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The Nature of Order, An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe: Volume 1, The Phenomenon of Life

by Christopher Alexander

What is happening when a place in the world has life? And what is happening when it does not? In Book 1 of this four-volume work, Alexander describes a scientific view of the world in which all space-matter has perceptible degrees of life, and sets this understanding of living structure as an intellectual basis for a new architecture. He identifies fifteen geometric properties which tend to accompany the presence of life in nature, and also in the buildings and cities we make. These properties are seen over and over in nature, and in cities and streets of the past, but have all but disappeared in the deadly developments and buildings of the last one hundred years. The book shows that living structure depends on features which make a close connection with the human self, and that only living structure has the capacity to support human well-being. The other three volumes of The Nature of Order continue this thesis with three complementary views giving a masterful prescription for the processes which allow us to generate living structure in the world. They show us what such a world must gradually come to look like, and describe the modified cosmology in which "life" as an essential quality, together with our inner connection to the world around us-towns, streets, buildings, and artifacts-are central to a proper understanding of the scientific nature of the universe. "... Five hundred years is a long time, and I don't expect many of the people I interview will be known in the year 2500. Christopher Alexander may be an exception."--David Creelman, author, interviewer and editor, HR Magazine, Toronto. Christopher Alexander is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, architect, builder and author of many books and technical papers. He is the winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, and after 40 years of teaching is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

by Christopher Alexander Sara Ishikawa Murray Silverstein

The second of three books published by the Center for Environmental Structure to provide a "working alternative to our present ideas about architecture, building, and planning," A Pattern Language offers a practical language for building and planning based on natural considerations. The reader is given an overview of some 250 patterns that are the units of this language, each consisting of a design problem, discussion, illustration, and solution. By understanding recurrent design problems in our environment, readers can identify extant patterns in their own design projects and use these patterns to create a language of their own. Extraordinarily thorough, coherent, and accessible, this book has become a bible for homebuilders, contractors, and developers who care about creating healthy, high-level design.

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