Christopher AlexanderGoogling around trying to find some texts about design patterns and computer programming I could find this interesting cite from Christopher Alexander, in a website devoted to his book The Nature of Order:

In the past century, architecture has always been a minor science – if it has been a science at all. Present day architects who want to be scientific, try to incorporate the ideas of physics, psychology, anthropology . . . in their work . . . in the hope of keeping in tune with the “scientific” times. – Christopher Alexander, Berkeley, 1983

I believe we are on the threshold of a new era, when this relation between architecture and the physical sciences may be reversed – when the proper understanding of the deep questions of space, as they are embodied in architecture . . . will play a revolutionary role in the way we see the world . . . and will perhaps play the role for the world view of the 21st and 22nd centuries, that physics has played in shaping the world view of the 19th and 20th. – Christopher Alexander, Berkeley, 1983

This could have been the reverse of the text intro in my website www.rvburke.com; the other side of the coin. Both reflect the wish of a more comprehensive view of the world, but, in my view of it, while architecture still holds a more syntetic point of view than the analythic nature of science, it’s still this last one where new knowledge is being generated nowadays.

Architecture has lived upon formal experimentation for a lot of years now, but taking some push from ecology, sociology, complex systems science or other science fields can be a powerful source of new knowledge to integrate.

Some interesting comments to the book can be found in a different web, listing some of the key observations C.Alexander states in the book:

  • A range of sizes is pleasing and beautiful.
  • Good design has areas of focus and weight.
  • Outlines focus attention to the center.
  • Repeating elements give order and harmony.
  • The background should not detract from the center.
  • Simple forms create an intense, powerful center.
  • Small symmetries are better than overall symmetry.
  • Looping, connected elements give unity and grace.
  • Unity is achieved with visible opposites.
  • Texture and imperfections give uniqueness and life.
  • Similarities should repeat throughout a design.
  • Empty spaces offer calm and contrast.
  • Use only essentials; avoid extraneous elements.
  • Designs should be interconnected, not isolated.
  • Scale and echo create positive emotions.