Manifesto 1991 by Christopher Alexander -- excerpts, reading this is strongly recommended for peeragogues, paragogues, makers, leaders.

+Howard Rheingold +Charlotte Pierce +Fabrizio Terzi +Charles Danoff +Régis Barondeau +Samuel Rose +John Graves 

#dogme #patterns #architecture #paragogy  

In scientific terms, we may broadly describe the present view of architecture, which has held sway in one form or another since 1920, as "the mainstream theory of architecture."

During the last 15 years, a wide variety of attacks have been made on this theory, and the theory has been shown to be seriously defective in many important areas. It is now reasonable to say that the mainstream theory is on the verge of collapse. In order to understand this fact, it is merely necessary to make a catalog of the broad issues that the theory fails to address:

1. The definition of quality that is used as the basis for judgment according to "the theory" is not understood or accepted by the majority of people in society, but is esoteric and exclusive, thus separating the buildings made in the mainstream theory from any normal mainstream of society.

2. Incredibly, the theory has no substantial connection with the actual work or process of construction.

3. The theory does not deal with Third World building, low- cost housing, or community affairs.

4. Even in the United States, the theory deals with only a tiny fraction of the buildings that are built.

5. The theory does not deal with ecological problems.

6. The theory does not deal with or incorporate a wide range of facts now known about the relation between human behavior and the environment.

7. The theory does not deal with money or cost in a reasonable fashion.

8. The theory has no substantive or clear empirical relationship with human feeling.

9. The theory has failed to give any general coherent explanation of the values necessary for building well.

10. The theory has not produced buildings that ordinary people like. On the contrary, it has mainly produced buildings that people see as ugly and unsuitable.

11. The theory has not provided any moral leadership that can establish the value inherent in the built world.

A Hippocratic Oath for Architects

Since the moral purpose of our work as architects and builders has become so unclear I have tried, for the purposes of this manifesto, to capture the essential points in a kind of Hippocratic oath, principles of action that any reasonable architect might be willing to adopt.

1.  No matter how big the building is, the architect does some craft work on every building, with his (or her) own hands.

2.  The architect controls the flow of money completely: both its distribution at the outset, and the ongoing flow throughout the process.

3. The architect assumes legal responsibility for the actual construction.

4. The architect ensures that the building is designed on the site and is checked an understood by all relevant people -- clients and nearby community -- while it is being formed.

5.  The involvement of users in the process is necessary -- and widespread.

6.  The architect undertakes to work directly with subcontractors, and to take direct control over their activities.

7.  The architect is leader and artist -- but without pride.  He or she retains the right to refuse user requests, not based on the architect's ego, but in cases where his (her) grasp of the problem is demonstrably greater.

8.  Every architect must be able to work as an engineer at a modest level.  Engineering is part of architecture, and building is conceived while being engineered.

9.  The architect makes a profound commitment to find out -- and to perceive -- what the life of the site requires, and then to do just that thing that brings most life to the surroundings.  Thus to make each building small in importance in relation to the life of the surrounding world which it

10.  The architect must recognize that process, not design, is the crux, and that the beauty and functional harmony of the building comes from a thousand small steps, taken one at a time, while the building is being designed, through the use of models, and then while the building is actually being made.

11.  The architect must try to develop a conscious awareness that every part of the world -- air, stone, room, building --everything that is made in a building has its life, and that it is the extent of this life, judged in ordinary terms, that is the ultimate criterion for success or failure.

12.  The architect is committed to make only buildings that are deeply and genuinely liked.  Above all, a commitment by the architect to make only a work which he, or she, can genuinely love.

13.  The architect recognizes the importance of variety, and refuses to produce artificial or mechanical repetition, whether in components, or houses, or offices, or office furniture, or windows.

14.  The architect is committed to daily work and experimentation with techniques of making, forming, fabrication, and construction, with an understanding that new methods of building are essential to the creation of harmony and beauty.

15.  The architect will recognize that the life of the construction workers, and their spiritual evolution, is as important as that of the architects.  This is not only done for obvious moral reasons, but because of an understanding that the life of buildings will never be profound or worthwhile unless this goal is achieved.

16.  The architect acknowledges that all building is essentially a religious process.  This does not mean that it is attached to any one particular religion.  It means that the ultimate object of the work of building is to make a gift to God.  And that the ultimate purpose of the work is to reach a level of art in which the inner nature of things -- the universe -- and God -- stand revealed.
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