Christopher Alexander: A Pattern Language

Feature

Friday, April 01, 2011

Architect and author Christopher Alexander, painting at his home in England Architect and author Christopher Alexander, painting at his home in England (Maggie Moore Alexander)

Just over 30 years ago, an Englishman named Christopher Alexander tried to revolutionize architecture. In A Pattern Language, Alexander told architects and planners to design homes on emotional and spiritual principles – not on traffic flow. The revolution didn’t quite come. But the book had a surprising influence on another group of experts: the computer scientists who were just beginning to shape the Internet. Produced by Lu Olkowski. (Originally aired: August 15, 2008)

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Contributors:

Lu Olkowski

Comments [9]

hosu mewhenu from lagos state, nigeria

i am a student of english language and literature in english. I need some materials to acquaint myself with language studio and laboratory.i will appreciate it if they are sent to my mail box.thanks.

May. 22 2011 07:51 PM
Susan von Struensee from Virginia

http://www.fearlesschangepatterns.com/
applies Christopher Alexander's work to change management. Even though change is difficult, leaders can't avoid it. They have gathered proven strategies for leading a change initiative-studied how change agents throughout history have tackled the problems they faced, and identified emerging patterns.

Apr. 07 2011 02:15 PM
Chris Burd from Victoria, BC

Yes, it's saddening that at one time (c. early 1980s) Alexander was considered a peer of Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenmann, and those other po-mo architectural theorists. Unfortunately, they won the real battle for bricks, mortar, concrete, and steel. Still, with the state architecture's in now, Alexander may be due for a revival.

Just a note, he was born in Vienna, so not really an Englishman.

Apr. 05 2011 05:55 PM
Joe Costion from Flagstaff Arizona

After several years of trying to find a decent book, I finally decided to use " A Pattern Language" for my text in my CTM 120 "Building the Human Environment" class here in Flagstaff at Coconino Community College. It had always been a core reference anyway. The student reactions are always quite interesting from perplexed to actual excitement, including the student from years ago who pointed me to this article. Memorable.
Building & designing "community" has several layers and this book really helps students engage the complexities & has led to many thoughtful and engaging class sessions. No more hum drum lectures of drill & kill here.
I recommend it highly - Truly a timeless way of building

Apr. 04 2011 08:03 PM
Catherine from Port Murray, NJ

..heard this on the way to the market..went straight online after getting home to research this great story. Now to find out if my library has a copy and where I can find such a place to live ! Great piece..

Apr. 03 2011 01:37 PM
Paul

I appreciate you doing this story on Alexander. I've been coding for years and I have an MFA ...and I've never once heard about him in either fields. How "Learning From Las Vegas" be canonical and "A Pattern Language" obscure I have no idea. I'd like to know that... did art academia consider him too mystical although he influenced the development of actual computer science? There's a story for you: demystifiers more stringent than real scientists.

Apr. 03 2011 07:44 AM
Dr. Hope Voto from Philadelphia, PA

The Patterns Movement is a longtime in coming. I love the Yoda backdrop... exactly right. This is the best report that I have heard in a very, very long time. Humanism touching every aspect of our lives is how a beautiful life is meant to be lived, in my humble opinion. Hurray, Studio 360 for honoring this truth! Thank you Christopher Alexander for your candor and your book... and way to go Lu Olkowski for getting this right!
Sending you my very warm greetings,
Hope

Apr. 03 2011 01:26 AM
Sara Ting

This interview with Christopher Alexander was wonderful and inspiring!!! It is great to know there are big thinkers like him who are thinking about how to enrich the experiences we have with each other and I believe connect more with our spirit.

Apr. 02 2011 05:21 PM

Thank you for making computer programmers appear almost human once again. For years I had resented them for stealing the name of my profession, which has been in use for many thousands of years, and using it for something completely foreign. It is particularly galling to be called by a headhunter with promises of fantastic salaries, only to find through the course of the conversation that he is talking about an I T architect not a real architect. Go to any jobsearch website and look for positions for “architect” and you will see what I mean.
Don’t get me wrong. I still resent them stealing our name, but now I can see that at least the good ones have something in common with real architects.
Mike Schuetz, AIA
Attached is an e-mail I received a couple days ago. (edited for length)

Hello, Michael, my name is (deleted) and I am a technical recruiter with The Computer Merchant, Ltd.
I am contacting you because I'm recruiting on an exciting position with a prestigious client. Below you will find the job description detailing the preferred specifications that our client is seeking.
Leads PSS (JetSream) module Architecture activities. Oversees all module sub-modules architectural activites ensuring compliance with JetStream Architectural Blueprint, reviews architecturally significant designs on a periodic and as needed basis, recommends areas for code refactoring, ensures compliance to all program coding and architectural standards. Stays engaged with all other PSS architect for overall technical direction and sharing of best practices.
- Strong Architecture skills with an understanding and/or development experience in XML, SOAP, UDDI, J2EE, .Net, WS-Security, ITIL processes, SOA Governance, Web Services Management tools, and Object Oriented Programming
- Hands-on experience with Enterprise Architecture, and documentation tools (including tools like Visio, Rational Software Architect, etc.)
- Develop descriptions and diagrams of changes for customers, analysts and architects.
Leads PSS (JetSream) module Architecture activities. Oversees all module sub-modules architectural activites ensuring compliance with JetStream Architectural Blueprint, reviews architecturally significant designs on a periodic and as needed basis, recommends areas for code refactoring, ensures compliance to all program coding and architectural standards. Stays engaged with all other PSS architect for overall technical direction and sharing od best practices.
- Strong Architecture skills with an understanding and/or development experience in XML, SOAP, UDDI, J2EE, .Net, WS-Security, ITIL processes, SOA Governance, Web Services Management tools, and Object Oriented Programming
- Hands-on experience with Enterprise Architecture and documentation tools (including tools like Visio, Rational Software Architect, etc.)- Develop descriptions and diagrams of changes for customers, analysts and architects.

Mar. 31 2011 11:42 PM

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