📚 node [[reading-alexander]]

Reading Alexander


  • I read what we agreed to read :)
  • proposal: design a space following the example in the introductory material? 10-20 patterns combined.
    • [[xxxv]] for example
    • [[xxxviii]] for [[procedure]]
    • [[code]] a generator?
      • fit between patterns seems represented by recommended patterns at higher and lower level?
    • [[armengol]] some problems perhaps
      • we need to imagine a need for building something? what would be the context for the exercise?
  • [[andreas]]
    • would probably recommend people just go to [[a pattern language]] directly, it seems to be self-contained
    • did something with [[a pattern language]] ~1y ago
    • it just seems like previous reading wouldn't help learning how to write your own patterns?
      • [[jonathan]] what would you recommend?
      • the ideological component sometimes doesn't resonate; the patterns themselves, which can be used and changed regardless of ideology, seem more generally useful.
    • [[simon]] this is framed as one big project (the three books). what's interesting: there is some goal of trying to provide a set of tools to shape one's environment.
      • [[notsof]] could almost be computed by a machine
      • whereas [[apl]] is very much grounded
      • topic: what is [[timeless]] and [[beautiful]]. how the environment shapes us as much as we shape the environment.
      • the weakest patterns are the strongly [[utilitarian]]. the stronger ones are "spiritual"
      • some contradictions between patterns
        • he loves dense cities and lively areas
        • but he wants height limits and only building on 50% of the area
      • units per building
      • in a contemporary context a lot of the patterns are very difficult to achieve
      • aside: would be interesting to model fit/misfit between patterns even as we swap in/out some of them
    • pattern: [[filtered light]]
      • mentions how the perception of light gets softened if it's filtered; less high contrast, which is a nice quality. for living spaces softness is nice.
      • film makers think it makes objects more lively: e.g. leaves casting moving shadows.
      • third reason: speculative. stimulates us biologically (?)
        • could be socialized aesthetics instead.
      • when planning windows, this pattern is recommended.
  • [[armengol]]
    • pattern: [[window place]]
      • thought about this pattern within his home
      • previous place had an obviously amazing view -- you could see the [[sagrada familia]]
      • [[zen view]] is mentioned as related to this pattern, though, and it relates with something interesting that happened in the old place. the view was [[normalized]]. it became part of the background; like alexander says.
      • now have to go to a specific place to look at a view now.
    • [[q]] when trying to differentiate between the list of patterns
  • [[jonathan]]
    • [[four stories limit]]
      • ideology aside: main thing that bothered me in general. trying to justify things as [[natural]].
      • "want to find a pattern that looks ridiculous"
      • in zurich: like [[hardau]] towers
      • some justification for this pattern has to do with mental health issues
      • people who live in high rises are less likely to go out into the world
      • feeling connected to the city life
      • [[andreas]] it seems very opinionated, it depends on one's preferences. you might not care about the misfits and have fits with your lifestyle.
      • [[simon]] four floors doesn't seem high density enough for city life. attitude towards skyrises changes a lot across cultures. singapore for example has a very different disposition towards them.
        • most sustainable density is about six floors.
        • the most antisocial aspect of high rises is to have parking-lot-to-living-floor.
        • isolation in high rises is a big problem though.
      • [[andreas]] there is a huge grey area between four floors and high rises
        • zurich proposed having public rooftops and bike lanes between them
  • [[simon]]
    • [[bus stop]]
      • liked: both describing a set of objects and activity/life that emerges around those objects
      • "if the knit together" the system is a good one
      • view things like traffic lights as items of public living
  • [[alice]]
    • [[interior windows]]
    • [[pedestrian street]]
      • social glue in society
      • streets that are "too wide" are antisocial -- but of course nowadays with covid-19 that might be outdated
  • [[eduardo]]


  • [[ttwob]]
  • [[lorand]]
    • found himself reading in a less analytical way
    • [[armengol]]
      • the structure itself seems to encourage this
      • "I need to read it fast" yields a different kind of reading too, perhaps
    • [[lorand]] some pieces seem to be a bit rough. but interesting questions
      • the observation that people feel calm in nature -> homogeneity in aesthetics
      • ad hoc/rushed at the end: processes for using patterns for differentiation of space. differentiation vs accumulation
      • some vagueness
    • a bit tragic perhaps: towards the end, neighbors working together to make their houses beautiful. seemed a bit utopian in a modernist sense.
  • a [[pattern]] has a [[context]], a [[problem]] and a [[solution]] that resolves the set of conflicting forces.
  • embodiment as crucial vs the software patterns
  • [[kowloon walled city]]
  • [[tokyo 1960]]
  • [[wabi sabi]]
  • [[lorand]]




📖 stoa (open document) at doc.anagora.org/reading-alexander
⥅ related node [[patterning]] pulled by user



  • [[lorand]]
    • tension between writing something understandable for everyone and going deep
    • thing with the lightbulbs ended up attracting a lot of attention
      • aside
        • [[flancian]] it feels like a high dimensional celullar automata
      • [[systems theory]], kept wondering about whether people knew about it
    • the other "leg" is chapter 15, using feelings.
    • ultimately would love to have some text that has a couple of the ideas that were interesting, drilling down on those.
  • [[simon]]
    • interaction between the environment and people
    • there is something in the environment, in the object themselves, which encodes ways of behaviour
    • [[ezra klein podcast]] and the extended mind
    • you can divorce the form/pattern, reuse it in different ways
    • a pattern language is a collection of forms
    • extended mind -> a way of getting around the 'problem' of feeling
    • in architecture we're always looking at plans
      • you can take the form of a plan, take it into a different context and use it in a different way
    • [[lorand]] love the list of paradoxes
      • +1
  • when you went back to the toy model, did you understand it better?
    • got incremental understanding
    • didn't go all the way into convincing myself with the actual mathematical proof
  • [[flancian]] [[celullar automata]], [[game of life]]
  • [[lorand]] [[entropy and diversity]]
  • [[homeostasis]]
    • [[flancian]] key word
      • a failing proposition :)
    • aided by [[modular approach]]
    • [[simon]] top down and bottom up approaches, which seem to map to selfconscious and unselfconscious in [[notsof]]
  • [[simon]] often work with planning laws, which interact with data variables (traffic, rate of light, etc.).
    • there is also a decisive factor: the qualities you want in the building you are trying to build.
    • [[flancian]] how do you think about the time variable in architecture? aging in buildings, entropy :)
    • you begin a project with a long list of requirements that you have to meet -- but those are day one. unclear how they will evolve over the years.
  • [[modularity aids upgradability]] in information theory
    • are building upgrades modular?
    • [[simon]] 60s-70s: yes. but that failed :) see capsule hotel, which remained unchanged because people liked it how it was.
    • but often it's the older building stock that is easiest to upgrade -- you can tear down walls and build new walls easily.
    • are there typical reasons that projects fail?
      • bad context: buildings placed in the wrong place/without the right support
      • buildings that are built with a very specific use, e.g. a fashion center when the fashion industry is moving away
      • hard to adapt office to residential and residential to office
    • are there any projects that are designed to have a short timespan, or need continuous updating?
  • [[requirements elicitation]]
  • Q: would patterns of pattern connectivity be interesting?
    • seems like something to keep in mind but it would quickly get too abstract?
    • [[simon]] reminds me of the diagrams at the end of [[notsof]]


  • [[armengol]] [[lorand]] [[simon]] [[flancian]]
    • [[flancian]] proposal: meet a few more times but perhaps more spaced out?
    • [[simon]] sounds good. july works for me.
    • [[lorand]] summer sounds more certain than fall; unclear what commitments will be like in fall.
    • [[armengol]] uncertainty about august.
      • interested in summarizing the experience, some meta.
    • could explore:
      • writing something together/individually
⥱ context
⥅ related node [[2021 02 28]]
⥅ related node [[2021 02 28]]
⥅ related node [[2021 03 13]]
⥅ related node [[2021 03 17]]
⥅ related node [[2021 05 12]]
⥅ related node [[2021 05 26]]
⥅ related node [[a pattern language]]
⥅ related node [[apl]]
⥅ related node [[architecture]]
⥅ related node [[armengol]]
⥅ related node [[beautiful]]
⥅ related node [[book club]]
⥅ related node [[christopher alexander reading group]]
⥅ related node [[code]]
⥅ related node [[context]]
⥅ related node [[design]]
⥅ related node [[flancian]]
⥅ related node [[jonathan]]
⥅ related node [[lorand]]
⥅ related node [[mtr]]
⥅ related node [[note taking]]
⥅ related node [[notsof]]
⥅ related node [[pattern]]
⥅ related node [[pattern chosen]]
⥅ related node [[patterning]]
⥅ related node [[patterns]]
⥅ related node [[problem]]
⥅ related node [[procedure]]
⥅ related node [[q]]
⥅ related node [[read]]
⥅ related node [[reading club]]
⥅ related node [[tokyo 1960]]
⥅ related node [[ttwob]]
⥅ related node [[wabi sabi]]