The Oregon Experiment (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

The Oregon Experiment (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

Author(s): Christopher Alexander

Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (Trade)

ISBN: 0195018249

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The Oregon Experiment

Hardcover, 190 pages

Focusing on a plan for an extension to the University of Oregon, this book shows how any community the size of a university or small town might go about designing its own future environment with all members of the community participating personally or by representation. It is a brilliant companion volume to A Pattern Language.

About the Author

Christopher Alexander, winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, is an architect and builder who has built in many countries. He is also Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Environmental Structure.

A New Theory of Urban Design (Center for Environmental Structure Series, Vol 6)

A New Theory of Urban Design (Center for Environmental Structure Series, Vol 6)

Author(s): Christopher Alexander (Contributor), Hajo Neis, Artemis Anninou, ingr King

Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (Trade)

ISBN: 0195037537

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A New Theory of Urban Design (Center for Environmental Structure Series, Vol 6)

Hardcover, 251 pages
Publication date: November 1987

The venerable cities of the past, such as Venice or Amsterdam, convey a feeling of wholeness, an organic unity that surfaces in every detail, large and small, in restaurants, shops, public gardens, even in balconies and ornaments. But this sense of wholeness is lacking in modern urban design, with architects absorbed in problems of individual structures, and city planners preoccupied with local ordinances, it is almost impossible to achieve.

In this groundbreaking volume, the newest in a highly-acclaimed series by the Center for Environmental Structure, architect and planner Christopher Alexander presents a new theory of urban design which attempts to recapture the process by which cities develop organically. To discover the kinds of laws needed to create a growing whole in a city, Alexander proposes here a preliminary set of seven rules which embody the process at a practical level and which are consistent with the day-to-day demands of urban development.

He then puts these rules to the test, setting out with a number of his graduate students to simulate the urban redesign of a high-density part of San Francisco, initiating a project that encompassed some ninety different design problems, including warehouses, hotels, fishing piers, a music hall, and a public square. This extensive experiment is documented project by project, with detailed discussion of how each project satisfied the seven rules, accompanied by floorplans, elevations, street grids, axonometric diagrams and photographs of the scaled-down model which clearly illustrate the discussion.

A New Theory of Urban Design provides an entirely new theoretical framework for the discussion of urban problems, one that goes far to remedy the defects which cities have today.

About the Author:

Christopher Alexander, winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, is a practicing architect and contractor, Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Environmental Structure.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

Author(s): Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein

Publisher: Oxford Univ Press

ISBN: 0195019199

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Hardcover, 1171 pages

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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.

Customer Comments 11/07/97, rating=9:
A Pattern Language presents a compelling case for the influence of space, buildings, and landscape on human endeavors. We often overlook this force, accustomed as we are to accommodating spatial limitations and design flaws. But try entering any room and ignoring the cues of memory and social constraints – you will doubtless be drawn to the window in the room.

Alexander and his contributing editors present a series of patterns that operate universally on the mood and activities of people using spaces. “Light on Two Sides,” for example, is a pattern describing the impact of light entering a room from two directions. Functionally, this arrangement softens light by cancelling the harsh shadows that arise from a single light direction. Emotionally, this makes a room more pleasant to live and work in, and may of its own accord encourage certain activities.

Alexander’s huge study of over 200 patterns is at once modest and sweeping. He details patterns with care, and offers sketches and photographs to illustrate them, along with an unassuming voice. Above all, he demystifies architecture itself, calling upon any reader to assume a role in the design process. Despite this humility, the significance of Alexander’s vision is always present. In the end, he is constructing a formula for social utopiaÐan architectural prescription for living well and wisely. From integrating children and senior citizens into the daily life of a community to revealing the advantages of mixed use commercial and residential zoning, Alexander proposes ideas that can successfully animate any town’s master planning efforts.

Read this book if you’re designing house, working with an architect, looking for a new house, or contributing to your city’s planning commission. You will doubtless come away with a heightened appreciation for the influence of space on your choices and activities.

Notes on the Synthesis of Form

Notes on the Synthesis of FormAuthor(s): Christopher W. Alexander

Publisher: Harvard Univ Press

ISBN: 0674627512

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“These notes are about the process of design: the process of inventing things which display new physical order, organization, form, in response to function.” This book, opening with these words, presents an entirely new theory of the process of design.

In the first part of the book, Mr. Alexander discusses the process by which a form is adapted to the context of human needs and demands that has called it into being. He shows that such an adaptive process will be successful only if it proceeds piecemeal instead of all at once. It is for this reason that forms from traditional unselfconscious cultures, molded not by designers but by the slow pattern of changes within tradition, are so beautifully organized and adapted. When the designer, in our own self-conscious culture, is called on to create a form that is adapted to its context he is unsuccessful, because the preconceived categories out of which he builds his picture of the problem do not correspond to the inherent components of the problem, and therefore lead only to the arbitrariness, willfulness, and lack of understanding which plague the design of modern buildings and modern cities.

In the second part, Mr. Alexander presents a method by which the designer may bring his full creative imagination into play, and yet avoid the traps of irrelevant preconception.

Paperback Publication date: June 1970

Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier

Cover, Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier Author(s): Chris Zelov, Phil Cousineau and Brian Dantz

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

ISBN: 096503061X

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Paperback Publication date: April 1997

300 pages, 225 photos

Buckminster Fuller was a design outlaw. He shattered preconceived notions of how buildings and machines should be put together. The result was the geodesic dome, the 60 mile-per-gallon Dymaxion Car, the self-sufficient Dymaxion House and host of other inventions that influenced a new wave of designers. In making their award-winning film, Ecological Design, Chris Zelov and Phil Cousineau interviewed 26 present-day design outlaws. To expand on the film, they published this book. Both the film and the book are brimming with the ideas and prototypes of the trailblazers who have defined ecological design over the past thirty years.

Here’s a partial list of the outlaws: Brendan O’Reagan, Ian McHarg, Douglas Adams, John Todd, Jay Baldwin, Stewart Brand, Mary Catherine Bateson, Paul McCready, William McDonough, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Hazel Henderson, Pliny Fisk, Paolo Soleri, Christopher Alexander, John Connell and many more. These forward-thinking designers have defied convention with new ideas on shelter, energy, transportation and industry. In addition to being thought-provoking, these colorful characters are very entertaining.

Table of Contents

Chapter One:
Into the Fuller Universe
Thomas Hughes: The Frontier Spirit of Invention
Harold Cohen: Design as a Way of Making the World Work
Brendan O’Reagan: Outlaw Creativity
Douglas Adams: The Mad Ones; The Original Ones
John Todd: The Innovator’s Sense of Urgency
J. Baldwin: Encounters with the Mentor
Ian McHarg: Fuller’s Contribution
Paul MacCready: The Inventive Process

Chapter Two:
From a Machine for Living to Living Machines
Ian McHarg: Why is Architecture Oblivious to the Environment
James Wines: Towards a New Architecture
Edmund Bacon: Nature as Design Paradigm Stewart Brand: Sitting at the Counterculture
J. Baldwin: Into the Design Revolution
Tony Gwilliam: Organic Building
Mary Catherine Bateson: Understadning Natural Systems
William McDonough: Not a Machine for Living in – A Living Machine!

Chapter Three:
The Intelligent Use of Energy
Amory Lovins: The Road Least Taken
Hunter Lovins: The Rocky Mountain Institute
Peter Calthorpe: Whole-Systems Design
Hazel Henderson: Redefining Wealth
J. Baldwin: On Tools
Harold Cohen: Money is Money
William McDonough: Designing for Interdependance

Chapter Four:
The Galactic Explorer Perspective
Paul MacCready: The Galactic Explorer Comes to Visit
Brendan O’Reagan: Thinking in Interplanetary Terms
Pliny Fisk: Systems in Continuous Evolution
John Allen: The Cosmic Drama
Harold Cohen: Making the World Work for All Humanity
Duane Elgin: The Univeral Liturgy
John Todd: The New Alchemists
William McDonough: Reviving the Ancient Art of Design
James Wines: Developing a New Iconography

Chapter Five:
The Emergence of an Ecological Design Science
Ian McHarg: On the Origins of Ecological Design
Brendan O’Reagan: Heading for an Aesthetic of the Invisible
William McDonough: The Multiplier Effect in Design
Carol Franklin & Lesley Sauer: Synergistic Solutions
Tony Gwilliam: Comprehensive Anticipatory Design
Christopher Alexander: Design for Living Structures
Gail Vittori & Pliny Fisk: Obstacles to Sustainable Design
Mary Catherine Bateson: Making the Earth Our Home

Chapter Six:
The New Collective Dream
Paolo Soleri: Tranforming the Urban Condition
Tony Gwilliam: Integrated Architecture
Amory Lovins: Retrofitting Our Cities
Leslie Sauer & Carol Franklin: The Greening of the City
Christopher Alexander: The Living Structure Approach to Design
Mike Corbett: Why Can’t We Build Better Communities?
Virginia Thigpen: Community – Conceived Designs
Jaime Lerner: The Collective Dream

Chapter Seven:
Writing the New Codes
Peter Calthorpe: The History of the Codes
Douglas Adams: The Infinite Virtual Address
Duane Elgin: Mutually Assured Development
Paul MacCready: Education as an Odyssey of the Mind
James Wines: Design Education
Ian McHarg: Teaching the Ecological World View
Mike Corbett: Reinventing Design Education
Hazel Henderson: The Importance of Self-Education
William McDonough: a Shift from Style to Substance
Tom Casey: The Transformation of Business
J. Baldwin: Future Housing
Mary Catherine Bateson: A Future that Looks Like Home

Afterword: Toward a Design Curriculum for the 21st Century

Biography: R. Buckminster Fuller J. Baldwin: Teaching Comprehensive Design Science David Sellers: Antiques of the Future John Connel: Towards A Design Curriculum Anthony Walmsley: Ecological Design: Myth or Method

Linz Cafe

Linz CafeAuthor(s): Christopher Alexander

ISBN: 0195202635

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Linz Cafe Published 1982

The Production of Houses (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

The Production of HousesThe Production of Houses

Author(s): Christopher Alexander, Julio. Martinez, Howard Davis

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0195032233

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As an innovative thinker about building and planning, Christopher Alexander has attracted a devoted following. His seminal books–The Timeless Way of Building, A Pattern Language, the Oregon Experiment, and The Linz Cafe–defined a radical and fundamently new process of environmental design. Alexander now gives us the latest book in his series–a book that puts his theories to the test and shows what sort of production system can create the kind of environment he has envisioned.
The Production of Houses centers around a group of buildings which Alexander and his associates built in 1976 in northern Mexico. Each house is different and the book explains how each family helped to lay out and construct its own home according to the family’s own needs and in the framework of the pattern language. Numerous diagrams and tables as well as a variety of anecdotes make the day-today process clear.
The Mexican project, however, is only the starting point for a comprehensive theory of housing production. The Production of Houses describes seven principles which apply to any system of production in any part of the world for housing of any cost in any climate or culture or at any density.
In the last part of the book, “The Shift of Paradigm,” Alexander describes, in detail, the devastating nature of the revolution in world view which is contained in his proposal for housing construction, and its overall implications for deep-seated cultural change.

About the Author

Christopher Alexander, winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, is a practicing architect and contractor, Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Environmental Structure. He also wrote Notes on the Synthesis of Form.

 

Hardcover
Publication date: May 1984

The Timeless Way of Building

The Timeless Way of BuildingAuthor(s): Christopher Alexander

Publisher: Oxford Univ Press

ISBN: 0195024028

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The Timeless Way of Building

A breathtaking and profound book. It is amazing how a book that propounds revolutionary architectural theory has stirred up the computer software industry. This deeply philosophical book, which is very practical and rigorous, lays the foundation for developing pattern languages. The book is all about a common language that can be shared to build artifacts that are alive. It stresses that a design should always concentrate on the whole and not on assembling parts. It also shows the power of distributed processing, if you will, as against centralized processing. All the great principles have one thing in common. They are simple. And, after one realizes such a simple but profound principle, one can not stop wondering how one survived without its knowledge. This book gives that feeling. If you are involved in architecture of any sort- buildings, software, organization or even politics- this book is a must for you.