A Pattern Language


Filing Number: 133 - A Pattern Language
Author(s): Alexander, Christopher; Ishikawa, Sara; Silverstein, Murray; Jacobson, Max; Fiksdahl-King, Ingrid; Angel, Shlomo
Date Added: 2014-09-08
Digital?: ✓
Lost & Found:
Tags: patterns; architecture; cards; HTML


A book that attempts to describe good, people-focused architecture by breaking it into simple patterns. From the Wikipedia page about the book:

The book creates a new language, what the authors call a pattern language derived from timeless entities called patterns. As they write on page xxxv of the introduction, "All 253 patterns together form a language." Patterns describe a problem and then offer a solution. In doing so the authors intend to give ordinary people, not only professionals, a way to work with their neighbors to improve a town or neighborhood, design a house for themselves or work with colleagues to design an office, workshop or public building such as a school.

It includes 253 patterns such as Community of 7000 (Pattern 12) given a treatment over several pages; page 71 states: "Individuals have no effective voice in any community of more than 5,000-10,000 persons." It is written as a set of problems and documented solutions. This is a form that a theoretical mathematician or computer scientist might call a generative grammar.

Written in the 1970s at the University of California, Berkeley, A Pattern Language was influenced by the then-emerging language to describe computer programming and design. "A pattern language has the structure of a network", the authors write on page xviii. Thus, each pattern may have a statement that is referenced to another pattern by placing that pattern's number in brackets, for example:(12) means go to the Community of 7,000 pattern. In this way it is structured as a hypertext avant la lettre.

Archive Notes

Digital Archive contains a site rip of an HTML version of the book. (Begin with www.jacana.plus.com/pattern/P0.htm to access the HTML book).