May 2, 2007

The Nature of Order

Christopher Alexander, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, has had much to say about design, complexity, and order. In The Luminous Ground: The Nature of Order, Book4: he says:
My hypothesis is this. That all value depends on a structure in which each center, the life of each center, approaches this simple, forgotten, remembered, unremembered "I." That in the living work, each living center really is a connection to this "I."
I wouldn't agree that this "I" exists in ephemeral matter, but his thought is challenging, and perhaps useful to more than just architects and programmers. Not many academics would dare attempt trying to find the face of God and build to infuse experiences of unity.

Among Alexander's admirable works are A City is not a Tree parts I & II (a classic on city planning and real networks), New Concepts In Complexity Theory: A Scientific Introduction to the Concepts in the Nature of Order, and A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art (on Anatolian carpets; his collection was shown at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in 1990).

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