LIFE IN DESIGN: CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER AND THE NATURE OF ORDER

James Kalb

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v8i2.399

Abstract

How we build reflects how we understand the world around us. The architectural style of a period thus corresponds to the cosmological and epistemological beliefs then dominant, and objections to one are likely to line up with objections to the other. Christopher Alexander provides a strong example of that tendency. His opposition to architectural modernism and postmodernism reflects opposition to tendencies within modernity that present themselves as rational and liberating but are in his view very different in character, and his project involves restoring balance to modern understandings in a way that makes room for what he calls “the phenomenon of life.” He thus reaches results similar in basic ways to those reached in traditional and vernacular architecture but in a very different manner. It is not clear however that his approach can be generally followed.


Keywords

Christopher Alexander; modernity; science; traditionalism

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References

Alexander, C. (2002a). The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe. Berkeley, CA: The Center for Environmental Structure.

Alexander, C. (2002b). In The Nature of Order: The Phenomenon of Life (p. 425). Berkeley, CA: The Center for Environmental Structure.

Alexander, C., & Eisenman, P. (2004). Contrasting Concepts of Harmony in Architecture: The 1982 Debate Between Christopher Alexander and Peter Eisenman. Katarxis, (3). Retrieved from http://www.katarxis3.com

Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. New, York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Kirk, R. (1982). The Architecture of Servitude and Boredom. Modern Age, 114–121.

Röpke, W. (1998). In A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market (p. 86). ISI Books.

Rubin, V. (1976). In Individual and State in Ancient China: Essays on Four Chinese Philosophers (p. 59). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.


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