Free online A Pattern Language Towns Buildings Construction Author Christopher W. Alexander – friendship–circle.co.uk


Shackletons Journey kAnyone with the luxury of designing their own home should jump at the chance to get this book It s a bit dated but at 1100 pages it surely describes most of the details you ll need to think aboutI took it home from the library because it s a fascinating book about architectural design in general everything from the optimal size of a public suare 70 feet wide to the best place for a garden seat I learned that my house has a good intimacy gradient spaces meant to be public are readily accessible private rooms are tucked away but is poorly designed with regard to windows rooms should have windows on 2 sidesHowever with no easily discernible scheme of organization not to mention seeing all the ways my house could never be improved this book was ultimately frustrating to me The authors of this book architects and designers believed that they had identified design issues that were timeless They did the research and writing for the book between about 1968 and 1977 I think many of their solutions and even some of the problems they identified were dated by the time the book was published I read the essays in the book out of order which was interesting sort of like choosing your own adventure That and the unwieldy nature of their arguments made it difficult to figure out how to summarize what the book means to me It s a beautiful and idealistic book that envisions a society where people build to give everyone what they need These authors were among many people who believed that the only way to ensure that communities reflect the people who live in them is home ownership They did not address uestions of affordability of housing Further as they began their project in 1968 they believed that the problem of racism in housing was over After all they d seen the passage of the Fair Housing Act They even dismissed racism as an issue in one essay while discussing the formation of neighborhoods by affinity These massive oversights or innocence or whatever it was make reading this book almost unbearable Another thing which made the book feel dated to me were all the ways that the authors tried to deal with the generation gap and the family I cannot imagine how people who had traveled to many cultures and cities could think of their emphasis on the normalcy and centrality of the nuclear family and in particular the needs of couples were universal The other piece of reading this book that saddened me were all the insights about low rise buildings the importance of public space and the need for people to have space to play Every positive thing in this book has either been ignored in urban planning to the extent we actually allow urban planners to plan spaces or made available to affluent people only I think the saddest thing was seeing recently that people are building mini houses in parking lots This decades after this book came out and was read by everyone this book that asserts that only a minimal amount of space in a city should go to parking and how important it is for every house to have a garden Anyway fun to read if bittersweet An essential book for anybody interested in the field I read it cover to cover very slowly with breaks and now I feel I have some grasp of what it takes to build a houseIt is of course dated and highly geared towards North American houses but it s still a seminal work The parts on urbanism are in fact how we in CNW Europe do manage things so that is heartening Extensions to the book for instance how to build houses in very space constrained environments like the Netherlands could be interestingWhat is annoying is how much of today s buildings are not with the patterns in this book I recommend policy makers and architects to be thumped with this tome on regular basis I really don tnow what I was expecting when I reserved this from the library but it wasn t this In my defense it sounded interesting I thought it might be a discussion of sociology and history meant to inspire or empower people to build what they wanted In fact what I got isLet me back up Just recently Irrational Games released the latest in their series of dystopian first person shooters Bioshock Infinite In this series visionary philosophers seek to found utopian communities based on the idea that humanity needs to be organized around a different guiding principle *and in this isolation temporarily achieve great things only to be ultimately * in this isolation temporarily achieve great things only to be ultimately by the fundamental flaws inherent in their philosophy In the first game you get to live out the fantasy of illing a bunch of Ayn Randian objectivist libertarians that have mutated into monsters In this latest game you are pitted against fanatical American patriots who worship the founding fathers One of the things that greatly interests me is that the utopian communities of Bioshock look absolutely nothing like the sort of utopian communities that are actually created or desired by the sort of people whose philosophies Bioshock draws inspiration from American religious mystics don t create high tech cities They create something like a Shaker village The people inspired by American Exceptionalism didn t create isolationist flying communes but Detroit and Chicago The followers of Ann Rand didn t and wouldn t be interested in planned communities They d correctly diagnosis any sort of planned community as a de facto government and isolation as a tool of empowerment by That Government You Can Say Many Things About The Objectivists government You can say many things about the Objectivists they aren t really into building Utopias or at least not for communities as a whole Actual religious utopians building intentional planned communities don t tend to imagine high tech cities as a way to get spiritual If you actually look at the history of intentional communities in the United States and the world you find a lot of luddite religious groups a few con artists a great many free spirited anarchist suatters and an endless succession of socialist communes compounds show cities and planned communities In fact the only modern religious philosophy that has shown any consistent interest in building communities set apart from the rest of society is socialism It s got a rich 200 year history but if you are waiting for the Bioshock game that has a communist planned community at its heart well I suspect you ll be waiting a long while Actually attacking a vibrant religion especially one many of your friends belong too has wa. At the core of A Pattern Language is the philosophy that in designing their environments people always rely on certain ‘languages’ which like the languages we speak allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a formal system which gives them coherenceThis book provides a language of this ind It will enable making a design for almost any ind of building or any part of th. A Pattern Language Towns Buildings ConstructionArs because there is no other way to describe it but as amazing Forgive me the long review but it was a library checkout and I want to refer back to itI was initially annoyed that there wasn t an idex where I could look up office space and uickly read their recommendations for the best layout Yet now I love the way each pattern refers to all the other patterns it is connected to and you find yourself flipping from garden benches to farmhouse itchens It probably also helps that each chapterpattern is only a few pages so I could delude myself and my family that I was only going to read for a few minutesI can see why some wouldn t enjoy this I can t imagine trying to read it for a class or as laid out from start to finish rather than jumping around One positive reviewer wrote It s wildly ambitious and preachy and reassuringly confident All true and also uite dated at times but still lovely and inspiringIt made me want to contact the designer of our house because while we unfortunately don t have the several feet thick walls recommended so much of our house has patterns as if the designer had the book in hand eg the flow through rooms cascade of roofs dormer window ceiling height variety low window sills something I previously found baffling as well as things we added window seats half hidden garden child caves under the stairs room I especially loved the last pattern Things From Your Life Do not be tricked into believe that modern decor must be slickor natural or whatever else that current taste makers claim It is most beautiful when it comes straight from your life the things you care for the things that tell your story I so appreciated this after being told by a much design wise friend that I was brave to have so many family photos out I Ngôi nhà xưa know design rules call for them to be in less public rooms but I love photography and these people and love having them throughout our homeI love the open shelves pattern hope to implement it in ouritchen The city planning patterns depressed me as they are the opposite of how most public spaces are laid out but I still found them instructive Loved the child in the city pattern and The copy I borrowed from our library had a personal inscription that included this uoteThere is nothing stronger or noblerthan when a man and a womanare of one heart in a home a grief to their enemiesAnd to their friends great joyBut their own hearts now it best HomerEDIT The above review is from November 2010 Reread again in 2014 Loved it even and started a blog series 31 Days of A Pattern Language 1171 pages covering 253 patterns And this is the second half of the book 1st half is The Timeless Way of Building1171 pages love their little sketches and diagrams but for the average urbanist this book isn t worth your time Lots of the ideas are timeless if misunderstood or neglected during certain periods but many others are dated unpopular or so idealistic as to be ludicrous Some principles counter acted others some are counter intuitive but uite sensible others are classic gemsThis book in it s exhaustive coverage of all scales of living might be a guide for God as if he were moving on to towns and buildings on the 8th day The scale of the proposed design is completely utopian but the tone is unabashedly sincere and specificWhat i like is that instead of just identifying problems with the built environment as so many do they are all about solutions however unrealisticA few uotesIt is not possible to avoid the need for high speed roads in modern society but it is essential to place them and build them in such a Way That They Do Not Destroy Communities that they do not destroy communities countrysideThere is abundant evidence to show that high buildings make people crazy From Chapter 21 Four Story Limit complete with cited studies and a comparison of SF s Transamerica Pyramid to a Big Brother Ministry from Orwell s 1984As part of the network of bike paths develop one system of paths that is extra safe entirely separate from automobiles with lights and bridges at the crossings with homes and ships along it so that there are always many eyes so that there are always many eyes the path Let this path go through every neighborhood so that children can get onto it without crossing a main road And run the path all through the city down pedestrian streets through workshops assembly plants warehouses interchanges print houses bakeries all the interesting invisible live of a town so that the children can roam freely on their bikes and trikesSee what i mean ah to have lived in the 70s when such a path was still dreamable This is probably my favorite non fiction book Christopher Alexander and his students have still dreamable This is probably my favorite non fiction book Christopher Alexander and his students have everything there is to now about design and put it in one book Yet cultures go on making the same mistakes over and over And few architects I talk to have ever read the bookThe book is easy to read and understand It consists of hundreds of patterns described in a page or two They range from the width of door molding to how cities should be laid out For example there is a pattern Old People Everywhere and Alexander explains why that s the best pattern for humans to follow Each pattern has a number of stars Four stars means the author is pretty sure there are no other patterns for this subject of eual value One star means it s a good pattern but there may be other patterns that serve people well A little bit of history at least as I now it First Alexander wrote a thin volume titled The Timeless Way of Building that postulated that there were patterns of design that just worked All we had to do was identify them and emulate them This book was greeted with a huge yawn by readers So Alexander went off with his students to actually identify the patterns thus producing A Pattern Language This is the book that sparked my interest in architecture and home design many years ago Skip the town and urban planning if you are interested in how to design a comfortable home Christopher Alexander is passionate and persuasive about what he believes we need in our homes natural light from two sides of a room window seats one can actually read in uiet separate dressing areas for every person in a house because bedrooms should be rooms to relax and be intimate in not a messy clothes managing area child caves because children love to be in tiny cave like places and many things you may have not thought of You ll never look at your home the same way again. S say in their introduction many of the patterns are archetypal so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seems likely that they will be a part of human nature and human action as much in five hundred years as they are today A Pattern Language is related to Alexander’s other works in the Center for Environmental Structure series The Timeless Way of Building introductory volume and The Oregon Experimen. Y too many social repercussionsIf you want a real model for the sort of communities found in Bioshock then you couldn t really do better than this book Instead of a discussion of the theories of social organization and how they relate to architecture what you get in this book is a blueprint based on a theory of desirable organization There is within the pages of this book a detailed outline of exactly how the lives of people are to be controlled in every practical aspect Alexander has a plan for everything where you own land where you work what you do where you shop and where you sleep Everything is planned out in meticulous detail What I find particularly interesting is that what he s planning is ultimately little than a tessellated medieval town This is guy who has clearly gone to Europe fallen in love with the post medieval countryside and decided that this is the way mankind must be made to live Grounded in pseudoscience Alexander outlines reasoning for recreating every incidental aspect of the medieval countryside In the real world the complex winding tapestry of medieval fields and farms was the result of patrimony and continual subinfeudation In Alexander s fantasy world the thin intertwined fingers of land familiar to anyone with than a half dozen hours of college level course study in Medieval history are the product of science in the same way that the huge communal government owned farms of the Soviet Union and Mao s great agricultural leap forward were the product of science The pattern of streets in a medieval town the layout of semi self sufficient neighborhoods within larger cities virtually every aspect of medieval culture save the central organizing cathedral at the hub is apparent in the layout The steel I beam doesn t exist in this world nor does it appear the elevator nor does electricity save in the most cursory way This is building for the 19th century Now there are important topics here that could be discussed but from his perspective in the 1970 s a time filled with socialist community planning my cousin lived on a commune the writer isn t really asking the right uestions or thinking about them Instead of looking at the world s architectural diversity and really seeing it as adaptive and useful engineering he s got his theory and by golly he s going to stick with itI do Alexander no injustice to claim that he is a would be tyrant of the highest degree Alexander is well aware that his intentional planned community won t come about organically by people seeing the sense of his ideas and incorporating them into their lives from the bottom up first building house according to his principles then latter building complexes and latter neighborhoods and finally cities He well aware that his vision reuires above all two things central planning and authoritarian force The only way to get people to do what Alexander believes is good for them is to make them do it Every second page of the book contains an enjoinder to create laws that enforce the pattern discussed in that section and a discussion of the necessity of doing so Of course every page with such an injunction also contains a proof that the pattern to be enforced is really the natural one humanity prefers which means there has to be a Satan in the garden somewhere but I didn t read the book closely enough to find evidence beyond a few attacks on bankers and investors I suspect however that I d be learning nothing additional about the book to find the answer on that subject I ve encountered *too much of this sort of crap beforeAnyway what I wanted * much of this sort of crap beforeAnyway what I wanted science What I got was religion There are many ironies in this text but probably the greatest one for me is that of all the areas of American life that this book impacts other than a few municipal codes in California the area you can see Alexander s theories play out to their fullest is in the design of Shopping Malls the area you can see Alexander s theories play out to their fullest is in the design of Shopping Malls are ey to understanding what is ailing our landscape There is an order a language for the way a good street is created For example there are recognizable parts that make up a good village townscape Each part a fence a lilac a walkway a wall a front door a roof each part works with the other parts to create a place that could only be that place in the whole world This is the brilliant insight of Christopher Alexander s amazing book A Pattern Language You may have seen it around it s an unusual yellow brick of a book that presents 253 patterns There are large patterns for country towns neighborhood boundaries and ring roads And smaller patterns for street caf s pedestrian streets porches fruit trees compost alcoves fireplaces children s secret play spaces dancing in the street This book can be read in any order just as a walk across a city or town can take you many places And it can be read as a long poem in praise of the delights of ordinary places It s a stirring book and like a first encounter with Bach it opens a view to a better self a better place Alexander makes you feel like you can go out and build something beautiful A Pattern Language shows us that the relationships between things matter and that there are no things really but relationships There isn t a chair but the relationship of the parts that make up a chair There isn t a house but a series of patterns a pattern language that creates a house And that house is a part of other patterns creating a yard a street a village Read A Pattern Language with its companion book The Timeless Way of Building Very inspiring Empowered me to think practically about architecture at all scales No appraisal or brainstorm on anything architecture houses or buildings goes by without these patterns popping up in my mindI now understand why the author himself hated that his pattern approach was appropriated by folks turning it into something abstract programming patterns whereas he meant them as an easy democratic tool for everyday people to make their own neighbourhoods and houses This book is a political statement in the sense that it actively tries to pry the monopoly on shaping our built world out of the hands of the chosen few in architecture firmsThe book is a product of its time though and while many ideas are rooted in universal properties of the human psyche and physiue there are also ideas that are less timeless and obviously it lacks insights we ve learned since the 70s I have to give it 5 st. E built environment ‘Patterns’ the units of this language are answers to design problems how high should a window sill be; how many stories should a building have; how much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and treesMore than 250 of the patterns in this language are outlined each consisting of a problem statement a discussion of the problem with an illustration and a solution As the author.