Christopher Alexander: A Primer

Christopher Alexander’s work is hard to get into. He’s written over 15 books, and there isn’t one that serves as a general intro or overview for the rest. In this livestream, I gave an informal introduction to what I think are the most important ideas in his body of work. Outline with timestamps below…

0:00:00 Background and motivation

0:06:48 Plan of the talk

0:10:32 Form, Context, and Fit

0:16:40 Beyond Fitness: Life and a Better World - 0:18:29 Example: Soviet style building vs a living courtyard - 0:22:46 Example: Redesigning a tree planter in a plaza

0:27:43 Introducing centers and generative process

0:30:08 Centers — Coherent regions in spatial structure - 0:32:50 Example: Human face, well adapted centers - 0:34:31 Example: Entrance of a building - 0:35:58 Strong centers and weak centers

0:37:22 Process — Step by step adaptation - 0:37:22 Example: Nolli plan of Rome - 0:39:41 Sequence and path-dependence - 0:40:41 A pattern as a form/context pair and a generic set of centers - 0:41:54 Example: 6-Foot Balcony - 0:44:17 Knitting patterns together into a language - 0:44:33 Example: Farmhouse kitchen - 0:45:25 Sequence of the kitchen layout - 0:47:31 Example: Sequencing a house and a garden

0:49:02 Project-Specific Pattern Languages - 0:52:32 How pattern languages give freedom t…

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