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'A Pattern Language' -- Architects, Builders Comments?

Posted by chisue (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 23, 11 at 11:03

Someone replied to a post with quotes from this book. I was so intrigued that I ordered the book from our library and have been poring over it. (V. long; seemingly unedited.)

Although points are belabored, the 'rules' make sense to me.

Is this way of thinking about design taught today?

Concepts are about designing structures that feel comfortable to people: transition entrances, sheltering roofs, orientation towards the south, framing 'views' instead of using huge expanses of glass, how to 'repair' or mitigate dead/avoided areas in buildings, gardens, towns.

The thoughts go beyond buildings alone to how buildings and orientations affect social intercourse.

"A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein (with others) c. 1977

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: 'A Pattern Language' -- Architects, Builders Comments?

The architect I'm meeting with next month recommends "Patterns of Home" by Barbara Winslow, Max Jacobson and Murray Silverstein, c. 2002 on his website. The introduction discusses two of the authors' involvement in "Patterns of Language" and how those patterns are applied in "Patterns of Home." The link is to the Taunton Press website which contains the introduction and other information about the book. I haven't read it yet, but it looks more edited, updated, and very readable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patterns of Home

RE: 'A Pattern Language' -- Architects, Builders Comments?

My sister and BIL built a strange little house according to the design principles and construction techniques propounded by Alexander. The techniques evidently are ill-suited for a mid-atlantic climate. They learned this after a few years in residence. Subsequently they moved to the Bay Area where BIL attended Berkeley Architecture School so he could learn directly from the master, and I would suppose discover why/how he built such a wreck of a house.
I read a bit of A Pattern Language, especially Alexander's observations on old structures and how/why the were successful buildings. Good stuff there. I skipped the chapters on constructing "hobbit houses with windows" which is the best description of my sister's old B/O project (builder/owner).

RE: 'A Pattern Language' -- Architects, Builders Comments?

mojomom -- Thanks! This sounds much more what I was seeking. Alexander, et al wrote more about social relationships, which is very *interesting*, but ranges very widely.

I was pleased to note one of the "Pattern" ideas exists in my town: A building and 'home away from home' for 12 - 18 year olds that THEY govern with as little adult influence as possible. The idea of neighborhood 'homes' for younger children is something I could see being combined with Senior Centers. It's envisioned as a place where children of working parents could come for a few hours or even overnights -- a 'second home' that isn't 'school' or 'babysitter', but replaces what the extended family of old used to provide. I suppose the current paranoia over 'stranger danger would kill this idea -- although the real danger is more often a sick individual hidden in a family.

sombreuil -- Oh, dear! "For every pattern there is a season/place"? I found Alexander et al quite provincial -- very Bay Area. For instance, the book states that there are no round barns, although he *thinks* that could work. LOL To be fair to the architect-authors, there's no shortage of carp owner-builder homes; DIY is always risky.

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