The Timeless Way of Building – Green Chi Favorite
In order for you to get a glimmer of this beautiful book, The Timeless Way of Building, by Christopher Alexander (Oxford University Press, 1979), I’ll provide you with a quote from the beginning of the book:
There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named.
We have been taught that there is no objective difference between good buildings and bad, good towns and bad.
The fact is that the difference between a good building and a bad building, between a good town and a bad town, is an objective matter. It is the difference between health and sickness, wholeness and dividedness, self-maintenance and self-destruction. In a world which is healthy, whole, alive, and self-maintaining, people themselves can be alive and self-creating. In a world which is unwhole and self-destroying, people cannot be alive: they will inevitably themselves be self-destroying, and miserable.
But it is easy to understand why people believe so firmly that there is no single, solid basis for the difference between good building and bad.
It happens because the single central quality which makes the difference cannot be named.
And, here is a quote from simply randomly cracking open the book:
Every single part of the environment is governed by some portion of a pattern of language.
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).