In Pursuit of a Living Architecture

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  • Title: In Pursuit of a Living Architecture: Continuing Christopher Alexander's Quest for a Humane and Sustainable Building Culture
  • Editor(s): Kyriakos Pontikis, Yodan Y. Rofe
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Constructed Environment
  • Keywords: Humane Architecture, Theory and Practice, Building Culture, Pattern Language, Building Process, Green Building, Sustainability, Well-being, Craft
  • Year: 2016
  • ISBN (hbk): 978-1-61229-876-4
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-61229-877-1
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-61229-878-8
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Pontikis, Kyriakos, and Yodan Y. Rofe, eds. 2016. In Pursuit of a Living Architecture: Continuing Christopher Alexander's Quest for a Humane and Sustainable Building Culture. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-61229-878-8/CGP.
  • Extent: 504 pages


Since his very first published work in 1961, Christopher Alexander pursued an architecture of enduring comfort and beauty, inventing the idea of “pattern” and pattern languages, describing order in nature and the built environment, and insisting on the importance of process for the formation of wholeness. In the chapters of this book, former students and collaborators of Alexander continue to explore the central concepts of his approach, connecting them explicitly to the urgent need for a more sustainable energy- and resource-conscious building culture. The book’s three parts address this challenge at three levels. The first part is devoted to conceptual perspectives, addressing craftsmanship and intelligence in design, placing Alexander’s work in the context of current philosophical thought and examining its potential contribution to the Green Building Movement. The second part addresses the methodological development of the “pattern language” approach over the last twenty years, with particular attention to aspects of sustainability in urban design, building, teaching, and research. The essays in the third part reflect on built projects, ranging from small neighborhoods to buildings and interiors, showing how these illustrate the concepts and themes recurrent throughout the book. This book represents the greater movement of which it is a part, one dedicated to pursuing a practice of architecture that has at its core a concern for human well-being and the continued care of our shared environment. Through their manifold and diverse contributions, its authors show that a truly sustainable architecture must also be humane, and that a truly humane architecture is fundamentally sustainable.