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The Timeless Way of Building [Unknown Binding]

Christopher Alexander
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ZZPG5O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
It is a process through which the order of a building or a town grows out directly from the inner nature of the people, and the animals, and plants, and matter which are in it. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A philosophy of architecture 9 Aug 2009
Perhaps it should have been called 'Zen and the Art of Building'.... I hadn't come across this book before, although I think it may be required reading for architecture students. Having come from a design background myself I found it interesting.

It's long winded and often waxes lyrical, but the basic premise states that buildings are not for enhancing the egos of architects, but instead, they are for the people who use and live in them. So far, so good. Alexander also reveals how the patterns of activities carried out within a building are either helped or hindered by it's architecture, again, fairly predictable. He points out how certain buildings feel 'alive' while others are 'dead' spaces.

The book goes on to explain how to achieve what Alexander calls 'the quality with no name' which brings a building, even a whole city, to life. It's a very organic process, achieved without the detailed plans normally involved in construction. I love the idea of building in this way, but I'm not surprised it's not widely practiced. How long will the project take? How do you budget? Maybe he covers all that in one of his other books!
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking and profound book. 28 Mar 1997
By A Customer
It is amazing how a book that propounds revolutionary
architectural theory has stirred up the computer software
industry. This deeply philosophical book, which is
very practical and rigorous, lays the foundation for
developing "pattern languages".

The book is all about a common language that can be shared to build
artifacts that are alive. It stresses that a design should always
concentrate on the "whole" and not on assembling parts. It also
shows the power of distributed processing, if you will, as against
centralized processing.

All the great principles have one thing in common. They are
simple. And, after one realizes such a simple but profound principle, one
can not stop wondering how one survived without it's knowledge. This book gives
feeling. If you are involved in architecture of any sort- buildings, software,
organization or even politics- this book is a must for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazingly simple philosophy. 20 Jan 2009
On starting this book it did seem a bit `alternative' and pseudomystical and you begin to think it was a lot of money to spend on a book. As you get used to the style and you absorb the message it becomes a very powerful force. The idea that people built before architects told them how to and that this knowledge has become lost is evident as you read. But this simple philosophy could apply to so many other areas of life where experts have taken away our knowledge. A must for any self builder or thinker - brilliant.
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