[permaculture] The writings of Christopher Alexander | A Pattern Language and other books.

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Sat Jul 25 12:04:51 EDT 2015

The writings of Christopher Alexander | A Pattern Language

A City is Not a Tree (1965) pdf <https://ello.co/edu.tw>
Christopher Alexander
Christopher Wolfgang Alexander is an architect noted for his theories about
design as well as over 200 building projects around the world. Wikipedia
Born: October 4, 1936 (age 78), Vienna, Austria

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander - Project for Public Spaces
Project for Public Spaces
Apr 8, 2015 - Christopher Alexander is a practicing architect, builder, and
Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California,

Christopher Alexander - Patterns in Architecture - YouTube
Video for Christopher Alexander[image: :arrow_forward:] 1:03:36
Sep 8, 2013 - Uploaded by Peter Petrash
The following presentation was recorded live in San Jose, California,
October of 1996, at The 1996 ACM ...


Google search on "Christopher Alexander pattern"
Christopher Alexander - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses of the name, see Christopher Alexander (disambiguation). ...
He is regarded as the father of the Pattern Language movement,
A Pattern Language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It was authored by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray
Silverstein of the Center for Environmental Structure of Berkeley,
Pattern Language
An Introduction to A Pattern Language · Christopher Alexander · CA &
Computer Science ... LETS CHANGE OUR WORLD · Patterns · Design; Town
‎Christopher Alexander - ‎Picture Gallery - ‎Aims & Goals - ‎Computer
Images for Christopher Alexander pattern
5) Many references:
Christopher Alexander - Pattern Language
Christopher Alexander is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the
University of California, Berkeley, best known for his seminal works on
architecture including
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center ...
www.amazon.com › ... › Architecture › Criticism
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for
Environmental Structure) [Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray
Silverstein, Max ...
Christopher Alexander - Patterns in Architecture - YouTube
Video for Christopher Alexander pattern[image: :arrow_forward:] 1:03:36
Sep 8, 2013 - Uploaded by Peter Petrash

The following presentation was recorded live in San Jose, California,
October of 1996, at The 1996 ACM ...

6)  Three books in a series:


A Pattern Language : Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa ...
Published 1977 <https://archive.org/search.php?query=date:1977>
 Topics  A Pattern language
 Identifier APatternLanguage
Mediatype texts
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Internet Archive


A Pattern Language
by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein

 Published 1977 <https://archive.org/search.php?query=date:1977>
 Topics  A Pattern language
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is a 1977 book on
architecture, urban design, and community livability. It was authored by
Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein of the Center
for Environmental Structure of Berkeley, California, with writing credits
also to Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel. Decades after
its publication, it is still one of the best-selling books on architecture.

Language English
Collection scholarworkspaces <https://archive.org/details/scholarworkspaces>


The Timeless Way Of Building
 by Christopher Alexander

Published 1979 <https://archive.org/search.php?query=date:1979>
 Topics The Timeless Way of Building
Christopher Alexander
Identifier TheTimelessWayOfBuilding
Mediatype texts
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Identifier-access http://archive.org/details/TheTimelessWayOfBuilding
Identifier-ark ark:/13960/t39046q95
Ppi 500
Ocr ABBYY FineReader 9.0

The Timeless Way of Building is a 1979 book by Christopher Alexander that
proposes a new theory of architecture (and design in general) that relies
on the understanding and configuration of design patterns. Although it came
out later, it is essentially the introduction to A Pattern Language and The
Oregon Experiment, providing the philosophical background to the Center for
Environmental Structure series.  It has had a huge influence on creative
thinking, especially in the areas of architecture and software design.

Language English
Collection opensource <https://archive.org/details/opensource>


The Oregon Experiment

   1. The Oregon Experiment
   Book by Christopher Alexander
   2. The Oregon Experiment is a 1975 book by Christopher Alexander and
   collaborators Murray Silverstein, Shlomo Angel, Sara Ishikawa, and Denny
   Abrams. Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Experiment>
   4. Published
   5. Author
   Christopher Alexander
   6. Preceded by
   A Pattern Language
   7. Editors
   Christopher Alexander

*The Oregon Experiment*
>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


*The Oregon Experiment* is a 1975 book by Christopher Alexander
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Alexander> and collaborators
Murray Silverstein, Shlomo Angel, Sara Ishikawa, and Denny Abrams. It
describes an experimental approach to campus community planning
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_planning> at the University of
Oregon <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Oregon>, in Eugene,
Oregon <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene,_Oregon> which resulted in a
theory of architecture and planning described in the group's later
published and better-known volumes *A Pattern Language
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Pattern_Language>* and *The Timeless Way
of Building <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Timeless_Way_of_Building>*. [
1] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Experiment#cite_note-1> [2]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Experiment#cite_note-2> [3]

*Q.* What is a "Pattern Language?"

*A.* The term "pattern language" is best known from the book of the same
title, *A Pattern Language* (New York: Oxford UP, 1977), by Christopher
Alexander, who, in the early 1970s, helped the University of Oregon develop
its planning process. The process and its constituent components are
described more fully in Alexander's 1975 book *The Oregon Experiment* (New
York: Oxford UP). The purpose of developing a pattern language was to
provide a non-technical vocabulary of design principles that would allow
those who work, study, and/or live in buildings to communicate effectively
with the planners and designers of those buildings.

 *Q.* What is a pattern?

*A. * In Alexander's own words, "... we may define a pattern as any general
planning principle, which states a clear problem that may occur repeatedly
in the environment, states the range of contexts in which this problem will
occur, and gives the general features required by all buildings or plans
which will solve this problem." (*The Oregon Experiment*, p. 101) These
patterns ideally function together as words in a sentence, creating a
cohesive whole built on a common design language, the pattern language.

Images for The Oregon Experiment

Related links for The Oregon Experiment by Christopher Alexander


A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is a 1977 book on
architecture, urban design, and community livability. It was authored by
Christopher ...
United Diversity - Library
A7 Pattern Language is the second in a series of books which describe an
... Christopher A lexmzdef ... Copyright [image: :registered:] 1977 by
Christopher Alexander. Library of
[The entire book can be downloaded, 1218 pages]


Related Christopher Alexander books with sources.
A Pattern Language
Book by Christopher Alexander, Murray Silverstein, and Sara Ishikawa

The Timeless Way of Building
Book by Christopher Alexande

The Production of Houses
Book by Christopher Alexander

Notes on the Synthesis of Form
Book by Christopher Alexander

A New Theory of Urban Design
Book by Christopher Alexander

The Nature of Order
Book by Christopher Alexander

The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two
Book by Christopher Alexander

The Luminous Ground
Book by Christopher Alexander

The Nature of Order
published by the Center for Environmental Structure, Berkeley, California
Here is acclaimed architect Christopher Alexander's four-volume masterwork:
the result of 27 years of research and a lifetime of profoundly original

Alexander has advanced a new theory of architecture, matter, and
organization, that has attracted thousands of readers and practical
followers throughout the world. His grasp of the fundamental truths of
traditional ways of building, and his understanding of what gives life and
beauty and true functionality to towns and buildings, is put forth in a
context that sheds light on the character of order in all phenomena. Taken
even further, hundreds of examples are given to show how the theory has
been put to use in his many projects around the world.

The four books of The Nature of Order redefine architecture for the 21st
century as a field, as a profession, as practice and as social philosophy.
Each of the books deals with one facet of the discipline. This worldview
provides architecture with a new underpinning, describing procedures of
planning, design, and building, as well as attitudes to style, to the
shapes of buildings, and to the forms of urbanization and construction.
Here is an entirely new way of thinking about the world. As one writer has
expressed it, "The books provide the language for the construction and
transition to a new kind of society, rooted in the nature of human beings."

The four books, each one an essay on the topic of living structure, are
connected and interdependent. Each sheds light on one facet of living
structure: first, the definition; second, the process of generating living
structure; third, the practical vision of an architecture guided by the
concept of living structure; and fourth, the cosmological underpinnings and
implications brought into being by the idea of living structure.

The books offer a view of a human-centered universe, a view of order, in
which the soul, or human feeling and the soul, play a central role. Here,
experiments are not only conceivable in the abstract Cartesian mode, but a
new class of experiments relying on human feeling as a form of measurement,
show us definitively the foundation of all architecture as something which
resides in human beings. Whether this "something," which is demonstrated
and discussed throughout the four books, is to be regarded as a new entity
underlying matter, or what used to be called the "soul," is left for the
reader to decide.

Taken as a whole the four books create a sweeping new conception of the
nature of things which is both objective and structural (hence part of
science) - and also personal (in that it shows how and why things have the
power to touch the human heart). A step has been taken, through which these
two domains - the domain of geometrical structure and the feeling it
creates - kept separate during four centuries of scientific thought, have
finally been united.

The four volumes can be read separately, independently, and in any order.
However, it is together as a whole that they have their greatest impact.
For each book explores comprehensively different aspects of the coherence
of our universe, and brings us at last to being at one with it.

These concepts reach far beyond the field of architecture. Scholars and
practitioners in many fields are finding the relevance of these ideas to
their own areas of study and practice - physics, biology, philosophy,
cosmology, anthropology, computer science, and religious studies, to name a

Summary of Book One
The Phenomenon of Life
In Book 1, Alexander defines life and living structure as the necessary
criteria for quality in buildings. Starting with an analysis of the
arbitrariness of present-day architecture, and going to the root of
functional order in the world, he proposes a scientific basis for looking
at life as an objective concept that is rooted in structure. The book shows
living structure in good buildings and bad, human artifacts, and natural
systems, and discusses the presence of the same living order in all
systems. It is proposed that living structure, or living order, depends on
features which make a close connection with the human self. This way of
regarding living structures makes them amenable to empirical treatment. The
quality of works of art, artifacts, and buildings is defined, not merely in
terms of living structure, but also in their capacity to affect human
growth and human well-being.
    ". . .This will change the world as effectively as the advent of
printing changed the world. . ."
           Doug Carlston, Silicon Valley Luminary, former President of
    "Five hundred years is a long time, and I don't expect that many of the
people I interview will be known in the year 2500. Alexander may be an
           David Creelman, Author, Interview and Editor, HR Magazine

Summary of Book Two
The Process of Creating Life
Scientifically, this is perhaps the most exciting of the four books. How do
beautiful creations come into being? Nature can make an infinite number of
human faces, each one unique, each one beautiful. The same is true for
daffodils, streams, and stars. But man-made creations - especially the
towns and buildings of the 20th century - have only occasionally been
really good, and more often mediocre. In the last 50 years they have most
often been deadly.

What is the reason for the difference? It hinges on the deep nature of the
processes we use.

Merely understanding the geometry of beautiful and living form (the topic
of Book 1) is not enough to help us create such a living geometry. In the
20th century, our society was locked into deadly processes which created
our current built environment -- processes that most people were not really
aware of and did not question. Despite their best efforts and intentions,
architects and planners working within these processes, could not achieve a
living built environment.

Life and beauty in the built world arise only from processes which allow
living structure to unfold. The secret lies in knowing, as nature does,
what must happen in what order: what sequence of events allows a living
form to unfold successfully.

Here, in Book 2, Alexander puts forward a fully developed theory of living
process. He defines conditions for a process to be living: that is, capable
of generating living structure. He shows how such processes work, and how
they may be created. At the core of the new theory is the theory of
structure-preserving transformations. This concept, new in scientific
thinking, is based on the concept of wholeness defined in Book 1: A
structure-preserving transformation is one which preserves, extends, and
enhances the wholeness of a system.

Structure-preserving transformations provide the means for any step-by-step
process - social, biological, architectural, or technical - to reach
configurations which are most profound, most capable of supporting life.
The process of creation - whether in the formation of a single object, or
in the piecemeal aggregation of a town - requires this sort of generative
process, a careful and deliberate sequence of steps in which each step
creates the context for the next one, and each next wholeness is derived
from the previous wholeness.

Making changes in society, so that streets, buildings, rooms, gardens,
towns may be generated by hundreds of such sequences, requires massive
transformations. This book is the first blueprint of those transformations.

Summary of Book Three
A Vision of a Living World
    Volume 3, the last of the four books to be published, is the least
theoretical of the books and the most compelling from a practical point of
view. In Book 3 Alexander presents hundreds of his own buildings and those
of his contemporaries who have used similar methods consistent with the
theory of living process. The projects include neighborhoods, housing built
by people for themselves, public buildings, public urban space, ornament,
colors, and details of construction innovation. Hundreds of color
photographs offer concrete examples of the kind of spaces, things and
buildings you can achieve when you put Alexander's theories into practice.

    These photos of buildings, and the discussion of each, demonstrate
exactly what Alexander means when he talks about living structure, and
using life-creating processes to create beautiful places and buildings.
These places are more than just pleasant to look at, and be in - they reach
an archetypal level of human experience, reaching across centuries, across
continents, across cultures, across technology, across building materials
and climates. They connect to us all. They connect us to our own feelings.

    All four books of The Nature of Order present a new framework for
perceiving and interacting with our world, a methodology for creating
beautiful spaces, a cosmology where art, architecture, science, religion
and secular life all work comfortably together. The third book shows us --
visually, technically, and artistically -- what a world built in this
cosmology and framework is likely to be like for us. Six hundred pages of
projects built and planned over a thirty year period, including many
un-built experiments, illustrate the impact which is likely to follow from
the use of living process in the world. The book provides the reader with
an intuitive feel for the kind of world, its style and geometry, which is
likely to follow, together with its ecological and natural character. It
closes with an assessment of the archetypal character such a new, living
world, is likely to reveal.

    With these examples, lay people, architects, builders, scientists,
artists, and students are able to make this new framework real for
themselves, for their own lives, and for their own work. Alexander gives us
a feast for the eyes, the mind, and the heart.
        ". . . Alexander's approach presents a fundamental challenge to us
and our style-obsessed age. It suggests that beautiful form can come about
only through a process that is meaningful to people . . ."
               Thomas Fisher, former Editor, Progressive Architecture
        "Like all great revolutionary ideas that leave lasting scorch marks
on the historical tapestry of our intellectual and spiritual progress, CA's
profound insight takes us by surprise with its utter simplicity and
               Andrew Ilachinski, Ph.D., Theoretical Physics; editorial
board, "Journal of Cellular Automata"

Summary of Book Four
The Luminous Ground
The foundations of modern scientific thought, four centuries old, are
firmly rooted in a conception that the universe is a machinelike entity, a
play of baubles, machines, trinkets. To this day, our real daily experience
of ourselves has no clear place in science. It is little wonder that a
machinelike world-view has supported the deadly architecture of the last

This mechanistic thinking and the consequent investment-oriented tracts of
houses, condominiums and offices have dehumanized our cities and our lives.
How are spirit, soul, emotion, feeling to be introduced into a building, or
a street, or a development project, in modern times?

The Luminous Ground, the fourth book of The Nature of Order, contains what
is, perhaps, the deepest revelation in the four-volume work. Alexander
addresses the cosmological implications of the theory he has presented. The
book begins with a critique of current cosmological thinking, and its
separation from personal feeling and value. The outline of a theory in
which matter itself is more spirit-like, more personal in character, is
sketched. Here is a geometrical view of space and matter seamlessly
connected to our own private, personal, experience as sentient and knowing
creatures. This is not merely an emotional appendix to the scientific
theory of the other books. It is at the core of the entire work, and is
rooted in the fact that our two sides - our analytical thinking selves, and
our vulnerable emotional personalities as human beings - are coterminous,
and must be harnessed at one and the same time, if we are ever to really
make sense of what is around us, and be able to create a living world.

Alexander breaks away completely from the one-sided mechanical model of
buildings or neighborhoods as mere assemblages of technically generated,
interchangeable parts. He shows us conclusively that a spiritual,
emotional, and personal basis must underlie every act of building or
making. And then, in the middle of the book, comes the linchpin of the work
- a one-hundred-page chapter on color, which dramatically conveys the way
that consciousness and spirit are manifested in the world.

This is a new cosmology: consciousness inextricably joined to the substrate
of matter, present in all matter. This view, though radical, conforms to
our most ordinary, daily intuitions. It may provide a path for those
contemporary scientists who are beginning to see consciousness as the
underpinning of all matter, and thus as a proper object of scientific
study. And it will change, forever, our conception of what buildings are.
    "As we attempt to repair the distortion in the western worldview that
disconnects spirit and matter, we find inspiration, encouragement and
practical guidance in the visionary work of Christopher Alexander. He is a
giant among our generation."
           Miriam MacGillis, O.P., Dominican Sister, Founder & Director of
Genesis Farm, New Jersey
    "His mission is to overcome the split between inner and outer,
subjective and objective, feeling and reason, humanity and nature, value
and fact. Nothing less is required for the renewal of our culture, and
Alexander makes a substantial contribution to this process."
           David Lorimer, Program Director, Scientific and Medical Network,


The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.
W61 N617 Mequon Ave, Cedarburg, WI 53012 | p: 262.377.6039

What Is 'Wholeness'?

Wholeness is our worldview. It shapes how we act as people, conceive our
work, organize our activities, and interact with the natural world, our
built environment and our community.

Wholeness is a way of saying ‘the interconnectedness of all things’, just a
bit more elegant. Of all the forces that might have shaped the way we do
our work, Wholeness rises above competing concerns, systems, schools of
thought and philosophies. We have gleaned our understanding of wholeness
from a wide variety of sources: Goethe, Louis Sullivan, Bahá’u’lláh, David
Bohm, Aldo Leopold, Henri Bortoft, nearly every indigenous culture on the
planet, young children, and maybe most of all, Christopher Alexander.

Wholeness is manifested in a wide variety of ways within our practice:

Design Process →
    Employ an ‘unfolding’ rather than an ‘assembling’ process
    Inhibit undue conceptualizing
    Encourage whole brain approach where intuition balances abstract thought
Organized Listening, our Fundamental Skill →
    Write Patterns
    Avoid the ‘program-as-bottleneck’
    Set the stage for a smooth unfolding design process
Studio Organization →
    Keep all in one room
    Foster an open, informal communication
    Minimize hierarchy
    Emphasize horizontal structure
Relationship with our Clients →
    Include as a design collaborator
    Blur distinctions between client and studio
    Avoid professional language, ‘arch-speak’
Co-Evolving with the Natural World →
    Recognize that cultural and natural environments are co-evolving
    Promote regenerative development
    Respect nature as an extension of ethics (The Land Ethic, Aldo Leopold)
    Think past the property lines
Construction →
    Blur/demolish the boundaries between design and construction
    Include builder as a significant member of design team
    Foster a creative job site where craftsmen contribute to the design
Materials →
    Utilize local materials
    See building as the extension of a local economy

Christopher Alexander

The writings of Christopher Alexander form a great part of our studio
philosophy. The Nature of Order, Alexander's seminal essay on the art of
building and the nature of the universe, is a constant source of
inspiration and guidance in our search for meaning and beauty.

Throughout this site, we quote Alexander and reflect on his writings,
ideas, and philosophy. The implications of his Fifteen Fundamental
Properties are of vital importance to our every design effort. His
principles of strong centers and unfolding wholeness are cornerstones of
our studio consciousness and character, and at best, of our work.
Lawrence F. London
lfljvenaura at gmail.com

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