|Looking down the site|
Undoubtedly the most influential work to emerge from my research in designing the house was that of Christopher Alexander who has developed a way of thinking about such a quality that makes places cared for and makes them come to life.
Alexander says "It is easy to understand why people believe so firmly that there is no single solid basis for the difference between good building and bad. It happens because the single central quality that makes the difference cannot be named." In his book "The Timeless Way of Building" he devotes himself to identifying that nameless quality and at the end the reader realises that they knew all along but were afraid to say so.
|Sun bleached olive tree|
Alexander and his team spent years researching and tabulating the universally recognised features that are common to the buildings we love. Most significantly they uncovered a language of patterns from which these buildings were assembled. His next book, "A Pattern Language" identifies and describes 253 such patterns. Most importantly this is not all since the language grows as you use it and more patterns suggest themselves. It is an open way of thinking not a closed system.
The Alexander books proved to be a wonderful way of ordering my thoughts and deepening my insights but were not a set of formulae to produce a design solution since having considered the appropriate patterns I still needed to use my knowledge and experience of good design to produce my own particular design. What Alexander did was to help me recognise things I already knew.
|View toward existing orchard|
Thus a job thought out in the "Timeless Way" could be a happy blend of careful planning and last minute improvisation.