A Pattern Language (Christopher Alexander)

We have been asked to find and consider the implications of the book “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander on developing design projects for the Games industry.

I have found this very useful website which looks at all 253 patters listed in the book. By just having a quick read through, the author of the website has made these interesting headings which my the first look it makes it seem like it shows how to designs environments and buildings.

TOWNS

The language begins with patterns that define towns and communities. These patterns can never be designed or built in one fell swoop – but patient piecemeal growth, designed in such a way that every individual act is always helping to create or generate these larger global patterns, will, slowly and surely, over the years, make a community that has these global patterns in it.

First, one all important comment about the region as a whole:

1. INDEPENDENT REGIONS

Within each region work toward those regional policies which will protect the land and mark the limits of the cities:

2. THE DISTRIBUTION OF TOWNS

3. CITY COUNTRY FINGERS

4. AGRICULTURAL VALLEYS

5. LACE OF COUNTRY STREETS

6. COUNTRY TOWNS

7. THE COUNTRYSIDE

Through city policies, encourage the piecemeal formation of those major structures which define the city :

8. MOSAIC OF SUBCULTURES

9. SCATTERED WORK

10. MAGIC OF THE CITY

11. LOCAL TRANSPORT AREAS

Build up these larger city patterns from the grass roots, through action essentially controlled by two levels of self-governing communities, which exist as physically identifiable places

12. COMMUNITY OF 7000

13. SUBCULTURE BOUNDARY

14. IDENTIFIABLE NEIGHBOURHOOD

15. NEIGHBOURHOOD BOUNDARY

Connect communities to one another by encouraging the growth of the following networks:

16. WEB OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

17. RING ROADS

18. NETWORK OF LEARNING

19. WEB OF SHOPPING

20. MINI-BUSSES

Establish community and neighbourhood policy to control the character of the local environment according to the following fundamental principles;

21. FOUR-STORY LIMIT

22. NINE PER CENT PARKING

23. PARALLEL ROADS

24. SACRED SITES

25. ACCESS TO WATER

26. LIFE CYCLE

27. MEN AND WOMEN

Both in the neighbourhoods and the communities, and in between them, in the boundaries, encourage the formation of local centres;

28. ECCENTRIC NUCLEUS

29. DENSITY RINGS

30. ACTIVITY NODES

31. PROMENADE

32. SHOPPING STREET

33. NIGHT LIFE

34. INTERCHANGE

Around these centres, provide for the growth of housing in the form of clusters, based on face-to-face human groups;

35. HOUSEHOLD MIX

36. DEGREES OF PUBLICNESS

37. HOUSE CLUSTER

38. ROW HOUSES

39. HOUSING HILL

40. OLD PEOPLE EVERYWHERE
Between the house clusters, around the centres, and especially in the boundaries between neighbourhoods, encourage the formation of work communities

41. WORK COMMUNITY

42. INDUSTRIAL RIBBON

43. UNIVERSITY AS A MARKETPLACE

44. LOCAL TOWN HALL

45. NECKLACE OF COMMUNITY PROJECTS

46. MARKET OF MANY SHOPS

47. HEALTH CENTRE

48. HOUSING IN BETWEEN

Between the house clusters and work communities, allow the local road and path network to grow informally, piecemeal

49. LOOPED LOCAL ROADS

50. T JUNCTIONS

51. GREEN STREETS

52. NETWORK OF PATHS AND CARS

53. MAIN GATEWAYS

54. ROAD CROSSING

55. RAISED WALK

56. BIKE PATHS AND RACKS

57. CHILDREN IN THE CITY

In the communities and neighbourhoods, provide public open land where people can relax, rub shoulders and renew themselves

58. CARNIVAL

59. QUIET BACKS

60. ACCESSIBLE GREEN

61. SMALL PUBLIC SQUARES

62. HIGH PLACES

63. DANCING IN THE STREET

64. POOLS AND STREAMS

65. BIRTH PLACES

66. HOLY GROUND

In each house cluster and work community, provide the smaller bits of common land, to provide for local versions of the same needs

67. COMMON LAND

68. CONNECTED PLAY

69. PUBLIC OUTDOOR ROOM

70. GRAVE SITES

71. STILL WATER

72. LOCAL SPORTS

73. ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND

74. ANIMALS

Within the framework of the common land, the clusters, and the work communities encourage transformation of the smallest independent social institutions: the families, workgroups, and gathering places. The family, in all its forms;

75. THE FAMILY

76. HOUSE FOR A SMALL FAMILY

77. HOUSE FOR A COUPLE

78. HOUSE FOR ONE PERSON

79. YOUR OWN HOME

The work groups, including all kinds of workshops and offices and even children’s learning groups:

80. SELF-GOVERNING WORKSHOPS AND OFFICES

81. SMALL SERVICES WITHOUT RED TAPE

The first group of patterns helps to lay out the overall

82. OFFICE CONNECTIONS

83. MASTER AND APPRENTICES

84. TEENAGE SOCIETY

85. SHOPFRONT SCHOOLS

86. CHILDREN’S HOME

87. INDIVIDUALLY OWNED SHOPS

88. STREET CAFÉ

89. CORNER GROCERY

90. BEER HALL

91. TRAVELLER’S INN

92. BUS STOP

93. FOOD STANDS

94. SLEEPING IN PUBLIC” Source

I believe that this section lays out the different things a designer has to consider when it comes to designing a town. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to use every single thing from the item but 1 or 2 definitely. I do believe that when designing a town and by following all of these headers you would be able to create a great piece of concept with a great narrative without having to explain everything. It doesn’t say what kind of town this is supposed to work for because it doesn’t matter! As long as you have a theme about what you want to do, be it a fantasy or a sci-fi town, all of these apply, you’ll just have to design each an individual thing that you want to include in your town and then mash it all together. As soon as the next environment project comes around I will use this list as a checklist.

BUILDINGS

This completes the global patterns which define a town or a part of the community. We now,start tat part of the language which gives shape to groups of buildings, and individual buildings, on the land, in three dimensions. These are the patterns which can be “designed)’ or “built”- the patterns which define the individual buildings and the space between buildings; where we are dealing f or the first time with Patterns that are under the control of individuals or small groups of individuals, who are able to build the patterns all at once.
Arrangement of a group of buildings: the height and number of these buildings, the entrances to the site, main parking areas and lines of movement through the complex.

95. BUILDING COMPLEX

96. NUMBER OF STORIES

97. SHIELDED PARKING

98. CIRCULATION REALMS

the local shops and gathering places.

99. MAIN BUILDING

100. PEDESTRIAN STREET

101. BUILDING THOROUGHFARE

102. FAMILY OF ENTRANCES

103. SMALL PARKING LOTS

Fix the position of individual buildings on the site, within the complex, one by one, according to the nature of the site, the trees, the sun: this is one of the most important moments in the language.

104. SITE REPAIR

105. SOUTH FACING OUTDOORS

1o6. POSITIVE OUTDOOR SPACE

107. WINGS OF LIGHT

1o8. CONNECTED BUILDINGS

109. LONG THIN HOUSE

Within the buildings’ wings, lay out the entrances, the gardens, courtyards, roofs, and terraces: shape both the volume of fhe buildings and the volume of the space between the buildings at the same time-remembering that indoor space and outdoor space, Yin and Yang, must alwavs aet their sha e together;

110. MAIN ENTRANCE

111. HALF-HIDDEN GARDEN

112. ENTRANCE TRANSITION

113. CAR CONNECTION

114. HIERARCHY OF OPEN SPACE

115. COURTYARDS WHICH LIVE

116. CASCADE OF ROOFS

117. SHELTERING ROOF

118. ROOF GARDEN

When the major parts of buildings and the outdoor areas have been given their rough shape, it is the right time to give more detailed attention to the paths and squares between the buildings

119. ARCADES

120. PATHS AND GOALS

121. PATH SHAPE

122. BUILDING FRONTS

123. PEDESTRIAN DENSITY

124. ACTIVITY POCKETS

125. STAIR SEATS

126. SOMETHING ROUGHLY IN THE MIDDLE

Now, with the paths fixed, we come back to the buildings: within the various wings of any one building, work out the fundamental gradients of space, and decide how the movement will connect the spaces in the gradients;

127. INTIMACY GRADIENT

128. INDOOR SUNLIGHT

129. COMMON AREAS AT THE HEART

130. ENTRANCE ROOM

131. THE FLOW THROUGH ROOMS

132. SHORT PASSAGES

133. STAIRCASE AS A STAGE

134. ZEN VIEW

135. TAPESTRY OF LIGHT AND DARK

Within the framework of the wings and their internal gradients of space and movement, define the most important areas and rooms. First, for a house

136. COUPLE’S REALM

137. CHILDREN’S REALM

138. SLEEPING TO THE EAST

139. FARMHOUSE KITCHEN

Prepare to knit the inside of the building to the outside, by treating the edge between the two as a place in its own right, and making human details there;

140. PRIVATE TERRACE ON THE STREET

141. A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN

142. SEQUENCE OF SITTING SPACES

143. BED CLUSTER

144. BATHING ROOM

145.BULK STORAGE

Then the same for offices, workshops, and public buildings:

146. FLEXIBLE OFFICE SPACE

147. COMMUNAL EATING

148. SMALL WORK GROUPS

149. RECEPTION WELCOMES YOU

150. A PLACE TO WAIT

Decide on the arrangement of the gardens, and the places in the gardens

151. SMALL MEETING ROOMS

152. HALF-PRIVATE OFFICE

Add those small outbuildings which must be slightly in dependent from the main structure, and put in the access from the upper stories to the street and gardens;

153. ROOMS TO RENT

154. TEENAGER’S COTTAGE

155. OLD AGE COTTAGE

156. SETTLED WORK

157. HOME WORKSHOP

158. OPEN STAIRS

159. LIGHT ON TWO SIDES OF EVERY ROOM

16o. BUILDING EDGE

161. SUNNY PLACE

162. NORTH FACE

163. OUTDOOR ROOM

164. STREET WINDOWS

165. OPENING TO THE STREET

166. GALLERY SURROUND

167. SIX-FOOT BALCONY

168. CONNECTION TO THE EARTH

169. TERRACED SLOPE

170. FRUIT TREES

171. TREE PLACES

172. GARDEN GROWING WILD

173. GARDEN WALL

174. TRELLISED WALK

175. GREENHOUSE

176. GARDEN SEAT

177. VEGETABLE GARDEN

178. COMPOST

Go back to the inside of the building and attach the necessary minor rooms and alcoves to complete the main rooms:

179. ALCOVES

180. WINDOW PLACE

181. THE FIRE

182. EATING ATMOSPHERE

183. WORKSPACE ENCLOSURE

184. COOKING LAYOUT

185. SITTING CIRCLE

186. COMMUNAL SLEEPING

187. MARRIAGE BED

188. BED ALCOVE

189. DRESSING ROOM

Fine tune the shape and size of rooms and alcoves to make them precise and buildable:

190. CEILING HEIGHT VARIETY

191. THE SHAPE OF INDOOR SPACE

192. WINDOWS OVERLOOKING LIFE

193. HALF-OPEN WALL

194. INTERIOR WINDOWS

195. STAIRCASE VOLUME

196. CORNER DOORS

Give all the walls some depth, wherever there are to be alcoves, windows, shelves, closets, or seats

197. THICK WALLS

198. CLOSETS BETWEEN ROOMS

199. SUNNY COUNTER

200. OPEN SHELVES

201. WAIST-HIGH SHELF

202. BUILT-IN SEATS

203. CHILD CAVES

204. SECRET PLACE” – Source

This section describes the buildings and how it should all look from both outside and the inside. Both give a building or buildings a bit of character and it makes it much more interesting to look at rather than a row full of buildings that just look the same.

CONSTRUCTION

At this stage, you have a complete design f or an individual building. If you have followed the patterns given, you have a scheme of spaces, either marked on the ground, with stakes, or on a piece of paper, accurate to the nearest foot or so. You know the height of rooms, the rough size and position of windows and doors, and you know roughly how the roofs I of the building, and the gardens are laid out.
The next, and last part of the language), tells how to make a build-able building directly from this rough scheme of spaces,, and tells you how to build it) in detail.
Before you lay out structural details, establish a philosophy of structure which will let the structure grow directly from your plans and your conception of the buildings;

205. STRUCTURE FOLLOWS SOCIAL SPACES

2o6. EFFICIENT STRUCTURE

207. GOOD MATERIALS

208. GRADUAL STIFFENING

Within this philosophy of structure, on the basis of the plans which you have made, work out the complete structural layout; this is the last thing you do on paper, before you actually start to build;

209. ROOF LAYOUT

210. FLOOR AND CEILING LAYOUT

211. THICKENING THE OUTER WALLS

212. COLUMNS AT THE CORNERS

213. FINAL COLUMN DISTRIBUTION

Put stakes in the ground to mark the columns on the site, and start erecting the main frame of the building according to the layout of these stakes

214. ROOT FOUNDATIONS

215. GROUND FLOOR SLAB

216. BOX COLUMNS

217. PERIMETER BEAMS

218. WALL MEMBRANES

219. FLOOR-CEILING VAULTS

220. ROOF VAULTS

Within the main frame of the building, fix the exact positions for openings-the doors and windows-and frame these openings;

221. NATURAL DOORS AND WINDOWS

222. LOW SILL

223. DEEP REVEALS

224. LOW DOORWAY

225. FRAMES AS THICKENED EDGES

As you build the main frame and its openings, put in the following subsidiary patterns where they are appropriate;

226. COLUMN PLACE

227. COLUMN CONNECTION

228. STAIR.VAULT

229. DUCT SPACE-

230. RADIANT HEAT

231. DORMER WINDOWS

232. ROOF CAPS

Put in the surfaces and indoor details;

233. FLOOR SURFACE

234. LAPPED OUTSIDE WALLS

235. SOFT INSIDE WALLS

236. WINDOWS WHICH OPEN WIDE

237. SOLID DOORS WITH GLASS

238. FILTERED LIGHT

239. SMALL PANES

240. HALF-INCH TRIM

Build outdoor details to finish the outdoors as fully as the indoor spaces;

24I. SEAT SPOTS

242. FRONT DOOR BENCH

243. SITTING WALL

244. CANVAS ROOFS

245. RAISED FLOWERS

246. CLIMBING PLANTS

247. PAVING WITH CRACKS BETWEEN THE STONES

248. SOFT TILE AND BRICK

Complete the building with ornament and light and colour and your own things;

249. ORNAMENT

250. WARM COLOURS

251. DIFFERENT CHAIRS

252. POOLS OF LIGHT 5

253. THINGS FROM YOUR LIFE” Source

This section (like it says in the introduction) outlines how you can make and build the building using your sketches and schemes of spaces.

I do really think that this list is very helpful, especially the first and second section as it tells you in detail what you have to consider when creating a concept for a space. The first second section seems to be more aimed at a fully 3D concept with an interior.

Now that I am look back at the brief list, I realised that it would have been worth of doing THIS task first because it would probably help me out with my bridge concepts.

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