“The Nature of Order: A Vision of A Living World” by Christopher Alexander

The last of Christopher Alexander’s books that I read.  It left me in a somewhat melancholy mood.

In this book, Alexander gives a few examples (mostly from classical cultures and his own works) of buildings and neighborhoods that have life in them. I catch a glimpse of the “vision of a living world”, but also realize for the first time how fragmented and unwholesome the modern buildings are. Just as a work of art is a reflection of the artist, the lifeless buildings all around us are certainly a telling sign of profound lack of life in ourselves.

The power to make things that have intense life in them resides in /depends on the person. He must have life in himself.  But, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Mass and Space

“The creation of the two interleaved patterns, one of matter, one of space, each coherent in its own right, the material coherent according to its structural laws, the space coherent according to human laws, when successful becomes a triumph of imagination, a kind of fugue in space. … It is this pattern of solid and void, in three dimensions, which governs everything of importance in a building.”


One thought on ““The Nature of Order: A Vision of A Living World” by Christopher Alexander

  1. Reading The Nature of Order does bring out a certain degree of melancholy, undoubtedly — not only for the lack of life in the modern buildings, but also when I realize how deeply those same lifeless habits of judgment persist in myself. It is not an easy vision to see, Alexander’s “vision of a living world”! Though it does seem to slowly become clearer with practice…

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