Notes from A Pattern Language

October 18, 2006 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

Some notes from A Pattern Language by Alexander.  I first saw mention of this book in Ambient Findability, by Morville I think.  I found it intriguing but hard to wrap my head around the text, it was very ‘zen’ like in a 70s sort of way (written in 1977).  It develops principles of design applicable to rooms, homes, yards, garden, cities, etc.  To be honest I only made it through the introduction.

p.x. “The elements of this language are entities called patterns.  Each pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing in the same way twice.”

p.xiii.  “In short no pattern is an isolated entity.  Each pattern can exist in the world, only to the extent that it is supported by other patterns, the larger patterns in which it is embedded, the patterns of the same size that surround it, and the smaller patterns which are assembled in it. ”

“This is a fundamental view of the world.  It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.”

p.xiv The patterns described in the book are annotated with asterisk.  The patterns with two ** asterisks are invariant patterns that are completely figured out.  Those with one * asterisk we should “treat with a certain disrespect” and those with no asterisks are patterns that give a solution but we’re called to try and improve and find the true profound invariant pattern.

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Entry filed under: feed my pet brain.

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