Books : reviews

The Timeless Way (series)

Christopher Alexander's marvellous Timeless Way series lays out a philosophy of building design, a Pattern Language method to achieve the Timeless Way style, and show how these were used in planning at the University of Oregon.

The ideas, although originally expounded for (physical) architectural design, have recently been picked up by the Object Oriented computing community for OO Pattern Languages.

The philosophy itself is also deliciously socially subversive, since it would require radical changes in working patterns, transportation policy, and educational policy, at the very least, to work on the larger scale.

Christopher Alexander, Murray Silverstein, Shlomo Angel, Sara Ishikawa, Denny Abrams.
The Oregon Experiment.
OUP. 1975

rating : 2.5 : great stuff

Volume 3 describes how the Timeless philosophy and Pattern Language method was applied to planning for the University of Oregon. It explains the process of piecemeal growth, speading resources evenly and encouraging repair, and contrasts it with the more popular, but potentially disasterous, lump development, which concentrates resources in a few large developments, and correspondingly large mistakes.