The Timeless Way of Building

By Christopher Alexander
Alexander is an architect who has spends his life articulating what brings a quality of aliveness into the world. The fact that he frames the question this way, in itself shifts my thinking. Much of the time we think what matters is performance, or efficiency, or good design. Alexander talks about buildings, neighborhoods and communities with the frame of aliveness and in doing this educates our eyes to seek that aliveness. He begins with the declaration that quality of aliveness can not be defined. The fact that he is willing to pursue something that is never fully in reach is important. He has created space for the mystery in life and is motivated by that. So much so that his current work is to define the nature of order. In a new four volume essay on order, he seeks to reframe the fundamental way we look at life .In all of this, he gives us a language, a pattern language, which is associated with aliveness. This means that if I wish for a transformation in the world, language is the means through which it will occur.