• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.

The Timeless Way of Building & A Pattern Language

Started by droqen, December 07, 2021, 07:03:59 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Quote from: p.289our feelings always deal with the totality of any system. [..] When you first see a pattern, you will be able to tell almost at once, by intuition, whether it makes you feel good or not: whether, you want to live in a world which has that pattern in it, because it helps you to feel more alive.


QuoteChapter 15

The Reality of Patterns

If you pay attention to how you feel in a space, in many cases you can discover that most people feel about the same - if you ignore questions of opinion, intent, thought, practicality. Etc. Just, "which one feels better?"

Patterns are not about finding a better way, they are just about resolving forces and feeling good.

QuoteOne person's comment on ["people have a mask of street behaviour"] was: This fact is bad; people should learn to be the same in the street as they are in private places, so that we can all love one another.

This comment is nice in its intent. But human beings are not so malleable. [..] There is little purpose, then, in saying! it would be better if this force did not e it's. For if it does exist anyway, designs based on such wishful thinking will fail.


Resolving forces. No forces in conflict. Let this forces "slide" past one another. Each pattern captures and resolves its own forces so as to not let them bleed out and apply undue pressure on the other patterns, which are at work resolving their own forces.


Quote from: p.346Although the process of evolution will always move towards greater depth and greater wholeness, there is no end to it--there is no static perfect language, which, once defined, will stay defined forever. No language is ever finished.

I agree with this, but not Alexander's subsequent explanation. I'm going to write something important about this.

Quote from: p.346-347 (i disagree)The reason is this. Each language specifies a certain structure for some environment. Once realized, in practice, the very existence of that structure will create new forces, which are born for the first time, out of that structure--and these new forces will, of course, create new problems[..]

Christopher Alexander initially describes The Beginning of Infinity but then (because he believes the truth is attainable) proposes that progress is unceasing because the progress itself causes a loss of progress. This is the "Treadmill" attitude towards progress.

Rather, I would like to believe that true progress is always moving forward -- never back -- and yet we can never finish it regardless. The reason for this is not that our progress is always necessarily undoing itself, but that the human pursuit of understanding is infinite. There is the unfortunate truth that we will die, and death will undo our progress. But, Alexander speaks earlier of invariants and yet here undermines that work in order to acknowledge the apparent reality.

Alexander's axioms:

1. There exists a nameless quality

2. We can make concrete steps towards understanding how to reach the quality

3. We can not ever reach the quality

From these three axioms, it appears that something must be frustrating progress, else 3 would not be true -- we would be able to reach the quality. But it should be obvious that a huge problem such as 'solving architecture' is impossible. So how can we resolve this tension

There is an underlying physical assumption that taking steps towards a fixed point is a finite journey with an end, else we run up into Zeno's paradox, taking smaller and smaller steps.

Alexander claims that the issue is the ground we walk on is rocky, ever-changing. The nature of humans is to change. The nature of culture is to change. Essentially he describes the process as Sisyphean. But, I think he undermines some of his earlier points and the value of answers by taking this perspective; earlier he says we seek invariants, things that 90, 95, 99% of people agree on if you ask them how they "feel."

I posit the reason he takes this perspective is to resolve the tension in forces.

Here is how we resolve the forces, instead:

Taking steps towards better explanations is not like taking steps towards a fixed point in physical space. Exactly inspired by David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity, there simply can be a nameless quality which is concrete and fixed, and yet which is so infinitely distant and vast that we can take any number of steps towards it — making genuine progress 'towards' this quality without ever losing progress — and never, ever, run out of steps to take. In fact our steps can get larger and broader and more exciting and more accurate every time, and we will never reach the quality.

1. There exists a nameless quality

2. We can make concrete steps towards understanding how to reach the quality

3. We can not ever reach the quality


On the nature of towns, neighbourhoods, streets, houses, rooms - as living places which operate on pattern languages

Quote from: p.364It is not the end product of this process which is alive, but the incessant flux itself. There is no product of this process; the buildings and the town, which live, are that incessant flux, which, guided by its language, constantly creates itself.

Obviously this is not FULLY applicable to games, but I think it is beautiful to think of a game in play as having a pattern language in this way -- a language adopted by and enacted by the player. It's too bad that such a language is inflexible; the player cannot change the language to suit their needs entirely flexible. Play language. Game literacy.


Quote from: p.382-383Conventional wisdom says that a building cannot be designed, in sequence, step by step.

But the fact is that you cannot understand [..] until you understand which features are dominant, and which ones secondary--[..] In this sense, the actual creation of the sequence, by the artist, is one of the most crucial aspects of the design task. [..]

Sequences are bad when they are the wrong sequences.


Quote from: p.383Each pattern is a field which spreads throughout the whole, and tinges it, distorts it, patterns is. We can take patterns, step by step, one at a time, because each pattern moulds the whole--and each pattern can mould the whole which is the product of the previous patternings.

In nature, a thing is always born, and developed, as a whole.

I like to take things as wholes. If I think about it hard, 31 unmarked games was a whole before it was its 31 constituent parts -- perhaps what made it work was that I knew the work I was doing was all its own wholes but also inservice of the larger thing?


Take each pattern seriously, create it in all its glory. Close your eyes and picture the platonic ideal of the pattern in the context of its place.

Quote from: p.395-396You may not believe that you can make a place as beautiful as that.

So, when you come to this pattern, LIGHT ON TWO SIDES OF EVERY ROOM, you check in a halfhearted, perfunctory manner, to see if every room has two walls to the outside, and that there are a couple of windows, more or less in the right place.
    But that produces nothing. It is only when you pay attention, in the full believe that every room you make can be as beautiful as the most beautiful light-filled room which you have ever seen--then you are serious enough. At that moment it will happen.


Quote from: p399you cannot create a pattern at full intensity, so long as you are worrying and thinking about other patterns, which you will have to deal with later in the sequence.


Quote from: p.401If I am going to create a beautiful MAIN ENTRANCE, there is no point in worrying about whether I will later be able to create a beautiful ENTRANCE TRANSITION there.

Quote from: p.401The order of the language will make sure that it is possible.

This idea of wholeness is pretty fascinating -- that each pattern is made of yet further, deeper, smaller patterns, and that designing a pattern requires that you defer the subsequent patterns to later, trusting that you will be able to make those patterns beautiful, too, when the time comes to design them. I like it. I love it.


Quote from: p.544-545The more I watch our pattern language being used, the more I realize that the language does not teach people new facts about their environment. It awakens old feelings. It gives people permission to do what they have always known they wanted to do[..]

A language gives you back your confidence in what seemed once like trivial things.