Christopher Alexander: A Primer

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Christopher Alexander’s work is hard to get into. He’s written over 15 books, and there isn't one that serves as a general intro or overview for the rest.
In this livestream, I gave an informal introduction to what I think are the most important ideas in his body of work. Outline with timestamps below...

0:00:00 Background and motivation

0:06:48 Plan of the talk

0:10:32 Form, Context, and Fit

0:16:40 Beyond Fitness: Life and a Better World
- 0:18:29 Example: Soviet style building vs a living courtyard
- 0:22:46 Example: Redesigning a tree planter in a plaza

0:27:43 Introducing centers and generative process

0:30:08 Centers — Coherent regions in spatial structure
- 0:32:50 Example: Human face, well adapted centers
- 0:34:31 Example: Entrance of a building
- 0:35:58 Strong centers and weak centers

0:37:22 Process — Step by step adaptation
- 0:37:22 Example: Nolli plan of Rome
- 0:39:41 Sequence and path-dependence
- 0:40:41 A pattern as a form/context pair and a generic set of centers
- 0:41:54 Example: 6-Foot Balcony
- 0:44:17 Knitting patterns together into a language
- 0:44:33 Example: Farmhouse kitchen
- 0:45:25 Sequence of the kitchen layout
- 0:47:31 Example: Sequencing a house and a garden

0:49:02 Project-Specific Pattern Languages
- 0:52:32 How pattern languages give freedom to unify design and construction
- 0:54:06 Example: Generating two kinds of classroom buildings
- 0:54:55 How different languages generate different designs
- 0:56:26 Example: Changing the position of a fireplace during construction
- 0:57:33 Example: Large scale patterns for the Eishen school
- 1:00:40 Centers: 15 properties as transformations
- 1:01:52 Example: Redesigning the people screen in Basecamp and creating a pattern language for the project

1:08:21 Summary
1:11:27 Q&A

Books mentioned:
- Notes on the Synthesis of Form: https://www.amazon.com/Notes-Synthesis-Form-Harvard-Paperbacks/dp/0674627512
- The Nature of Order, Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/Nature-Order-Phenomenon-Environmental-Structure/dp/0972652914/ref=pd_lpo_14_t_2/145-7140715-2453459?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0972652914&pd_rd_r=d4b5055a-cc99-47ee-9540-86a90da95ef6&pd_rd_w=YeXR3&pd_rd_wg=6ZLCI&pf_rd_p=7b36d496-f366-4631-94d3-61b87b52511b&pf_rd_r=R5DZNSHZGX826E9FP99P&psc=1&refRID=R5DZNSHZGX826E9FP99P
- The Nature of Order, Book 2: https://www.amazon.com/Process-Creating-Life-Building-Universe/dp/0972652922/ref=pd_sbs_14_3/145-7140715-2453459?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0972652922&pd_rd_r=86f7f289-6560-465d-968a-f6171c79315d&pd_rd_w=qxWry&pd_rd_wg=HXGNL&pf_rd_p=0b2db3d1-33eb-418a-9672-bb9bd54808e8&pf_rd_r=SR7T4NYSKH1PACS9X38T&psc=1&refRID=SR7T4NYSKH1PACS9X38T
- Battle: https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Life-Beauty-Earth-World-Systems/dp/0199898073/ref=pd_sbs_14_9?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0199898073&pd_rd_r=86f7f289-6560-465d-968a-f6171c79315d&pd_rd_w=qxWry&pd_rd_wg=HXGNL&pf_rd_p=0b2db3d1-33eb-418a-9672-bb9bd54808e8&pf_rd_r=SR7T4NYSKH1PACS9X38T&psc=1&refRID=SR7T4NYSKH1PACS9X38T
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