2015/07/04 14:45 Wolfgang Rang, “Early Experiments with A Pattern Language”, Purplsoc

Presentation at Purplsoc, Wolfgang Rang, at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and at Atelier Rang.

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At PURPLSOC (Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change) 2015, Danube University Krems, Austria

Decades ago, first tried pattern language in Mexicali

Followed experiment by Christopher Alexander in Lima, Peru

  • Accommodating squatters
  • Architects were invited to try
  • Minority junior opinion was Christopher Alexander’s was the only approach that would solve problem, all others had prefab

In 1975, Christopher Alexander and Howard Davis went to Mexicali, at the invitation of the government of Baja California

Pattern language, shaping human life and buildings


  • Words, images and numbers
  • Images have to speak, in a community that doesn’t read
  • Largely using images that come from the past
  • An essence
  • Numbers normally doing with physiology, e.g. lights
  • Open space that is intimate shouldn’t be closer than 20m apart
  • Circles important to children to learn pi
  • Text

Value statements that are supported by empirical research gathered as evidence for their validity.

  • Can draw from pattern language in the 1970s

Project completed in 1977, joined project in January 1976

  • Many came to the border town
  • People would build with local materials, e.g. adobe blocks, that would serve 3 or 4 people, would change over time
  • When return 8 years later, buildings were gone

Started with 8 families participating

  • They would work with pattern language, and no two would be the same

First stake out spaces on the land

  • Disappointed that families didn’t develop the patterns differently
  • Replace stakes with concrete blocks
  • Excavation took place

Wolfgang Rang

#pattern-language, #purplsoc2015