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A Pattern Language

Christopher Alexander, 1977


Simple Convenient Format

Humanist Solutions to
Complex Design Problems

VARIOUS SCALES- URBAN


PLANNING TO INTERIOR DESIGN

Most Widely Read


Architectural Publication
CONCEPTUALISATION

DEVELOPMENT AND
DOCUMENTATION

IMPLEMENTATION AND
OUTCOMES
253
towns
94

buildings
110

CONSTRUCTION
49
“At the core is the idea people should design their homes,
streets, and communities. This ideacomes from the
observation most of the wonderful places of the world were
not made by architects, but by the people.”
“Each pattern represents our current best guess as to what
arrangement of the physical environment will work to solve
the problem presented. The empirical questions center on
the problem—does it occur and is it felt in the way we describe
it?—and the solution—does the arrangement we propose
solve the problem? And the asterisks represent our degree
of faith in these hypotheses. But of course, no matter what
the asterisks say, the patterns are still hypotheses, all 253
of them—and are, therefore, all tentative, all free to evolve
under the impact of new experience and observation.”
TOWN, COMMUNITY
REGIONAL POLICIES 1

MAJOR STRUCTURES, CENTERS 8

PHYSICAL PATTERNS THROUGH SELF GOVERNMENT 12

CONNECTIONS AND NETWORKS 16

LOCAL POLICIES 21

MAJOR CENTERS 28

HOUSING CLUSTERS 35

WORK COMMUNITIES 41

ROAD AND PATH NETWORK 49

OPEN SPACES 58

LOCAL PUBLIC SPACES 67

SOCIAL HOUSING 75

LOCAL LEARNING SPACES 80

LOCAL LEISURE SPACES 87


BUILDINGS AND GROUPS

BUILDING ARRANGEMENT 95

BUILDING POSITIONING 104

BUILDING LAYOUT AND FORM, INDOOR/OUTDOOR 110

PATHS AND SQUARES 119

HIERARCHY AND LIGHT 127

IMPORTANT ROOMS RESIDENTIAL 136

WORKSPACES AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS 146

ANCILLARY SPACES RESIDENTIAL 153

CONNECT , EDGE BETWEEN INSIDE & OUTSIDE 159

GARDEN SPACES 169

ALCOVES AND NICHES 179


SHAPE AND SIZE 190

FENESTRATION AND STORAGE- WALL 197


CONSTRUCTION AND DETAIL

STRUCTURAL PHILOSOPHY 205

STRUCTURAL LAYOUT 209

FOUNDATION AND SUPERSTRUCTURE 214

FENESTRATION 221

STRUCTURAL DETAILS 226

SURFACE AND INDOOR DETAILS 233

OUTDOOR DETAILS 241

ORNAMENT AND COLOUR 249


FORMAT

SECTION 1- IDENTIFICATION, NAME, NUMBER, CONFIDENCE RATING,

PHOTOGRAPH

SECTION 2- LIST OF CONNECTIONS TO OTHER PATTERNS

SECTION 3- CONTEXT AND EVIDENCE

SECTION 4- DIAGRAMS AND ACTIONS FOR ‘QUALITY’

SECTION 5 LIST OF PATTERNS TO HELP COMPLETE IT


CONCEPTUALIZATION

Inflexible world View

Rejection of Pluralist Values and Subjective World View

Singular and Objective- ‘quality without a name’?? Can a certain environment be objectively

superior to another?

Social, Political, Economic realities and incompatible

Do we all really share a common value system? External controls, inhibitions, rules, morals, fears.

Do we all experience and give a response to a stimulus the same way?

Can no one have an alternate lifestyle?

Is timeless way of building the only way to create beautiful environments?

Legitimacy, Lack of scholarly research to back scientific definition


DEVELOPMENT

Understanding of ‘science’- Figuring something out

No explicit definitions - lack of practical engagement

Reasoning- Is there only one ‘right’ way of building

Patterns weren’t proven to produce superior environments

Gives freedom to develop but demands adherence to his rules

Less visual material to engage with theories, less clear examples

Connections and synthesis of patterns doesn’t have a definitive language- Reverse sequencing

does not provide links

What is Beauty?

Authoritative Statements, Provocative, Low opinion of Architects

Vision of Society of Freedom, Activated populace. No external controls.


Grass-roots processes are the only way not Top-Down
IMPLEMENTATION

Flaws in Individual Patterns by testing

Failing to create environments that embody the ‘quality without a name’

Restricting Architects to only provide solutions for emotional and physical needs

No Outliers, nothing Radical

Patterns may not satisfy user preferences

Patterns may not always create a beautiful space

No focus on geometry
STILL....

Historical artefact worthy of further exploration

Formalising the complex phenomena into an easily digestible format which is accessible to non-

professionals

Architect-Client relationship. Means of understanding values and visions of one another.

Investigating the concept of pattern languages

Can be rigorously tested to conclude if they are practical design methodologies

Development of new pattern languages without Alexander’s views


The Death and Life of
Great Amerian Cities
Jane Jacobs, 1961
Own observations to formulate philosophies

New York | Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago

Principles of city planning based on sociology,


not being more concerned with automobiles

Organic urban vibrancy


PARTS

1) City problems, using sidewalks and parks as


metaphors

2) Economics behind city problems

3) Decay and regeneration

4) Suggestions for change in existing and new


cities
“In setting forth principles, I shall mainly be writing about
common, ordinary things: for instance, what kinds of
city streets are safe and what kinds are not; why some
city parks are marvelous and others are vice traps and
death traps; why some slums stay slums and other slums
regenerate themselves even against financial and official
opposition; what makes downtowns shift their centers;
what, if anything, is a city neighbourhood, and what jobs, if
any, neighbourhoods in great cities do. In short, I shall be
writing about how cities work in real life. . .”
THEMES

City planning errors

Successful vs unsuccessful neighbourhoods

Diversity- meaning and component for


successful cities

Rethinking factors that define a city

Slumming, unslumming- want and not force


“The way to get at what goes on in the seemingly
mysterious and perverse behavior of cities is, I think,
to look closely, and with little previous expectation as
possible, at the most ordinary scenes and events, and
attempt to see what they mean and whether any
threads of principle emerge among them”
A) THE PECULIAR NATURE B) THE CONDITIONS FOR
OF CITIES CITY DIVERSITY
2 The uses of sidewalks: safety, 7 The generators of diversity,
3 The uses of sidewalks: contact, 8 The need for primary mixed uses,
4 The uses of sidewalks: assimilating 9 The need for small blocks,
children, 10 The need for aged buildings,
5 The uses of neighborhood parks, 11 The need for concentration,
6 The uses of city neighborhoods, 12 Some myths about diversity,

C) FORCES OF DECLINE D) DIFFERENT TACTICS


AND REGENERATION
13 The self-destruction of diversity, 17 Subsidizing dwellings,
14 The curse of border vacuums, 18 Erosion of cities or attrition of
15 Unslumming and slumming, automobiles,
16 Gradual money and cataclysmic 19 Visual order: its limitations and
money, possibilities,
20 Salvaging projects,
21 Governing and planning districts,
22 The kind of problem a city is,
“This ubiquitous principle is the need of cities for a most
intricate and close-grained diversity of uses that give each
other constant mutual support, both economically and
socially. The components of this diversity can differ
enormously, but they must supplement each other in certain
concrete ways”
Indian Context
Le Corbusier, Joseph Allen Stein, Otto
Koenigsberger, Louis Khan, Laurie Baker, Nari
Gandhi, B.V.Doshi, Achyut Kanvinde, Charles
Correa, Anant Raje, Uttam Jain, Joseph Allen
Stein, Raj Rewal, Hasmukh Patel, Bimal Patel,
Nimish patel, Karan Grover