An orthogonal view of architecture to that of Soleri is provided by
Christopher Alexander. Alexander believes that the strongest constructions
(the best places to live or work) are those that have developed
organically. In his work, he has attempted to codify all the forces that
come into play at varying levels of abstraction (from design of a doorway
to regional planning of highways). He then does design, taking into
account all the patterns he has captured, leaving room in the process for
the various parts of the developing entity to inform each other so that the
result can be much more than the result of one person's ability to foresee
all the affects ahead of time.
It's at least a start at a theory of how to design in a way that allows the
inhabitants and users of a space to adapt the built environment to their
own needs and tastes.
There's a sub-culture in software development (within Object-Oriented
Programming) that has stolen the theme from Alexander and started
developing similar catalogs of patterns of forces at varying levels of
abstraction. Alexander gave a talk at Stanford in November on the
implications for software of his ideas. (He apologised for not
understanding software better.) He apparently has more readers these days
in the software community than in architecture. Like Soleri, he's never
gotten much respect or attention from his peers.
--- C. J. Cherryh, "Invader", on why we visit very old buildings: "A sense of age, of profound truths. Respect for Chris Hibbert something hands made, that's stood through storms and firstname.lastname@example.org wars and time. It persuades us that things we do may last and matter." http://discuss.foresight.org/~hibbert/home.html
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