Christopher Alexander
Sara Ishikawa
Murray Silverstein
Oxford University Press, New York, 1977, English
Nonfiction, Architecture
8 x 5.6 x 1.8 inches, hardcover, 1,216 pages
ISBN: 9780195019193
Suggested Retail Price: $65.00

From the Publisher. At the core of the book is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain “languages,” which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a formal system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. 'Patterns', the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of a the problem with an illustration, sand a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seems likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.

On 7 book lists
Chris Bangle

Chuck Jones, former chief of design of Whirlpool, first gave me this to read. After the thinking sinks in, you begin to really see the world in the authors’ organizational manner and realize how much is missing from, for instance, the world of car design regarding insights and relationships. Another must-be-a-textbook for design schools.

Peter Bohlin

You will likely read A Pattern Language at a particular time in your career. When that moment occurred for me, this book reminded me of the very specific principles that lie beneath the vast carcass of this architecture business. Sometimes you forget about the bones.

Nancye Green

I have come back to this book a hundred times as I have thought about community and how we design to foster or destroy it.

Witold Rybczynski

You don’t have to agree with the author’s philosophy—or share his taste in architecture—to appreciate this compact and sensible distillation of architectural wisdom. The roughly 250 patterns cover towns and neighborhoods as well as buildings. Something every young architect should own.

Carola Zwick

The “bible”: helps us understand how hardware is influencing software—in this case, how the built environment is shaping the behavior of its inhabitants.

comments powered by Disqus