the Imagination and Collaboration Studios have been great for a school of Master’s size at their point in the Stages of an Enterprise [link]. It looks like that their entrepreneurial risk has paid off. The feedback from partners, staff, teachers, students, parents and the educational community has been positive. We will all know more after the 7th of this month when Master’s launches its fund raising campaign. I do not see raising money for a non-profit fundamentally any different than seeking investment for a business enterprise. Each is providing a value to a market place. The only difference is the rules by which the funds are handled. I think that Master’s is offering value to many educational “markets” and will be able to build the school they want and continue to advance their superior education processes and R&D efforts. Every indication is that this week we did “disturb the Universe” and advanced - by a quantum leap - toward our mutual vision of education and collaborative design.
On a personal note, I was accepted as Systems Integrator [link] for the design/build process into a fine community of architects and builders capable of producing an incredible expression of the School of the Future. This level of bonding is not as easy as it might seem and I am proud that we were able to take this step together. Now, we have to build a true ValueWeb capable of building the new Master’s Campus (as an example of one) and scale the effort so that it can have global impact. To me, how we build this project (and beyond it) is as important, and not separated from, what we build.
We built the Collaboration Studio to have a place to dream, engineer and demonstrate the future of master’s [link]. This is the first step of an extended journey.
I have come to see architecture [link] as the result of three integrated phases: design, build and using. Architecture [link] should be built around a way of life and a way of working (which should be the expression [link] of life itself). The joy of working with Master’s Academy and College is this approach is both understood, is compatible with their mission and it is appreciated. Our work is generally well received (although, still difficult to get off the drawing board and made actual). I enjoyed 10 days where the work was understood, the attitude was one of diligence (to apply the tool with integrity) and this appreciation was expressed without guile or affectation. This is rare and received on my part with appreciation and grateful acceptance. Working with Master’s has given me much that I have not received before. There is a notable absence of conflict and struggle. There is an attitude that strives for integrity and excellence. There is celebration of success. There is an absence of ego in the negative sense of the word. There is a belief that a state of grace can be made real, here and now. Those that want to recreate the future should flock to this project - it is a rare opportunity to build an expression of a HUMAN environment.
Return to Master’s Academy Index
Return To Collaboration Studio - Layout and Program
Return to INDEX

Matt Taylor
Nashville VCBH
September 19, 2004


SolutionBox voice of this document:


posted September 19, 2004

revised October 11, 2004
• • •
• • •
• • •
• • •
• •

(note: this document is about 99% finished)

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase
Sound-alike matching
From: ,
To: ,
Show:   results   summaries
Sort by: