“Mary Rose Museum” by Christopher Alexander

What I find particularly interesting and fascinating about this book is how Dr. Alexander describes in vivid detail what one would experience when he visits the museum, what he would see and how he would feel at various places, though the museum was never built due to a lack of funding.

In the book “The Nature Of Order Book II: The Process of Creating Life”, Dr. Alexander says the first step of his design process is either an image in his mind, or a narrative that shows roughly what the building looks and feels like. A museum is a good fit for the latter in that it’s supposed to engage the visitor in a narrative and a conversation. The architect has to design the three-dimensional structure in which the narrative and conversation can be carried out in space and time.

  1. Reject an over-technical thinking that removes the balance between the technique and feelings which is necessary in a building. The real solution manages to solve the technical problem at the right price while keeping the feeling intact.
  2. The “flexible space”, i.e. vast empty space without any structural elements/constraints vs structural elements defined and enhanced by space.
  3. Cost allocation up front. Make necessary sacrifices while maintaining the whole. To design the building so that the cost allocation fits the budget is a creative process with the architects draft.
  4. Architects maintain control of the evolving building and construction management. The details which ultimately determine the harmony and depth of the buildings have to be examined daily while they being built with the people doing the work.
  5. Change the system of incentives for the contractors so that they are not driven by cost, but are rewarded for the unit of operations completed satisfactorily.
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