Christopher Alexander

(b. 1936)

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(1936– ).

Vienna-born English architect and theorist, he settled in the USA in 1960. Believing that there are universal ‘timeless’ principles of form and space in architecture, that they are firmly based on the fundamentals of human cognition, and that they can be determined by study, providing the essentials of design, he has shown that they can be found in the architecture of all periods (and indeed of all cultures). His ideas about ‘paradigms’ for architecture were encapsulated in his Notes on the Synthesis of Form (1964), A Pattern Language (1977), and The Timeless Way of Building (1979). With Chermayeff he published Community and Privacy (1963). Advocating that designer, builder, and user should be either one and the same, or work closely together, he promoted self-build housing, and was involved in the evolution of user-designed apartment buildings at St Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris (1974), and elsewhere. More recently he has observed that most of the contemporary ways of dealing with architecture have been ‘insane’, and that we need to find new ways in order to become ‘reconnected to ourselves’. To him, Deconstructivism is ‘nonsensical’. From 2002 he published, through the Center for Environmental Structure, Berkeley, CA, The Nature of Order, setting out the essence of his ideas.

C. Alexander et al. (1985, 1987);Wi. Curtis (1996);Kalman (1994);Grabow (1983);Salingaros et al. (2004);Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.

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