2017/10/21 08:35 Yodan Rofe, “The issue of ‘feeling’ as a criterion for choosing between different patterns or configurations (social and spatial)”, Purplsoc

Plenary by Yodan Rofe #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/

At Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

[Arrived late, presentation was already in progress]

Purplsoc Yodan Rofe

Feeling in Alexander’s theory

  • Trying to find the next thing to do, that will make the biggest change in the feeling of the place
  • What’s the next move?
  • After you’ve decided what to do, generate alternatives — part of the method, sometimes generating an extreme amount of alternatives for the site plan, and evaluate them with feeling, to know which is a better solution

Underlying all of this, in working with groups of people, feeling is to a great degree shared

  • Each of us is different, but we may share 80-85%

When started to do Ph.D., wanted to test this out about whether people feel the same about the environment

  • Mihaly Csikszentmihaly:  one of first to study good feelings
  • Method:  experience sampling method, subjects have buzzers, when he buzzes them, they have to report what they were doing, what they felt, what was their activity
  • Developed theory:  particular conditions where people felt threatened
  • When involved in purposeful activity that challenges them, but is not outside their capacity:  flow
  • They become more involved in their selves
  • This is close to Chris Alexander’s ideas of centers
  • Looking at self as a series of centers that we gain experience over life
  • People’s happiness goes through dips in the 20s and 30s, and then grow, sometimes through adjusting expectations

Second:  Antonio Damasio‘s theory of feeling

  • Descartes’ error — and this is covered in the last book of The Nature of Order
  • The rational mind isn’t connected with the emotional mind
  • Similar to Daniel Kahneman‘s thinking fast and slow
  • Outside the realm of conscious thinking
  • Distinguishes between emotion, about the messages that the body to sends to the mind, and feeling this is reflexive in the mind
  • Feeling is not an immediate response, it’s a combination

Third:  Daniel Kahneman‘s idea of experienced utility

  • The feeling at any particular moment, at any particular time
  • Kahneman says people have problem with history and future, but are good with what they’re feeling right now
  • Measuring is simple, as simple as measuring colour, e.g. purple that looks pink, but close between the two

Developed by Russell and others:  the affective space (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAD_emotional_state_model)

  • Two dimensions:  arousal and pleasure
  • Y-axis:  We may seek different levels of arousal depending on time of day, age, inclination — could be all over the place
  • We would want to be in joyful enthusiasm to extreme pleasure, most people wouldn’t want to be agitated distress or apethetic depression
  • X-axis:  Pleasure
  • Kahneman speaks of objective happiness
  • Over individuals, objective happiness is connected to day to day occurences, rather than large big events in life
  • Even people who won lottery or had severe disasters, they go back to where they were, in terms of tone in everyday
  • Notion of patterns is important in the way life works

In the mid-1990s, wanted to validate Alexander’s notions about feelings  [maybe see “Space and Community – The Spatial Foundations of Urban Neighborhoods: An Evaluation of Three Theories of Urban Form and Social Structure and Their Relevance to the Issue of Neighborhoods” | Yodan Rofe | 1995 | Berkeley Planning Journal at https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8691z2bp ?]

  • Show connections between what people felt, and the quality of space
  • How to use feeling maps, as a diagnosis of place
  • Like the metaphor of being a doctor

How to map feelings?

  • When come to a neighbourhood, too large to be mapped by a single person
  • Walking too far makes you tired
  • Need to make smaller areas that are walkable
  • Workshop with CNU Philadelphia, 7 areas
  • Then scientific problems:  what do you put on the map?  It could impact the decisions of the people
  • So must put buildings and big trees, e.g. garden, playing field
  • Today, might be simpler, using handheld devices, people walking around, making evaluations with GPS feeding into a GIS, although some problems because dealing with mobile may impact the feeling
  • When people make notation, will they know how to read the map — so may be better to be with them, and then could make notations, but then having a person with you changes the feeling, e.g. a woman in an unknown place might feel different with another person
  • Transfer to one map, yellow good, orange is good, red is bad, blue is very bad
  • Scale taken from The Oregon Experiment:  4-level map
  • Also tried a 5-level scale, it’s not easy for people in the 21st century and people will choose neutral, so want to force them on feeling good or bad

Golden Gate neighbourhood of north Oakland, on the edge of Berkeley

  • With urban design professionals, different from residents
  • Try to coordinate feelings with places
  • Then, how to improve neighbourhood feelings
  • Put a feelings survey in all of the mailboxes, got 53 response of 47 usable
  • Area that was mapped enough for sufficient were in the southwest towards Berkeley
  • Can see a concentration of blue dots:  all of San Pablo are blue and red, not feeling good
  • Also had them diagram in different places, where to make a bubble — trouble, some people were inventing relationship
  • Prior had done pilots with undergrads and grads
  • Did some statistical analysis:  test ordinal responses on differences
  • Would expect almost normal, 50% good and bad, actually tilted a little bit towards good in east area — but can see west feels better than east
  • Kahneman’s paper 6 years later explained a lot of this

San Pablo Avenue has bad feelings, Stanford Avenue is feeling better

Going down to Gaskill Street, west side feels good, east side feels bad

It’s quality of the places, not a fault of the person

For intersubjective, do Cronbach reliability test:  remove values and see how the number change

  • Reliability is found to be very high
  • Didn’t want to divide people into cells, tried to put them into cluster — did in about half of a block
  • 3 observations in a cell, about 4000 sq. meters, reliability was very high, 98%
  • At 5 observations, over 90%

Social aspects affecting feeling

  • Tenure (owners, renters)
  • Age
  • Years of residence
  • … all affect feelings
  • Did a logit model on how people make decisions
  • Variable as social, location as street
  • Social only added 5% to accuracy of model — spatial more determinant than social
  • Conclusion:  individual tendency tends to colour feeling, but moves in the same direction — people tend to move together

Then go, to look at space

  • e.g. two houses on Marshall Street

Two views on public library (which is also a museum of African American history)

  • People may respond differently if they know library is also a musem

An intersection, looking 4 different directions

  • People coming to an intersection from a different way would have a different feeling

Sources of feelings:

  • Most important were neighbours and gardens — which are related, since good neighbours keep good gardens
  • Positive and negative feelings are not symmetric
  • Lack of crime doesn’t insure good feelings

First example:  Mitzpeh Ramon ethnographic study

  • Happy with it, but not enough to put into a peer-reviewed journal in the late 1990s
  • Was working on the Boulevard book
  • With Amelia Rosenberg-Weinrub, studied as an ugly place in Israel with varied in culture — she liked the feeling maps, she didn’t have confirmation bias, just used feeling map in ethnography
  • [maybe see “Mapping feeling: An approach to the study of emotional response to the built environment and landscape” | AR Weinreb, Y Rofè | 2013 | Journal of Architectural and Planning Research at http://www.jstor.org/stable/43031085 ]
  • Adjusted instrument, changed the structure
  • Created a map with some clustering — didn’t do statistical analysis (which isn’t what anthropologist do)
  • Did more interaction with people, talking with them as they walked, so could say more about what they felt
  • Found affected more by place by than social aspects
  • Positive areas, e.g. play area
  • Negative areas, ugly building
  • Got published in J. Architectural Planning and Research

Comparison of Neighbourhood Public Open Spaces with L.Arch Inbal Zarchin

[Will stop presentation here]

Now a resurgence of interest, after 2 decades where no one was interest

Interim summary

  • Problem isn’t with measurement of feelings, it doesn’t have to do with how to map centers and extent
  • Hard to quantify
  • Need to rely on judgement:  in double-bind


What did you ask

  • How do you feel?  Very good to very bad
  • Feeling was affected by who was there, as much as with place
  • When ask a lot of people, then biases disappear
  • Statistics know people have individual circumstances, but when ask a lot of people, then they cancel them out

Tough to map patterns.  Have you or students tried to correlate tree, or property levels?

  • No, but others do
  • In urban society, we value nature, because we don’t have so much of it

#pattern-language, #purplsoc-2017

2017/10/20 18:05 Christian Kohls, “Patterns for Creative Space”, Purplsoc

Plenary @chrisimweb #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Introduction by Wolfgang Stark

  • Went to EuroPLoP, found people playing games

Wolfgang is a professor at T.U. Koln

  • Ph.D. thesis on psychology of patterns
  • President of Hillside Europe

[Christian Kohls]

Purplsoc Christian Kohls

Started using patterns 15 years ago

Talking about architecture and patterns, amongst an audience of architects

In the last year, have created some of these creative spaces

  • Talk will be about the journey

Why create creative spaces at the campus?

  • Motivation:  we are developing a creative society
  • Industrial society
  • Knowledge workers:  main activity is to solve problems

Cocreation:  creating software products with people

  • Center on human needs
  • Will see more collaboration spaces


  • Enabling
  • Educating
  • Efficient — not wasting ideas, hearing everyone
  • Exciting so people want to go there


  • Piecemeal growth
  • Passion

Pattern mining:

  • Induction from good practices
  • inductive deductive:  analysis of existing problems
  • Deductive:  pure reason

Software pattern community

  • Inductive empiricism
  • Rule of three

But can also do abductive development

  • Can explain and justify good solutions

Kolhs & Panke 2009, pattern mining as an inductive approach

Collaborative spaces

Places to reflect

Storage space

Also some bad(?) examples

Literature reviews on creativity, creative spaces


#pattern-language, #purplsoc-2017

2017/10/20 08:40 Nick Seemann, “Pattern languages in community building projects”, Purplsoc

Plenary @nickseemann #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Introduction by Howard Davis

Known Nick Seemann since 1998, when he came to U. Oregon when he came to study

  • In 1978, at UC Berkeley, Howard was asked to sit in for Chris Alexander when he went on sabbatical
  • Own first teacher on pattern language was Max Jacobson
  • Taught:  pattern language; urban studio; urban studio on urban design
  • Studios included David Week, Ken Costigan — became good friends, went to Papua New Guinea, pattern language based on traditional patterns
  • David went to Sydney

Nick met David in Sydney, then worked with Ken in Papua New Guinea

  • Back to Sydney, David suggested research master’s in U. Oregon
  • Did field work in Nepal, Katmandu, in slums, building a small school
  • Thesis:  Mapping the Mandala
  • Went back to Sydney, started architecture firm, Constructive Dialogue

Nick says when he meets a new person, he has something to learn from them

  • Speaks to idea in architecture, everyone is important, deserves humanity and dignity

[Nick Seemann]

Purplsoc Nick Seemann

Came to Oregon, when Howard was finishing Production of Houses

Applications of patterns in work

Building from Sydney:  1965 Don Gazzard blog post

  • Sydney Wentworth Church, Richard Lafastria
  • Sketch:  when sitting at the top, above the tree canopy, then into building with a nice space
  • Move up, and then in the light space
  • Sad:  the building hasn’t been used in 15 years
  • This year, went up for sale
  • In Sydney, someone will buy it and turn it into private
  • Relic of heritage building, that will become useless

Will give two talks:

  • A new building
  • Fixing up, nursing homes


  • Involving users:  focus on social life
  • Evidence based work
  • Piecemeal growth

Working in Papua New Guinea, worth with Ken Costigan and David Week

  • Working to evolve building tradition
  • 15 years through working a master’s degree
  • How do I use pattern language to understand the culture?
  • Local technique, no power tools
  • 30-foot long post put into building
  • Could have been part of the Alexander book system
  • David travelling down coast of Sydney:  see the glint of shine, light reflecting off a metal roof, can see progress is coming

Came back to Australia, practice with Tim Turner

  • Wanted to do something socially engaged
  • Crisis accommodation, building for aged
  • Never did any real houses
  • Spending all of time working with community organizations


  • Pattern language for nursing homes
  • Always a social research project, e.g. volunteering 3 weeks in a nursing home to understand what’s going on
  • Intersection been social, craft and sustainability

The Caroline Chisholm Centre

  • Western Sydney, an area of financial need, a lot of indigenous in the area
  • Community building set up by Society of Vincent St. Paul
  • Programs for groups, e.g. old people who assaulted police officers who could take course instead of jail
  • Food vouchers for financial support
  • Already ran 15 years, wanted a better building
  • Mapping out on the site
  • Industrial area, building wouldn’t be looking out on a beach, so looking self-contained
  • Spent time, workshop with 30 people

Two social activities to take seriously

  • 1. Main place that people like to socialize is out the front door, having cigarette
  • Entrance of the building was grand
  • 2. At lunchtime everyday, everything stopped, everyone had lunch together

Workshop:  4 difference scenarios

  • Built pattern language


  • A humble, social entrance
  • An oasis as a quiet place of change:  since building had no outlook, a cool spot in the middle of a hot area (2 degrees C to 40 degrees C), yet didn’t want air conditioning
  • Narrow building, verandah access:  breezes blowing through
  • Integration of activities:  no corridors

Not pulling from a catalog of patterns, coming out from the dialogue and keep changing with the conversations

Flexible, small medium large rooms

  • Movement mostly outside the building, with courtyard in the middle
  • Consultation continued over 4 years: going through models, involving in construction
  • Reticulated space, doors slide out
  • Large doors open out to garden
  • Originally included air conditioning system
  • Air taken underground, used to cool rooms, concrete slab would keep room cool

Issues:  some people still felt disenfranchised, 3 or 4 years in, gave time people to discuss

  • Most of the 25 people changed over 4 years

Buildings most satisfying were often smallest

  • Shift from accommodation (giving people a place to sleep)
  • Process to offer of engagement
  • Intake, treatment, sleeping (8 hours), washing and then eating

2014:  shifting more directly to nursing home

  • 190,000 people in Australia living in assisted care
  • Environments are bad
  • Could be frailty, macular degeneration: environments could make those worse
  • Existing building stock is a mess

Dealing with issues, pattern-based

Two big influences:

  • Paul Pholeros, healthhabitat.com , housingforhealth.com — not well known out of Australia
  • Given a task by elders, to stop people from getting sick
  • Doctor, community worker and architect
  • Did research for 10 years, showed a demonstrable improvement in health for places they lived in
  • 8000 homes
  • Looked at health hardware, what was used to deal with issueser
  • e.g. children being washed twice per day:  if houses don’t have running water, no way to wash child in clean water
  • Water from well, into hot water system that won’t fail from salting up, a clean surface to clean up, with a plug (so that people don’t use a newspaper that will clog up)
  • Spend was $7200 to fix houses

Other project was school

  • One room school
  • Patterns used to bring people together
  • Not known for construction skills, they would knock down and rebuild
  • They valued later for stopping fighting, moving forward
  • UnitingCare, Building Design Guide, 32 pattern summary — has been rewritten 3 times (rewrites getting worse)
  • Knowledge was there, but no one was using it
  • Go back a step:  what was important
  • Doing a 100-page book, and then trying to sell it, use it

In aged care, besides disable, the knowledge is there

  • Key Principles for Improving Healthcare Environments for People with Dementia, aci.health.nsw.gov.au written 30 years ago, typewritten
  • 10 ideas
  • 1. Unobrusivley reduce risks
  • 2. Provide a human scale
  • 3. Allow people to see and be seen
  • (a) Reduce to “small households”
  • e.g. 50 people for lunch everyday is going to be intimidating
  • (b) Accessible gardens
  • (c) Improve Orientation

Accessible gardens:  day centre, get people outside, going into a contained space

  • Good visual access
  • A path that leads you out
  • Corridors for moving through rooms
  • Transition zone to allow eyes to adjust

Improve orientation

  • Was little contrast, except going into room, looks institutional
  • Hide clutter
  • Give more of a residential look
  • Hide a door (for a cleaner)
  • Nooks for people to sit in
  • Small changes for client, one corridor at a time

Small households

  • Was large diningroom, locked doors to small balcony
  • A cluster of small spaces
  • Good sight lines
  • Containing different households
  • Took middle of business, converted into service areas
  • Garden space outside
  • Better sight lines

Another project, similar idea

  • Original idea of knock down and rebuild, but 5 years later, it isn’t done
  • Had:  bedrooms with 3 or 4 people in them, now ways out
  • Converted to 2-person bedrooms
  • Set up another living space open to outside

Strategic improvements:

  • Coming back to Paul’s original ideas
  • Making incremental
  • Looking a culture change, working with staff, knowledge of staff

Pieter Bruegel, The Elder Children’s Games

In Australia, looking for few buildings that encourage activities

  • Coming through conversations with clients
  • Evaluation process

School in Nepal, 6 years later

  • Community built 2 more rooms, paved, built more bathrooms
  • Not fighting on beauty, building together as a group

Next step:  How to involve people more fully


When doing incremental projects, useful, allowing people to maintain the facility while using it.  Also improving designs

  • Small projects more likely to happen
  • $7000 projects, so that staff can see it won’t take 4 years
  • The best way to get staff involved
  • Set up an action research approach:  are improvements happening, is going outside important

Working in different client:  inside/outside, heating/cooling.  How to get cooling done?

  • Focused on 12 patterns
  • Challenge in aged care is getting them excited so that they want to go outside
  • In Papua New Guinea, a lot about cooling

#pattern-language, #purplsoc-2017

2017/10/19 17:05 Linda Rising, “Patterns and Morality”, Purplsoc

Plenary @RisingLinda #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Introduction by Hajo Neis

  • Univ.-Prof. Hajo Neis, Director of PUARL
  • Message from Christopher Alexander, through
  • First, greetings from the University of Oregon
  • Christopher Alexander is now in a stage of life where it’s difficult to express himself

Purplsoc Hajo Neis

Shifting Patterns: Christopher Alexander und der Eishin campus, just published

  • Published by Park Books
  • Only publication by Christopher Alexander in German language

Introduction of Linda Rising by Peter Baumgartner

  • Independent consultant, living in the United States
  • Ph.D. from Arizona State U., on optic phase design matrix
  • Book on Fearless Change, which was the first book that Peter read on patterns, not coming from the computer science community

[Linda Rising]

Purplsoc Linda Rising

Presentation available on request

Woke up last November, after election in the U.S.

Thought protests were over in the 1970s

  • Marched with 15,000 others in Nashville, a city of only a million
  • Since then, have been in a lot of other protests

Have been looking for patterns on what’s been going on

Alexander said a puzzle:  a pattern is something can be implemented a million different ways without doing it the same way twice

  • Where are the million different ways?
  • What should I do?  How should I implement one of those different ways
  • How can I know?  What is the evidence that it really works?
  • In writing new patterns, not convinced that they’re all in use.

Alexander often references science

  • Would like to see instead some evidence of the science

Twilight Zone episode:  The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

  • They do it by turning people against each other
  • It’s so easy to get them to turn against each other
  • In the episode, a person kills a friend
  • Thought it was interesting, but it couldn’t really happen

Now, neighbour is turning against neighbour

  • Friends turning against each other
  • Asking people:  did you vote for Donald Trump?
  • Tennessee is mostly red state, with Nashville a little blue dot
  • Nobody is listening to anybody

Fearless Change:  when two parties don’t listen to each other, first instinct is to fight

Thinking opponents are missing facts, so all we have to do is provide missing information

We’re not designed to respond to information

  • Reason isn’t a judge that looks at information
  • It’s more like a press secretary
  • Confirmation bias
  • Not proof
  • Then we discount information of others

Cognitive dissonance

Started book as a technical person, didn’t know enough about change

  • Social psychology, influence strategies, evolutionary biology

Between Fearless Change and More Fearless Change was the emergence of behavioral economics

  • Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow
  • Dan Ariely

Now have published Chinese versions of books

The big problem with patterns, having spent 20 years on 2 books, started when she was 55

  • Think we need more evidence
  • We see what we want to see, and then the brain fills in
  • We hate to think about 2 ideas at the same time
  • Science can’t test a million different ways

Christopher Alexander talks about experiments, but don’t think he did many on people

Turned to own pattern language to talk to neighbours, in conflict

  • Stephen Covey says, listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply
  • How do we implement this?
  • Where is the science?

Finding research in morality

  • Jonathan Haidt:  The Righteous Mind
  • Joshua Greene:  Moral Tribes

Moral Foundations Theory from Joshua Greeen:

  • Right:  Loyalty, Authority, Sanctity
  • Left:  Care, Fairness

You have to think about values, what’s important for them, not for you

e.g. increase in military spending

  • Message 1:  Take pride in military that protects us from evil — authority, patriotism
  • Message 2:  In the military, the poor and disadvantaged can achieve equal standing — caring

Have been practicising, trying to adopt the values of the other side

  • Haven’t been successful
  • We’re not only wedded to vision, we’re wedded to values

Is there something that I can prove that make you stop believing?  If no, then no point in continuing discussion


Developing a pattern language on commoning.  Doing, acting, together.  Generative processes.  Generating based on people’s reality.  Depends on how we conceptualize science.  Process philosophy, action research.  The way of generating patterns together?

  • Feeling in the pattern community, as have coauthors and group authors.  Reviewers should give honest feedback.  Authors can take feedback or not.
  • May have groupthink.
  • Better than nothing, but may not sufficient.
  • Would like to see testing.

Empirically investigating morality.  Before waveform analysis, colour was thought to be subjective.  Quality of morality?  Investigative methods?

  • First, look around.
  • Behavioural economics and cognitive neuroscience are measuring things that we though were unmeasureable.
  • Attraction to a younger person.  Feeling it?  If you notice and the other person doesn’t, pupils dilate, even if not conscious.

Definition of science.  Patterns should have some evidence.  Science in the normal definition is too strict.  Social phenomenon.  Complex systems, or systems dynamics to understand more.  Need to create a new type of science.

  • Science is a social construct, the best we have right now.
  • Scientists are human, we’re biased.
  • Hard for scientist to give up a belief.
  • Ideal world:  another section in every pattern, for validation or test

Thomas Kuhn, paradigm.  If following dominant theory, then get funding.  If now there are competing facts, it’s not a problem.  Incorporate facts in bigger theories.  More complexity and risk, will have change.  Can’t confirm with contradictory facts.  Wittgenstein:  it’s not the different facts, it’s the interconnection of facts tying things together.  Have to work on an alternative world on a grassroots level.  Who is responsible?  Who gets peer reviews?  Open data.  Can repeat experiment.

  • Daniel Kahneman got a Nobel prize for saying people aren’t rational decision makers.
  • Now conflict between behavioral economics and classical economists.
  • Max Planck:  science moves forward with the death of scientists

Producing 10 to 20 patterns every year.  Believe that I have found solutions that I want to share.  People have to use them.

  • In the science of medicine, bloodletting was practiced for 1000 years
  • Have another talk:  give agile software development a placebo

Adopt or visualize someone else’s point of view.  Similar with elections in France.  Scared, thought the same thing as U.S. would happen.  Definition of empathy?  Is empathy over and done?  Rosenberg non-violent communications and conflict resolution.

  • Rosenberg’s research shows that we don’t naturally do that, it’s learned skill

Possible to understand the position of someone who supports Trump, and still think Trump is an idiot.  Issue with Chris Alexander’s failure to go through all of the science to validate 253 patterns is one thing.  Problem isn’t with Alexander, but with the adulation of Alexander.  There are other approaches.  There are other more scientifically approaches.  Not complete.  But looking across, can see.

  • Having a conversation with neighbours.
  • Coverage increases over time

#pattern-language, #purplsoc-2017

2017/10/19 15:25 Max Jacobson, “A Building is not a Turkish Carpet:  Patterns, Properties and Beauty”, Purplsoc

Plenary by Max Jacobson #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Introduction by Hajo Neis

Last year at PUARL, emphasis on beauty

Max Jacobson was associate of Center for Environmental Structure at Berkeley, 1971-1974

  • 1973 Ph.D. on design process
  • With Murray Silverstein, formed architecture firm
  • Lecturer at UC Berkeley, and Vallejo Valley College
  • Now at USF

An Invitation to Architecture, 2014

[Max Jacobson]

Purplsoc Max Jacobson

Was asked last year, most important idea?

  • Beauty can be created and enjoyed in our life

Patterns, Properties and Beauty

Will talk about beauty and order

Chris Alexander has always had important coworkers, who rarely get mentioned

  • Always has been the guru
  • Teacher

The realization of his ideas often go with those who joined him to building the buildings, write the books

  • Many here have substantially helped him

The Nature of Order and A Pattern Language are both concerned with beauty, but take diametrically opposed approaches

  • Do these approaches have the capacity to generate beautiful buildings?
  • Shortcomings

Part-time teacher, doesn’t get involved in administration of universities

  • An architect of 35 years

What is beauty?

  • In the eye of the observer?  Can be more specific

4 descriptions

1. The beautiful object is whole

  • Complete, not lacking anything
  • Also economical, you can’t take anything away from it, without hurting it, may stop existing as beauty

2.  Beauty embodies a truth

  • Exposes itself
  • Hides nothing
  • Shows relationships, human and geometric

3.  Functional adequacy, excellence

  • Not just mechanical

4.  (not discussed often) We demand beauty is not evil, it be on the side of the good

  • Moral aspects of pattern

Beauty generates pleasure

  • Physical pleasure, smoothness of touch, comfort of a well-shaped chair, corner where sun comes in, we feel in our body
  • Psychological experience:  beauty comforts psychological fatigue, ennui, angst; elevates psychological frame of mind
  • Strengthens our inner landscape

Touched by beautiful story of building

  • Force of emotion, don’t know where it comes from, may overwhelm us

Intellectual pleasure

  • Source, truth
  • Can range
  • Beautiful distances, geometries

Beauty gives different types of pleasure

  • Comfort, satisfaction
  • Also, challenges, and can be a little fearful
  • We’re drawn to some these challenges

In the 1960s and 1970s in Berkeley, weren’t concerned with the highest achievement of architects

  • Surrounded by good architects
  • Modern
  • Good buildings would be removed by colorless structures
  • Didn’t like what was going on, not only in building, but also society, e.g. corporate model
  • Stiff, unnatural, were tired of it

None of us working on pattern language had any real experience on building real buildings

  • Had client, design
  • Were kids with passion
  • Sara Ishikawa had worked for 5 years in a firm, the only one with real experience
  • No experience, go back to basics
  • Find a building you like, and ask, why is this working?
  • Working with the site, with the sun, or circulation
  • Extract patterns that you think explain it

Chris had published Notes on the Synthesis of Form, a Ph.D. thesis that turned into a book

  • Very technical
  • Quite mechanical
  • Difficult
  • Method of dividing up all the things that don’t fit, clusters
  • Chris has a reputation coming to Berkeley as the theoretician and methodologies

Berkeley had design methods movement

  • Statistical methods
  • That group asked Max to interview Chris
  • I am definitely concerned with making a good building.  Smell and touch … but are you at peace with yourself?
  • This didn’t belong in the design methods group
  • In the interview, when he said good, he meant beautiful
  • Denied that Notes on a Synthesis of Form was a method
  • It was a way of getting at beauty
  • That would have surprised many people, an analytical work aimed at creating beauty

Being at peace with yourself, and beauty:  emerged in The Nature of Order, but not in the A Pattern Language book

  • A Pattern Language was just solutions, some good and some not so good
  • Beauty doesn’t exist in the A Pattern Language book

In spite of saying it’s not a design method, it’s pretty straightforward

  • Choose patterns from book
  • Apply in appropriate order
  • … That is a method

The book doesn’t give any advice on the proper attitude:  you don’t have to be at peace with yourself

  • If you do it, peace descends on you
  • Don’t have to worry about the design fads, what’s in the magazines, or what they’re teaching in architectural schools
  • Empowering to the person using it
  • Fun, a nice experience

Book was designed for laymen to use, anybody

  • Hoped architecture students would use it
  • Maybe architects would use it

Book has been popular with layman, but not with profession

  • The word architect never appears
  • Don’t need an architect

The book itself, in relationship to beauty

  • Has 1200 pages, yet comfortable, can carry around
  • Red cover, gold embossing
  • Pages are bible-like
  • Holding something valuable and beautiful in the book itself

Mainly Ingrid, find photographic images that could be the lead off for the pattern, inspirational

Six foot balcony:  show the beautiful experience, if the balcony was big enough for a group, a tea

  • Photo shows balcony covered, although that’s not part of the pattern

Structural of the book, from region to city to building to rooms

  • That is the beautiful structure
  • Each pattern is completing the pattern above
  • … and is fleshed out by the patterns later

Book is functional

  • Think people could use it
  • Was part of graduate work:  create a list of patterns, see if people could use it
  • Pattern gets used

Is the material true?  Yes

  • A problem is real
  • e.g. light falling on one side of a room may have glare, a problem
  • Light on two sides of a room is better

Is this a force for good?  Thought yes

  • Thought would move architecture in a more humane direction
  • Thought were were good guys

The majority of the Berkeley faculty thought it was dangerous

  • Some thought it was intellectually weak:  good for all, versus good for all
  • Basic human being
  • Others thought it presented a medieval aesthetic, rooted in Europe, not modern
  • Can see that, from looking a photos

Was taken seriously by Oregon, Kansas, Darmstadt

  • New school started in Italy (presentation at this conference)

Does the pattern language produce beautiful buildings?

  • A person said chose two patterns, and then contracted an architect
  • Authors of the book?
  • Before publishing the book, interest in responsive architecture
  • 1972 conference, presented 2 papers:  Alexander specified technical, e.g. no peculiar angles, a grid of posts, continuous …, angled braces between vertical and horizontal
  • Sketch:  humane room shape, suggests a post-and-beam structure
  • In Jacobson paper (with Alexander as coauthor) thick walls, easy to repair — Japanese House Plan
  • No Japanese layman could have built these joints
  • At centre, had to come up with a building system, had balsa wood and glue

Came up with not big posts in wood, by 4×4 posts in wood, would be easy to drill through and bolt together

  • Outside to be sheathed
  • As part of centre, asked people to come into office and design a house
  • Poeple said they could follow it
  • Schematic design, a beginning
  • Starts to work

Not in book

  • Need a system based in concrete
  • Structure too thin, not fat enough

Chris was more comfortable with mass

  • Had to build a test structure in the back yard of the centre, using lightweight concrete

Experimental house, build behind the centre

  • Max was a little embarrassed at the building
  • Too cute, too storybook
  • Rejection of wood — in some countries, there is no wood — but trees can be grown
  • Coming from Pacific Northwest, see trees that are being grown, ecologically attractive
  • Stuart Island Cabin, having fallen in love with balsa wood model, built a little cabin, bolting, creating thickness where there’s a window
  • Initially sheathed in plywood, no stone
  • Could participate in the building

Pattern Language book was done, last days

  • Max and Murray decided to become architects, Chris didn’t like this, felt a breach of loyalty, got mad
  • Got jobs to do houses, as so did Chris
  • Big difference:  he not only did design, he commissioned for construction, done by his students and associates
  • Max and Murray were typical architects, could have builders

Chris’ first house:  The Sala House

  • A post and beam house, he gave up on the concrete
  • Wood floor between beams
  • Sheathing is 2″ layer of reinforced concrete, in alternating colours
  • Used immediate labour, his labour, Seth Wachtel worked on this

Kuperman House:  standard construction

How did we do?

  • They both have some beautiful features, but also both had some ugly aspects
  • Neither was fulfilling the promise of the book
  • They were good-enough houses:  the neighbourhood is happy, the owners are happy, the contractors are happy

The pattern language improved the work of architects and lay people, no matter the level of skill

  • Beautiful enough to be good enough

Seth Wachtel, almost got fired by the Sala House

  • One way to get fired was to ask for a raise
  • Trouble:  Chris would set the budget, everything had to be done within the budget, no opportunity to expand, terrible for the workers

Chris felt the pattern language was inadequate to create beautiful buildings

An essay on the nature of building in the university

  • Essay is supposed to be a short book:  A Pattern Language is a little over 1 lb.
  • The Nature of Order exceeded 16 lbs.

The life of an object is similar to qi, the life energy inside the object

Think the 15 properties are a contribution towards beauty

  • The 15 properties define a type of beauty, an organic beauty

Cell structure:  all of the elements are there

  • They are the definition or organic

The mirror of the self:  Fractal Oak Tree

  • The similarity to your deepest self

Chris got better in his work, Max and Murray got better in book

  • Does The Nature of Order produce more beautiful buildings?
  • Same as asking if Chris produces more beautiful buildings.

In the book, he is undiscriminating in showing the work of his own building, others were also trying, and doesn’t criticize self

  • Not sense of growth or learning in the work in that book
  • Tried to apply the test of the mirror in own buildings, see some beauty, but don’t see the correspondence between what Chris is doing, and own inner self
  • More Maybeck, Frank Lloyd Wright — more bony, more slim
  • In Chris’ work, more European motifs, rather than a universal architecture

At some other occasiion, will talk about the limits of the Alexandrian approach

Alexander overlooks the sublime of beauty

Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, “The Wander” — standing on the brink of an outlook, precarious, sees the nature of the beauty bigger and scarier than himself

Starchitect:  Rem Koolhaus, Dutch Embassy in Berlin, have to walk across the glass floor, scary

Salk Center, La Jolla, sublime, not beautiful

Pantheon in Rome, has intellectual beauty, geometric ideas

Palladio, Villas:  interrelationships of numbers, nothing to do with beauty

Kahn, Kimbell Art Museum uses cycloid

Gaudi, Casa Milla:  catenary curve

Jefferson UVA library:  the rows of professors on two arms, students go into the professor, everyone at the commons —  a beautiful idea

Schindler House — Privacy for Two Couples — art studios, room for someone to stay

Be specific about what kind of beauty that Alexander’s whole thesis is about

Gropius House in Dessau — destroyed

  • We are problem solvers, we seek out puzzles, we don’t want everything answered for us, all of the time
  • Facade, not random opening
  • Looked for well-formed shapes, interpenetrations
  • No boundaries, Gropius didn’t give them, but that could have deadened the facade


15 properties and organic beauty.  House has levels of scale.  Good contrast.  It might not have much more.  Chris’ example include Japanese gardens (geometricity), Arabic gardens (abstract).  Don’t think just organic, not in the sense they usually mean organic.  Do bring together human artifacts and natural forms.  Chris’ problem is early work was it was too lose, not formal in the way organic forms are.

  • Chris is specific in the nature of order, i.e. mathematical order — isn’t going to get you where you want to be

Which patterns in book?  Patterns that aren’t in the book?  Procedure, how long did it take?

  • One that got into book that shouldn’t:  any building over 4 stories will drive you crazy
  • Process: sit around in the living room, Chris is silent.  Frowning, not happy.  We’re sitting around trying to figure out, what’s the problem.  After an hour, ask Chris, what’s the problem.
  • Other times, joyous, bowling over
  • There’s a limit to how much of the depressing process it can take:  the group came to an end after that

A House is Not a Turkish Carpet.  Flat, 2-D

  • Second part of talk was reduced
  • Principles weren’t developed from nature, but from carpets
  • Chris had studied carpets for years
  • Surprised that these properties are so applicable to the organic world

#pattern-language, #purplsoc-2017

2017/10/19 15:00 Richard Sickinger, “Pattern Primer”, Purplsoc

Plenary @richsick #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/

Mag. arch. Richard Sickinger, Danube University Krems – University for Continuing Education, Faculty of Education, Arts and Architecture

Purplsoc Richard Sickinger

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

What is a pattern?

  • A pattern can have a template
  • Can be geometric

3 attributes

1. A solution to a problem

  • 2. A way to do something, describes a need, an action
  • The core of a solution which can be applied in many different ways

Examples: in a farm in Austria

  • Dry milk can:  milk in the bottom stinks, so knock the can over
  • Properly cut tree:  cut the tree for uphill, so the sap can flow out

2.  A quality without a name

  • A quality of being in balance, free of inner contradictions, one with itself — whole
  • A quality of being in tune, fully intense, true to its own inner forces — alive
  • A quality of being original — free

Of Alexander 6, picked three:  whole, alive, free

3. A society which is alive and whole

  • Alive:  will not be able to become alive, unless they are made by all the people in society
  • Understanding:  By enabling simple access to key problems and answers
  • Participation:  By enabling an active implementation of the one best solution in many different ways
  • Identification:  By entitling people to actively build society through their work

Laying bricks, putting up a wall, or building a cathedral?

Whole:  like a seed, is a genetic system which gives our millions of small acts the power to form a whole

  • Supportive
  • Coherent:  each part enables and supports the whole

A Pattern is an entity with three dimensions

  • a universal solution
  • affirming whole

Grappling with destructive forces

  • Old patterns are losing validity and relevance
  • New patterns are needed and in demand

We need a new approach, pattern language approach of Christopher Alexander serves this

What is a pattern:

  • Solution, problem, context
  • What, how, why
  • Capra:  I definine meaning as the experience of context
  • Embedded in universal, reaches for quality, wants to support and enable the whole … in a network of pattern

Pattern 140

Example:  Business models, Tiina Gruber-Muecke, 55 patterns

The building blocks of societal change.



#pattern-language, #purplsoc-2017