The Legacy of Christopher Alexander: Form Language, Pattern Language, and Complexity by Nikos Salingaros


   Nikos Salingaros' essay appears in Common Edge   and was adapted from a lecture given to the Building Beauty Master’s Program in April 2018.

Nikos Salingaros' essay appears in Common Edge
and was adapted from a lecture given to the Building Beauty Master’s Program in April 2018.

Form Language consists of a set of definitions and vocabulary of building and design components that can be combined coherently. These comprise specific geometries, shape and size of pieces, particular materials, etc.

To most people, this is what characterizes architectural “style.” Evolved form languages always adapt to locality, culture, and use—in fact, they’re an essential part of cultural identity. Design geometry may be freely invented within those constraints. Yet, the remarkable thing is that most form languages also satisfy general geometrical constraints known as Alexander’s “15 Fundamental Properties...”

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Dan Klyn