21 Building Systems: Toward a Rational Taxonomy in Architecture

In this Viewpoint article, architect and technologist Bill Dickens, discusses the importance of systems and taxonomies, and proposes a taxonomy of only 21 Building Systems to cover the complete set of architectural, engineering and construction tasks. The concept is based on his work developing logic diagrams of the AEC process as a Systems Analyst at Smith Hinchman and Grylls, where he scheduled the 300,000sf SUNY, Stony Brook Medical School.

URL: http://www.aecbytes.com/viewpoint/2010/issue_50.html

14 thoughts on “21 Building Systems: Toward a Rational Taxonomy in Architecture

  1. There is no doubt that a taxonomy that allows the knowledge about and products used in buildings to be simply and non-ambiguously classified has significant value. The industry has been struggling with this issue for a long time. However, there is a tendency to break things down by system and to separate people with the various disciplines during the design and construction process. This results in silos of efforts that cannot inform each other as the process goes from schematic design to construction. The resulting problems are well known: errors of omission, lack of knowledge of owner intent, poor constructability, clashes in the field, delays to figure out how to precede and claims at the end of a project. The building industry is currently involved in a transformation to IPD – integrated project delivery using lean methods that minimize waste and use BIM as a guiding set of tools that allow designs to be integrated and reviewed as they are developed, not just at set points in time. Confidence in the design is thus built from the start and not just checked at the end. The effort to develop a better taxonomy for the building process should not be seen as a way to improve traditional practice, but as a better way for an integrated process to describe the systems that need to work together.

  2. Standardization of systems taxonomy in the construction industry has assumed greater importance today than ever before. This is because today there are two added reasons for standardizing the taxonomy as rapidly as possible. The first reason is globalization which means sourcing of material and labor from any location globally that is most advantageous for the project in hand. It is not unusual these days, for example, for a tower in Dubai that is designed by a US architectural firm, and for which HVAC consulting is provided by a UK MEP firm, to source its air-conditioning hardware from India. This calls for far greater control at each taxonomical level.

    The second reason is the requirements of sustainable development. This is still in an early stage. At this time while LEED in the US is relatively advanced, BREEAM in UK is lagging behind. And, an acceptable set of sustainable development standards has not even begun to evolve in many other countries.

    The dual evolving demands of globalization and sustainable development call for rapid review and standardization of construction systems taxonomy. Eventually such standardized taxonomy must integrate into BIM technology to afford the AEC professionals easier control over the process.

  3. Your figure 1 listing puts equipment under the remit of Architectural…depending on your definition of ‘Equipment’ this should be within the remit of the responsible discipline…either Process Piping or Electrical.

    Process Piping should be considered as a separate discipline due to the complexities associated with the design process involving P&IDs, Equipment specification, stack ups and hazop. Also equipment normally requires a certification procedure which in turn influences the systems approval process and model review schedule.

    Your task list is over simplified, the AIA list is about right.

    Further, project costs are normally associated with the project phase, which varies according to whether it is the Concept design, Design development, or project deliverable phase.

    If I read your article correctly, you are basing your assumptions on the analysis of one project, which in my opinion is not really enough. Procurement also needs to be factored in, as well asconsideration of the influence of project long lead items which require validation, and where necessary, certification at an early stage in the project design.

    Regarding Paul’s comment: I am not sure I understand your comment “separate people with the various disciplines during the design and construction process.” In my experience it is always the opposite…cohesive and collaborative. If you are working in a multi-discipline design environment with fragmentation of disciplines, then of course problems occur…it’s certainly not normal practice.

  4. The essence of taxonomy is to establish a common vocabulary across our professions. This is a great challenge as many have pointed out in the thread of discussion. Other fields like botany, zoology, chemistry, etc. are more unified professions. The taxonometric systems they have developed have provided systemic organization, although not perfect, has eliminated much of the issues around “what” they are talking about to focus on the “who”, “where”, “when”, “how”, and “why”. A rationalized single naming convention (taxons) will make the BIM world spin on a solid axis.

    I would like to add that in my experience there is a complimentary taxonometric system that is essential in this effort and that is to define words for the spaces architecture creates. Room names and numbers are key fields in the order of BIMs. However as integrated systems develop between design and construction models for architecture, structure, mechanical, cost estimating, specifications, and “other” applications collide, the most valuable questions will lay in the nexus of rooms, corridors, halls, attics, basements, and the other inhabitable spaces more than the objects that serve them. The time has come for a taxonomy of space to emerge and infuse the entire process with an integrated goal.

    A nice example is the fact that a goal in football is not the uprights in the endzone, but the space defined by those lines in space!

  5. Lots of assumptions here in the posts.

    I developed logic diagrams of the entire process within Smith, Hinchman and Grylls working with the Department Heads and their best Architects and Engineers over a 2 1/2 year time span. Thousands of tasks were identified and drawn in their appropriate sequences and these were elaborately documented and presented

    There were no preconceptions. It was a direct process of identifying which tasks beloged where.

    The Systems Identified were done so in concert and with the approval of the Departments. This is not an imaginative invention.

    What fell out is essentially the ABC’s of Architecture. Knowing them is most handy for learning the craft and for controlling the craft.

    The reason that the StonyBrook project proceeded so quickly is that each system was basically looked at by itself and no constrictive nodes were ever placed within the process. This is important to understand.

    Trying to set up constrictive nodes as has been the pratcice for years has been and remains a cause of huge costs in time and purchasing power.

    Plese do not assume that this was done only on one project and ask yourself if you can deliver a 300,000sf project in 9 months from receipt of the program.

    Now the word equipment here might be further clarified. Equipment is a generic word and I can see why someone might think that it would fit within another discipline but here it is used in the sense of Architectural Equipment… kitchen equipment, lab equipment, office equipment in that sense… items that can be substantial in nature and need to be planned in and planned for that are used directly by the client.

    This simple list covers it all and of course there would be a number of line items under that category.

    If the AIA has a list what is it? Is it isotropic, Is it systems based. No one has ever used it or even spoken of it. They always refer to the CSI Format which has existed for 40 years and complain about it’s improvements.

    Part of the Babel problem is that different disciplines have taken it upon themselves to set up taxonomies and they often don’t jibe. I do believe that architects should have a strong say on what it is. The CSI apparently does not have architects on board and seems to have trouble using the word System. It is strange listening to young architects being afraid to use the word System and substituting the word Components instead.

    The word System is clearly defined. If you have a better list of systems then let’s take a look at it. I’m open for discussion and I suspect that we all agree upon the Disciplines and their order of placement.

    Having one simple, encompassing list is the idea here. Yes there would be a number of sub systems if you were to go and examine any system here and develop a CPM diagram of any project… usually about 65 in a good sized project.

    The idea is to coordinate things based upon a clean, encompassing simple list. I have taught this method as an adjunct Professor in Arhitectural School and have heard that, “All of a sudden it all made sense to me!”


  6. It’s fun to see that there is agreement that there needs to be an ordered taxonomy for all things related to the AEC environment.

    The efforts of linking all the tasks were nearing completion when the Stonybrook project came up and it is where the first use of the approach was used. It worked. The only computer available and the only program available at the time of that project were the IBM 1130 PCS (Project Control System. It was too cumbersome. So the scheduling based upon the systems was quickly done by hand and when time permitted I replicated that in the computer based approach.

    Incidentally, last year I talked with the Stonybrook Manager in charge of those buildings and he says that they have served very well and have been altered and modified numerous times because of the changing curriculum and Department assignments over time.

    When the RFP responses came in the SUNY CRS Serrine response was lucid. It stated that there were three approaches to doing a project where there was an atmosphere of urgency. The Traditional way with the discrete Phases that were mentioned above, What they called “Fast Track” which would be ordering long lead items and then melding them into the traditional approach. And the third they called “Continuous Delivery” which meant that parts of the project would be designed based upon the critical path and delivered on correct time to the construction process. They advocated “Fast Track” and with integrity said that they were not yet ready to handle a Continuous Delivery process. I quiped at that time to the CEO that “Well, we are!”

    I’m from Detroit where Albert Kahn had built an astounding practice. He provided something similar to the Continuous Delivery and Fast Track processes and these were initiated with the evolving Automotive Industry which was expanding exponentially. These procedures were nothing new to the large Detroit architecural firms.

    The IBM PCS has been replicated by both “Project” by IBM and Primavera. Neither show any great anvancement in the past 40 years save for making it graphically based on the Desktop world. Neither are nicely set up for the AEC Environment.

    I have always broken out costs on this basis and have been able to save clients large sums of money because of it. And I have broked down spec sections on this basis, and the building code search forms as well.

    It is always very helpful to know which system you are talking about and what the normal distribution of costs are and how they relate to each other.

    Architecture is a field where there is always the latest buzz word or fashionable word. Sustainable is the latest. There is no reason that one cannot look at a project on a systems basis and assess sustainablility on each system.

    Paul’s first sentence hits the nail on the head, beautifully stated. Reg Prentice the CITO at Gehry and now Gensler has said something similar.
    Martha Lagess, teaching at The Architectural Association in London saw this list some 12 or so years ago and said that she was going to teach it to her students, had me write it down in her notebook and autograph it.

    My father commented years ago as he watched me develop and commented that he noticed that we architects were not working together and were always squablling and at each other’s throats. He obviously did not think that to be a Professional Approach.

    The CSI unveiled the 16 Divisions at a Conference at Happy Valley on the Future of Architecture in 1969 or so. I quickly commented that it was mixed up with Materials, Systems and what have you. Admittedly it was better than the earlier AIA 57 sections simply because it was smaller. But Last month the CSI finally abandoned the 16 Divisions realizing that it did not work. That time span is some 40 years +. Things move too slowly for me but that is what happens when there are too many disparate interests.

    Just to help you understand the length of involvement here, I was just invited to the reinactment of the Peace Corps Speech. Yup, even read the YR banner across the street.

    And one of the first conversations with Lachmi she asked if there was any relation to what Christopher Alexander had done. I pointed out that I did go to his office at that time and was informed that I was all wrong. ;D

    Yes, it would be great to have some standardization of space names as well.
    Perhaps during this fallow time it might be wise to get together and work things out so that when things pick back up again everyone is ready to roll quickly in an ordered fashion.

    I’d also have to say that it has become fashionable for old General Contractors to grab the reigns but they know nothing about what we are talking about. For me Construction Management should lie within the Architectural Domain.

    And yes, there will be squabbles to little avail.


  7. I have to be honest – I wrote my initial comments on this article (http://www.q5thecompany.com/2010/03/01/building-taxonomy/) before reading the rest of these comments. I sensed something in the original article that made me feel like builders “should be” excluded from this conversation, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. After reading the above comments from the author, I understand where my concern came from. I don’t believe that this industry (design, construction, operation of buildings) can create true efficiencies and improvements without working together. Builders, as well as designers, subcontractors, suppliers, engineers, facilities management, etc. DO KNOW what you are talking about and are move forward with discussing integrating around a central ‘taxonomy’.

  8. I posted the reply below to Laura on her website.

    Architecture is the province of the architects. It is what they study when they go to Architectural Schools at the College Level.

    That the 16 CSI Divisions came into being was interesting but confusing from the start. I objected immediately upon hearing them. The AIA should have taken the initiative but I don’t believe that too many architects understood the whole process back then. Certainly no one had disassembled the process to the degree that we did.

    But the truth remains simple and crystal clear in all these years.

    My background includes Mechanical Engineering at GMI and I co-oped at the Corporate Engineering Staff where they had Departments of Suspension Systems, Power-Train Systems, Car Developement Systems, etc.

    So it was easy to see the hierarchy: Systems, Assemblies, Sub-Assemblies, Parts, Materials, elements, etc. It’s the same in architecture, a long established understanding.

    Now I’d have to interject that this recent spate of overwording, and bafflegab, and babel speak, perhaps introduced by BIM, has served to confuse the clients and make for the opportunitiy for new entities to insert their up cupped hands into the process.

    But the fact remains that if architects find themselves under general contractors or CM’s as they now profess themselves to be, then there is an instant conflict of interest. Once the architect gives up the right to approve disbursements then Architecture no longer serves as a profession, it is simply just another supplier like plumbing.

    Architecture is an old term going back a few thousand years. It has always meant the design and construction of buildings. The advent of the desktop computer cannot cange this no matter how much “new” tech talk gets spilled.

    Were architects to allow themselves to be forced to relinquish their long held responsibilities chasos will follow.

    Absolutely every project that I have seen come out of the Design-build arena, and that has existed in Detroit for many years, and every major project controlled by a Construction firm has been a sad show of human intelligence and talent, and in some cases they have been absolute boondoggles costing the public huge sums of monies.

    Always there is a team, always they are integrated in some fashion, and always it is about architecture which is about the design and execution of the built environment. Don’t get it backwards.

    “Hi Laura,

    “I love the idea of a taxonomy to discuss building systems” sounds great to me. All living things are made up of systems and so are buildings. Systems perform discrete functions.

    There has been a virtual file dump of terms associated with architecture lately and it seems that many are not aware of the definitions of specific terms.

    So we get to hear elements and components and divisions and all sorts of things but the fact remains that system is the most fundamental and explicit and accurate of the encompassing terms.

    Many disciplines have long used systems as the term of what they provide. (HVAC Systems, Plumbing Systems… Lighting Systems, etc.)

    So Thank you.

    The delivery format has nothing to do with this it is about how to look at architecture.

    Now if you are a firm that provides Architectural and Construction services I do get a bit concerned because there is inherently an conflict of interest frome the get go.

    These systems were identified by skilled project people in a large AE firm so to say that they are mine is a little off.

    At the time of the Stonybrook project I informed the CEO that wh had better not bring in a GC because they would only waste time and confuse things, we simply needed a fine field superintendant. The process worked perfectly and the delivery time was probably less than what can be delivered today.

    So yes, being an architect working in the field of architecure is where it should start.

    There has been so much confusion lately that a state of Babel exists and it is a hoot listing to some of the stuff going on.

    Contractors and Engineers have no business calling the shots in Architecture.”


  9. I wonder since there are so many parties, with so many agendas, if a Folksomony approach might prove more promising than a top-down approach to taxonomy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folksonomy
    “An empirical analysis of the complex dynamics of tagging systems, published in 2007, has shown that consensus around stable distributions and shared vocabularies does emerge, even in the absence of a central controlled vocabulary.”

  10. Re: Lewis comment:

    “If the AIA has a list what is it? Is it isotropic, Is it systems based. No one has ever used it or even spoken of it. They always refer to the CSI Format which has existed for 40 years and complain about it’s improvements.”

    To clarify my earlier comment I was referring to ‘standard time phases of architecture as defined by the AIA’ which your article then went on to describe as a ‘list of tasks’…I deliberately used your terminology to avoid confusion!

    Another comment above states “Contractors and Engineers have no business calling the shots in Architecture”

    This is something that I don’t agree with, the Architect is not always the lead in building projects. I worked with one of the largest design consultancies in the world for 7 years and the office I worked in designed and built Pharmaceutical Plants. This office was multi-discipline with the Architects working alongside everyone else, with the Process Piping & Equipment group as the lead discipline.

    The role of architect changes according to the type of building they are engaged on and the type of building being designed is defined by different criteria.

    All things considered, the standard time phases of architecture as defined by the AIA is far more flexible to facilitate the various design processes.

  11. I’m a friend of the Bentleys.

    If you are in the Chemical plant business I am sure that you know of Microstation which was created by Keith Bentley, a Chemical Engineer.

    Yes, Chemical Plants are entirely Engineer driven and are largely Mechanical Systems. Office buildings associated with them are Buildings in the Classical sense driven by Architects. They start with the architect listening carefully to the client who may well be an engineer.


  12. I should say right off that I agree with nearly everything that the author, Bill Dickens is saying – that how information is named and broken down can (and often does) make the construction process far more difficult than necessary. I have been active in CSI for years, and agree that the Masterformat Divisions are not isotropic. Sitework is clearly a different kind of category than Metals, and Masonry, which is different yet than Doors and Windows and Mechanical Systems.

    I don’t agree that it did not work for 40 years, but I agree with the main point. The notion that specification divisions all address “Work Results” which is stressed in the latest revisions of MasterFormat helps conceptually, but again, I see Mr. Dickens’ main point. I agree that CSI is the appropriate organization to serve as the hub of an effort to coordinate taxonomy, and

    I invite him to offer specific proposals to CSI for revisions to Uniformat, CSI’s system-based classification. It is very similar to the one he describes in his article. It is gaining acceptance recently for its applicability to Building Information Modeling and Preliminary Project Descriptions (I hate acronyms). I might add that CSI is an omni-discipline organization. Its membership includes individuals who act not only as general contractors, but subcontractors, suppliers, code officials, insurers. Of course, architects, engineers, all kinds of consultants, and specifiers are in there too. This contributes to CSI’s ability to produce consensus standards.

    To pick up on Scott Knox’s March 1 comment while I am on the subject of CSI standards, Omniclass (also mentioned in the original article) deals with space classification in at least two of its tables. I encourage him to have a look at Omniclass.

    But I take issue, along with Laura Handler (March 2 comment), on general contractors.
    I observed some decades back as a student in Architecture, that Architects seemed to have abdicated the constructor part of the role as designers and builders they once played. I still hear architects say “I built that.” The hubris evident in that statement is staggering to me. In fact, the AIA has devoted a large part of its efforts to separating architects from the responsibilities of a constructor. While engineers and European architects retain some responsibility for quantity takeoff, in this country that too is now the province of the constructors.

    There are continua along which individuals and organizations vary with respect to expertise, motivation, and the quality of service they deliver. Some architects still build, but not many. And some builders design, and/or participate in design. Nothing about an architect’s education, training even implies that today’s architects (in general) are qualified to make decisions about construction while general contractors (in general) are not. That our descriptor (architect) once meant the design and construction of buildings, is irrelevant today. Even as a well-educated, trained and experienced architect, Bill Dickens found value in the counsel of a “fine field superintendent.” I suppose that the person who filled that position had expertise and experience in the field of general contracting.

    It is very clear to me that many GC’s in the US and abroad are far ahead of many architects in the intelligent application of building technology. I am sorry to have gone any further with this particular issue, because the boat that would have excluded constructors from devising a uniform construction taxonomy sailed long ago. There are more than a few General contractors on board.

  13. “The CSI unveiled the 16 Divisions at a Conference at Happy Valley on the Future of Architecture in 1969 or so. I quickly commented that it was mixed up with Materials, Systems and what have you. Admittedly it was better than the earlier AIA 57 sections simply because it was smaller. But Last month the CSI finally abandoned the 16 Divisions realizing that it did not work. That time span is some 40 years +. Things move too slowly for me but that is what happens when there are too many disparate interests.”

    The CSI Format for the Organization of Specifications was first officially published in 1964 after drafts had been distributed for review and comment previsously. It was renamed MasterFormat with the 1976 edition. Subsequent versions were published in 1983, 1988, and 1995. The expansion of divisions from 16 to 50 was made with the 2004 edition in recognition that the original 16 divisions had become too crowded to cover all the types of construction. An update of that version with relatively minor revisions has just been published in 2010 (2010 Update). Although it has been used for multiple purposes, the main purpose of MasterFormat has been and is the organization of specifications. It was not created as classical organization system, but rather just by a bunch of specifiers on how best to organize specifications. So yes, it just not comply with basic organizational prenciples. It has gotten to the position that it has because there wasn’t any other better system available and it seemed to work. Over the years it became the standard for classifying product information, subcontracting, detailed construction costs, etc.

    UniFormat was first created by AIA and GSA in the early 70’s for GSA’s purposes of budgeting construction costs. No copyright was taken at that time and no one maintained it, so over time many different versions of UniFormat came into existence. An effort was started about 1990 to create a north american standard for UniFormat. That resulted in ASTM creating a standard for the basic outline and CSI publishing a more detailed version in 1992. CSI will be publishing the latest version later this year. UniFormat was originally created for maintaining costing information based on the functional elements (systems and assemblies) of the construction. In the middle 80’s, CSI created the Preliminary Project Description written document to describe the criteria for and the descritpion of the functional elements of the construction to be used in the very early design phases. UniFormat also fits well with BIM in the organization of systems and assemblies. Because of that, many more people in the design/construction industry are going to become more knowledgeable about UniFormat.

    What we don’t have yet, is a system to organize/classify the the various types of construction solutions used for the various systems and assemblies. Exterior Wall Assemblies: Masonry veneer on framing, compostie masonry, cavity masonry, metal panel on framing, curtain wall, etc. This is before you talk about the components of the assembly in detail. It would make sense to derive this needed system from UniFormat with categories below each system and assembly.

    There is also not a consensus method to identify the components of systems and assemblies – brick, CMU, mortar, furring, gypsum board, etc. MasterFormat seems to the system of choice at the moment, probably because most people are familiar with the system. It also has the advantage of relating directly to the specifications (as long as we have them as a separate document). The problem is that there is a lot of flexibility in MasterFormat as to where specific items may be specified and consequently there is no detailed consistency of location of specific components among available master specification systems, let alone among individual firms. Vapor barrier under a slab-on-grade may be specified with CIP concrete in Division 03, earth moving in Division 31, or with separate vapor barriers section in Division 07. A careful analysis needs to be done of the OmniClass tables and MasterFormat to determine a good consistent way to classify components of systems and assemblies.

  14. Time passes and things continue and it seems that complexity gets more complexified and those who would prefer to live in a quandary will defend the quandary.

    I choose not.

    The CSI had invited me to speak on one of their webinars and although it was announced repeatedly for a number of months they did not keep their word. Ironically they bought a firm called Building Systems Costs and although I never checked out what they thought the systems were the name fascinated me. Someone was thinking rationally somewhere.

    This last reply is an awful wordy statement of the status quo which has existed and expanded over the year and was the reason and purpose of identifying those thousands of tasks in the first place to rid the AEC world of verbose nonsense.

    Smith Hinchman wrote it’s own specifications and the person in charge of computerizing that in 1966 or so was Chuck Paresi who was the project Architect for Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal at JFK. That was quite a feat at the time and still is. I did work under Chuck in Specifications for a while and all focus was on using the computerized program and there was absolutely no mention of the 16 Divisions. At the Happy Valley conference the presenter from CSI presented the 16 Divisions as something special and brand new. It immediately struck me as non isotropic to be polite.

    I had contacted a Greg Ceton at CSI about the problem and he told me that they were working on it and sent two versions one of which he called layers and the other he called levels. I thought that was interesting because those were the terms that AutoCad an Microstation used in their cad systems. I pointed out to Greg the one that was the most rational and retitled the main sections using the correct word,”Systems”.

    Apparently CSI has been in quite a quandary but never having pulled together a logic diagram of the work flow for large structures they were playing cards and doing an awful lot of shuffling. Part of the problem may have been that those involved had such varying backgrounds and it didn’t seem like anyone had worked as a project architect on a major structure, the person burdened with the responsibility of pulling all the documents together. So there seemed to be this fog of indecision. It was understandable given that some had not even studied architecture.

    Those 21 systems fell out of some very elaborate studies and were approved by the various department heads at the time that the President of Smith Hinchman became National President of the AIA. He was the Project Manager for the GM Technical Center, Saarinen’s major, stunning breakthrough project.

    Now the interesting thing was that this afforded a scaffold which could be used for numerous documents in any Project.

    Here is a list of items that it works well on:

    The BIM Organization
    The Architecural Program section on Construction
    The Preliminary Project Schedule
    The Budget Estimate
    The Schematic Drawings
    The Schematic Specifications
    The Schematic Estimate
    The Code Search
    The Working Drawings
    The Construction Specifications
    The Construction Estimate
    The Bid Documents
    The Schedule of Values
    The List of Subcontractors
    The Project Construction Schedule
    The Disbursement Requests
    The Project Disbursement
    The Lein Waivers
    The Final Project Reconciliation and Accounting
    The Owners Manual
    The Operating Manual
    The Maintenance Guide

    So “We don’t have yet… There is also not… ” well duuh as my daughter would say. Look at the 21 systems they are about the “hardware” of the building. The work identified and commonly done by the Engineers has great consensus, enormous consensus because Engineers are usually not into bafflegab and BS. But just like architects there are some… …

    No this is not about the circulation System or the Vistas or the views or the approach to fenestration, or the pattern of room layouts or the space compositional orgianization of the builiding, or the relationships with the neighbors or Zoning influences. This is simply about the Building to be assembled and installed.

    Interesting that too much conversation cycles around mal, non, or mis, or unresolution when it does exist and much of it has long been existence. In fact it seems that non specificity reigns. Ironic isn’t it?

    They simply are the ABC’s of Architecture.

    The Omniclass may be all things to all people but it only serves to make things worse.

    About 10 years ago I created a code search form using the 21 System format for a local firm that liked to present evidence of the search as the top sheets for their working drawings. This is a good idea because it helps the Building Inspector do his work. It was done on Microstation and is in constant use by more than one company at this time. If anyone would care to have a copy and wants to improve upon it I’ll see if there is a way to get you a copy.

    I am a proud graduate of the University of Michigan which was, incidentally, the first University to offer courses in Architecture in the United States.

    They put out a monthly magazine for alumni called Michigan today and there was a series of articles by a Taxonomist, Dr. Richard Bailey who had some wonderful article on the use of the English Language which he loved. He wrote an Article on synonyms and it was most fascinating. It turns out that taxonomies resolve synonyms and put them in their place. Most fascinating.

    So I wrote to him and submitted this Taxonomy and low and behold he called me and we had a nice chat and he said that the 21 Systems made perfect sense to him and he now understood how buildings were put together.

    I was touched and moved and the latest issue mentioned his passing. And there were many accolades.

    And the hilarious fact is that you can use them on a garage.


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