Master’s NavCenter
page 446 - Matt Taylor Notebook
Bootstrapping the Future
link to Inventing the New School Environment
The strategy that emerged out of the August DesignShop, and subsequent dialogs, is to use the existing Master’s Academy campus as a R&D test-bed for the new Campus and the various market offerings that will emanate from the now forming ValueWeb made up of Master’s/MG Taylor and many Canadian partners; and, that we will create the knowledge and capacity required to build the New Campus by doing this work one project at a time. This is an action research agenda using a rapid prototyping process to first make the NavCenter and then, use the NavCenter, to incubate future projects and enterprises.
The plan is to have the NavCenter built by mid 2004 so that it can be ready for the Fall semester and for the Design Development work of the New Campus. As a step to this capability, a miniRDS will be installed in the existing GYM and Cafeteria area as soon as possible. The Master’s Design/Build/Use [link] ValueWeb will start work in the mini Center to develop and build the permanent NavCenter and to start the preliminary planning phase of the new Campus.
This is a ‘bootstrap” process that will be funded, incrementally, as it goes - the success of each phase building the knowledge, energy and financial justification for the next.
What follows is a “first cut” Program Statement of this NavCenter and “Classroom of the Future” test bed. It summarizes past dialogs, proposes a design concept as a beginning concept, and outlines a ValueWeb work process for the next year.
Prior MT hand drawn Notebook Pages


Master’s Implementation
Existing and New
Campus Program Integration

link: full screen view


Master’s AndMap
Fastrack Architecture
Two Strategies

link: full screen view


Master’s Implementation Strategy
Bootstrap Process

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Master’s Schematic Concept
Plan and Section

link: full screen view


Master’s Schematic Concept Notes

link: full screen view

The pages, above, were produced in two work sessions, about a month apart, following a two day December planning session in the Rocky Mountains, with Tom and Paul. Pages 453 - 455 layout an outline development strategy for the entire project. Pages 466 and 467, a concept of the existing Campus NavCenter and the first classroom of the future test bed. This work will be developed further by the Program Statement and schematic Concept Sketch that follows. The intent is to build the NavCenter by mid year which is an excelleration of the AndMap on page 454. Other than that, however, the AndMap still reflects current strategy and timing. The hand Sketch, shown on Page 466, is most likely to change significantly as work progresses; however, it is the concept that is important.
The aspects of this concept that are likely to hold during future design iterations are:
The new structure resting mainly on four bearing points independent of the existing structures.
The new structure as a “space frame” cantilevering from these four points and sheathed in glass (transparent, translucent and patterned) allowing light to penetrate throughout all 3 floors and 8 levels of the environment.
The three kinds of spaces: indoor and out door (including roof areas); the three main levels of “traditional” floors (spanning between the four bearing points and extending onto existing roofs at the higher levels); The “tree house” spaces, which are spheres in which levels and “floors” and “walls” of unconventional configurations are provided.
The transparency (vertically and horizontally) between spaces and the mediation of light, sound, view, temperature, by user controllable screens that function in layers and by degrees.
The placement of the new structure in the void between the grammar and high school buildings (original building and addition) creating an accessible and interactive space with inside, outside and rooftop courtyards.
The symbolism of the work: cybernetic forest [link] (resolution of dichotomies - technology and nature - rationality and emotion; tree house (adventure, freedom, invention, youth); transparency (open-space, innovation, freedom); a Cathedral of the human soul - of learning; a green PLACE in all seasons - warm in the winter, cool in the summer - earth, fire and water - and fresh air - a human-healthy environment.
The basic layout of the functional areas allowing them to work, themselves, independently, or together; and likewise, independently or in conjunction with the other (existing) school areas.
To fulfill its mission, this environment has to be NATURAL, organic [link], life-like - authentic [link]; it has to be alive. This means that the way (dogu [link]) the environment is created is as important as the design (in the abstract, visual sense). The life has to be built-in. This is done only by the intention and attention that is brought to the work. Architecture is the expression of those who build and use it - it cannot be faked [link]. It is made. It is the measure of our ability to conceive of our highest sense of ourselves and the purpose of place - and make that happen in reality. Every act taken in the making of a building becomes what that building is. Every action taken within it accumulates the ledger of its humanness. Soul-places are the result of soulful work - and living. The Program, therefore, is not only about the physical thing - it is a much about how this reality is to be created.
Program Statement - Function
If there be any building that a society builds that should reflect it’s very best it is the environment in which children are educated.
In the case of this building, this is not only a place children will learn - it is a major aspect of the what they will learn. It is also a place where a future environment for learning will be conceived and planned. It has to be understood that these children will learn exactly what we create and what we do. This is a far greater influence than what we say.
The environment that they come to learn within will be our values writ-large and our statement of what is the possible.
This sense of the possible is the greatest gift we can give them along with the tools to achieve it in their own way. Education should focus on the nurturing of fit human beings - this includes competencies of all kinds. If a child were to grow up a bum, or a terrorist or a mad scientist, producing industrial products that pollute the Earth, it is small consolation that s/he is excellent at math.
This is why the mission [link] of Master’s Academy is what it is. It is also no accident that the academic results as what they are [link].
The questions at hand are what makes up the ideal school of the future and how do you go about building it? In addition, how do you create the financial and community base necessary to integrate this school into civic life? How do you create an “away” environment of learning for children at the same time provide them with real-world experience akin to what they will know as an adult in a now unknowable future - a future with almost unimaginable risks and new opportunities? These questions get to the very nub of the NavCenter Program. The NavCenter has to facilitate the:

The Existing School by

...providing a collaborative environment for students, teachers and administrators for the ongoing development of the school and its environment and processes; as well as, be an enviornment for the learning of creative, collaborative processes.


The New School Design and Development by

...providing a dedicated, collaborative design and project management space for the duration of the project.


The Classroom of the Future and Enterprise by...

...providing a test-bed, rapid prototyping space where real classes can be conducted (and evaluated) by employing new architecture, learning processes and technology combinations - as an integrated system; and, providing the appropriate start-up facilities for the commercial ValueWeb that will market resulting products and services.


Community Development

...providing capacity for community DesignShops and learning experiences.


Local Business DesignShops by...

...providing capacity for business DesignShops and learning experiences at a scale capable of developing the market for a NavCenter business.


Existing Property Exit Strategy by

...providing ValueWeb development and incubation space for exploring post new Campus options:

a) sale of existing property to another school or institution;
b) develop the facility to support collaborate work, incubation and conferencing as a stand-alone business;
c) continue the operating the space as a Master’s Academy site after the new Campus is developed.

These and other options will be explored in a collaborative way with prospective partners and/or buyers. The architectural development of the existing site has to be conducted in such a way as to augment these options not limit them.

This is a multifaceted and complex program that centers around the following capacities: learning, facilitation, creativity, incubation, project management and enterprise creation. The users are diverse: students, teachers, school administrators, the new campus design-build team, community and corporate clients, new ValueWeb members for the creation of new enterprises.
This is an environment for learning and building the creative life [link].
As a cybernetic forest, the NavCenter will be augmented with computing and communication technology; its fact-ness is that it will function as an engine of creation. It will function as a basin-of- attraction - a stake in the ground - clearly expressing values and ideas around which a ValueWeb can form, organically, much like a reef ecology grows itself [link].
Schematic Design - Layout
Master’s NavCenter - 1st Floor
January 13, 2004 - Matt Taylor
The NavCenter, at the first floor level, connects to the existing structures in four places. This facilitates the appropriate degrees of interaction while turning the areas between the existing building into a garden courtyard. Circulation, on the first floor level is primarily for Master’s students, teachers and administrators. Area #1 is Library, Reception and the NavCenter KWIB function. Area #2 is the main Hallway (widened by the removal of the GYM Storage Room). Area(s) #3 is composed of are stairwell(s) and elevator(s) - one at the main Entry by the east parking lot and one in the landscaped courtyard (#8). Areas #4 & #5 are multipurpose rooms, set in a garden, that can be used individually or as one large space. These will be suitable for team rooms, special student or teacher projects, and so on. The space can also be used as a client Discovery Session area or Sponsor Team work area in the circumstance that the main NavCenter facilities on floors two and three are being used.
Room #7 is a storage area that will house and RDS capability that can be deployed into the high school GYM. This can be built first so that DesignShop capability can be provided for enterprise development, teacher-student interactions and to support the process of designing and building the NavCenter. This area can be set up so that full deployment is a matter of minutes. Once the NavCenter is built this capability can be kept for overflow use and to support very large DesignShop and PatchWorks exercises - it also will store materials for configurings areas #4, #5 and #10.
The classroom that is now in area #10 will be moved to the where the Teacher Lounge now is. The Teacher Lounge will be moved to the third floor area in the south east portion of Tree Three (see: “e”). Room #10 to become an open multi-use interactive area with kiosks, serious games, reading materials, toys, puzzles, etc. This is an area where student, teacher, staff, client, parent, community leader can interact comfortably - it is a village commons.
“a” indicates the foot print of the base for the four “Trees” that make up the structure of the NavCenter columns and roof. “b,” the outer line of the second floor. This rectangle will contain the classroom of the future, breakout and project room areas. It also has direct access to the Team Tree House sphere. These areas will be separated by sliding partitions and and light wells that allow light down into the first floor area. [see second floor plan, below] “c” is Tree number one; “d,” Tree two; “e,” Tree three, and “f” Tree four. The “trunks” of these Trees house HVAC, wiring and light-tubes. #9 indicates landscape areas that are outside but sheltered by the second floor. The different combinations of sun orientation, size of area, degrees of shelter - and, the various mechanical augmentation that can be brought to bear - that make up the landscape areas will create a high variety of mico-climes creating a unique opportunity for year around gardening in a harsh climate. Besides the beauty of this and the amenity it brings to the setting of the NavCenter, this presents a learning opportunity. It also is a nature/human-made partnership likely to be more prevalent in the future. Everything is as it is for multiple reasons.
The interior and exterior landscaping is an integral aspect of how the NavCenter fits both the site and the existing buildings. In actuality, the TREE metaphor cannot be carried too far - it is a direct reference. The landscape is a prairie that runs to the Mountains nearby. This part of it is covered with industrial-age peanut-butter-spread low quality buildings. The landscape is obliterated. This is made more dismal in the winter - snow, slush, concrete and asphalt in an unhappy “arranged” marriage. This combines to make a hard landscape of unforgiving buildings. Most architects, when designing for children, try to compensate for this by adding lots of bright colors - a superficial and condescending “solution.” No; instead, we will build a tree house, a place of variety and mystery - a place of natural colors in great variety; of prospect and refuge - of light-washed changing, dancing delight.
As Tom put it: “the building emerges out of its industrial base as symbol of the future.”
Additional hand drawn Notebook Pages


Master’s NavCenter
Transparent Architecture
Schindler, Wright, Goff
Form As Content

link: full screen view


Master’s NavCenter
Subtitle Changes
Human Place
Color and Garden

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Master’s NavCenter
Cybernetic Forest

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Between February 2 and 10, a computer model of the NavCenter was built by Matt Fulvio and Scott Arenz. This model incorporates Jim Taipale’s idea of covering the courtyards as we discussed on January 22nd during our Nashville session. As the model was built, certain design refinements were made and thought given to various manufacturing and construction options. The purpose of this iteration of the model is to display the basic concept in three dimensions both, in terms of its general massing and interior spaces, and to show how it fits within the existing buildings. It also serves as a basic proof of concept exercise. These matters are to be further discussed further during the initial D/B/U ValueWeb Team meeting in Calgary February 11 through 13.
This view is from the second floor roof deck looking toward Tree #3. The stairway/elevator mass pierces the suspended glass roof that coverers the first floor Court Yard. The pyramid lids over the Multipurpose Rooms (#4 & #5), set in the garden, are show in their open position. The Tree House inside of Tree #3 is a Group Work area configured for technology augmented [link] dialog and knowledge work in a causal setting. This is a place of serious work in a setting rarely found in the workplace: one of relaxation, playfulness and luxury - a luxury based on setting, landscape, friendly materials, spatial prospect and refuge and ever changing light not on formality and materials you are afraid to touch.
Inside the second floor area - Tree #3 is on the left and #4 to the right piercing the third floor. The mountains will be visible from this viewpoint. This incorporates an aspect of the Wilderness Mega City [link] design in that the building lifts the individual up to see nature in a new way and with renewed respect. The Trees and their “trunks” define the various functional areas of each floor creating a difference that can be controlled by degrees while avoiding a total separation.
View from the Meditation Tree House down to Tree #3. The Tree Houses will be developed as “rooms within rooms” (almost buildings within buildings) and will have a layered interface with their surrounding areas. They are, in effect, EcoSpheres [link] within a larger structure that makes up their landscape. These “rooms” will be fitted out in different ways according to their purpose. They are informal areas where walls, floors and furniture all morf into differentiated yet integrated interacting sub-areas. A building that represents and facilitates human transformation must offer many different viewpoints of reality. The way that the physical organism moves and looks in three dimensional space has direct physiological, psychological and spiritual consequence. This is more than mere metaphor. It is fact-based and physical; it has both neurological and genetic connection. The typical places of work and learning are environments like our packaged food: matter without nutrition; the deprive the soul and lack life.
A birds eye view of the entire complex. Here the concept becomes clear. The existing courtyard and rooftops become gardens some enclosed some open to the weather. A total of eight levels compose what is a three story building with greater than average ceiling heights. This is both a vertical and horizontal space - the “flat world” viewpoint of the typical building is gone - all areas are related yet providing a minimum of 12 separate functional areas. Circulation can be configured so that the NavCenter is open to the school (the default mode) or separated from it in the case of an outside DesignShops (on occasion). The NavCenter engages the existing school and at the same time rise upward to embrace the mountains and the future.
Architecture That Transforms
It was traveling between taliesin West back to Wisconsin, in 1958, that I discovered the power of architecture to transform. An afternoon meeting with Mrs. Pew as she explained how her environment had changed her life became a seminal moment in my life [link]. That moment ruined me forever - I cannot accept buildings that fail to offer a new and transforming view of life and that do not support the attainment of the highest expression of the human; indeed, that do not demand it.
This building is intended to both challenge everyone to follow their quest [link] and support their journey in reaching it. It is intended to shake up the conventional viewpoint about life and human potential. It is intended to raise the bar for our team as we design and build the new Master’s Campus. It is intended to cause us to radically transform our own way of working as we solve the problems associated with building a structure such as this - and doing it in a way that is affordable. It is intended that in order to accomplish this vision we will have to build a Valueweb of many talents and of great capacity so that we will be ready for the greater challenge ahead. This is a work for Cathedral Builders [link].
Go To Computer Model and Notes
Return To Index
Return To the New School Environment
Return To Master’s miniNavCenter Program Statement
Return To the FutureSchool Project

Matt Taylor
January 4, 2004



SolutionBox voice of this document:

posted January 4, 2004

revised February 10, 2004
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(note: this document is about 60% finished)



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