The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth characters ¿ 107

Summary The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth

The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth characters ¿ 107 ✓ The purpose of all architecture writes Christopher Alexander is to encourage and support life giving activity dreams and playfulness But in recent decades while our buildings are technically better sturdy waterproof energy efficient they have also bThe purpose of all architecture writes Christopher Alexander is to encourage and support life giving activity dreams and playfulness But in recent decades while our buildings are technically better sturdy waterproof energy efficient they have also became progressively sterile rarely providing the kind of environment in which people are emotionally nourished genuinely happy and deeply contented Using the example of his building of the Eishin Campus in Japan Christopher Alexander and his collaborators reveal an ongoing dispute between two fundamentally different ways of shaping our world One sys. Why am I reading about architecture I guess I might do anything so you might not uestion that I've read this book I'm not generally much on architecture though Christopher Alexander is something elseAllow me to interject some context here The Battle is about Alexander's architecture firm's construction of the Eishin Campus a hybrid high school college in Japan Okay now to move on We'll get back to that laterAlexander makes buildings but his intellectual thrust is broader than that He's an essentialist a primitivist in some ways Alexander believes that the way we have been making buildings for this past century has been mired in what he calls System B System B is the system of designing buildings in CAD of creating blueprints and handing them off to a general contractor of creating buildings so that they might appear beautiful in the pages of an architecture magazine It is a conceptual intellectual way of conceiving beauty and a human experience a way of viewing architecture that does not find itself improved significantly by its context or by life lived within itAlexander calls his strategy of building System A And what is System A Here are a few adjectives I picked out that he consistently uses for System A Ordinary; Loving; Feeling; Reality System A attempts to root the process of building in real day to day use in the feeling of the land and in the reality of construction and life If System B fetishizes the picture the image of a building System A fetishizes the thing itself in its wholenessIt is impossible for me not to draw comparisons to the left and right hemispheres as described by The Master and His Emissary In the style of writing in the processes described System A is a revolutionary right brain attitude towards the process of creating an environmentSo what is the book like I said that it is about the building of the Eishin Campus and about System A versus System B Fundamentally the book is about a war between the two systems To a skeptic this war seems a bit paranoid in the beginning The events played out in the book do seem to bear out Alexander's description of a war though Clients are beaten up by Yakuza extortive contracts are signed to prevent Alexander's company from completing their work This is of course just one side of the story and from a party clearly radicalized and dogmatized by the experience at that Still the story is emotionally moving and impressive One cannot help but envy the deep vision Alexander must have been driven by to achieve what he didAnd why should it take so much vision The ideas seem so simple and natural and I can't imagine that anyone is as consciously invested in System B as Alexander is in his System A And yet

Christopher W. Alexander ↠ 7 characters

Tem places emphasis on subtleties on finesse on the structure of adaptation that makes each tiny part fit into the larger context The other system is concerned with efficiency with money power and control stressing the gross aspects of size speed and profit This second business as usual system Alexander argues is incapable of creating the kind of environment that is able to genuinely support the emotional whole making side of human life To confront this sterile system the book presents a new architecture that we both as a world wide civilization and as individual people and cultures can create. I read and enjoyed The Timeless Way of Building and A Pattern Language a long time ago This book is different It tells the story of one real world project After reading it I'm amazed by Christopher Alexander's passion and persistence It's also interesting to learn about all the prototyping methods he used for designing and building a school

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The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the EarthUsing new processes that allow us to build places of human energy and beauty The book outlines nine ways of working each one fully dedicated to wholeness and able to support day to day activities that will make planning design and construction possible in an entirely new way and in humane ways An innovative thinker about building techniues and planning Christopher Alexander has attracted a devoted following Here he introduces a way of building that includes the best current practices enriched by a range of new processes that support the houses communities and health of all who inhabit the Ear. The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth A Struggle Between Two World Systems by Christopher Alexander with HansJoachim Neis and Maggie Moore Alexander describes the building of the Eishin Gauken Campus in Japan One of the “main purposes” of the book is “to demonstrate that the physical ecological and the mental emotional social cannot be separated” p86 If the purpose of architecture is to provide opportunities and contexts which support and enhance life giving human situations then it must be based on a new set of operating principles p7The battleThe battle which gives the book its name is the battle which introduces these principles It's a battle against the present day mechanical viewpoint that dominate today's society p9 It's a battle for a worldview which has life well being beauty and care for the whole as its primary concepts p9 Achieving this will reuire so many changes in our idea of the world that we must adjust our idea of reality p10 The foundation of these ideas were set forth in the four volumes of The Nature of Order p16Adaptations binding things togetherFor Christopher Alexander the essence of all profound techniues of architecture is to make a world which binds things together well p16 An environment or community will only come to life if each part is a result of a careful and piecemeal processes of adaptation p19 An environment can only be made healthy and good for human life if the process mobilizes vital adaptations at many scales p24 Adaptations create freshness and uniueness wherever they appear p41 That is a huge step beyond the rigidity of mechanistic components p41 Adaptations forge a solid powerful unity that draws the whole place together just as a living organism p42 And you cannot create real adaptation unless there is a process at work which permits and encourages it p48System A vs System BThere are two archetypal systems of production p49 In system A creation and production are organic and are governed by human judgments that emanate from the underlying wholeness p49 The uality of wholeness defines what is to be done and comes into play at every moment p49 In system B what matters are regulations procedures efficiency and profit as if society itself was working as a great machine p49 Wholeness if considered is left far behind mechanical considerations that are regarded as primary p49 The two categories A and B serve to identify a dimension of great importance p49 A is used to refer to life giving systems p49 B is used to refer to less life giving systems pp49 50 Further the difference between life giving and less life giving environments can be measured by a range of indicators p50 These indicators correlate with physical mental and ecological health and the way people are treated socially p50 Certain forms of social interactions and certain kinds of positive emotional states in people have direct healing impact on human well being p51Enabling life to flourishChristopher Alexander states directly that we will not be able to make a living world unless we put in place entirely new kinds of human organization and new operational assumptions which encourage beauty health and genuine humanity to be achieved p57 The cardinal rule of A is to Always try at each moment to do that thing or take that action which increases the life in the place in the people and in their environment p59 Alexander thinks it is reasonable to say that any useful change in society must show us how to generate life how to provide the foundational conditions which will enable life to flourish p59 If the making process is dead the resulting product will inevitably be dead p60 If the process of making is living the generated forms and places will have a very good chance of being alive p60Two different worldviewsThe clash between A and B is a clash between two competing systems of thought human organization and social activity p60 The two worldviews differ about the ways human society should be organized about uestions of ultimate value p60 The effects of the clash between A and B can be found in each one of us p63 A comes from inside from the human psyche and from human culture p69 B comes from the laws the institutions of society and mass production pp69 70 The use of money to make money did produce great wealth for a few but not for most people p76Step by step whole makingYears ago Christopher Alexander introduced the phrase “the uality without a name” p86 It was “very helpful and inspiring” but “it evaporates too easily to guide practical effort” p86 We have all a “tacit obligation to enhance the life in our communities” but it is “difficult to bring it off” p91 “The largest driving force in the whole making and wholeness enhancing is the step by step process which demands that at each step the configuration be made coherent” p94 It is the “coherence of feeling and function that holds everything together” p95 “Creating wholeness is a practical matter” p96Activating and intensifying life itselfThe “need for courage is a real reuirement” p100 Courage “is absolutely necessary as a practical matter in the world we live today” p100 since it is a “battle between two utterly different views of the world and between two utterly irreconcilable attitudes towards society” p109 Christopher Alexander is not interested in “making an image of life” p116 He is only interested in “creating conditions that will activate and intensify life itself” p116 This reuires trying “to help each person reach the deepest place in their own hearts and to help them bring this material out into the open” p117 “We tend to overlook the violation of people’s feelings because it happens every day and we have become accustomed to it” p119Abstractions vs reality“The essence of system B is that it works with abstractions” p185 Plans money processes and the “reality itself is abstract” p185 “There are no feelings no truly human events only calculations ink and paper” p185 “The essence of system A“ on the other hand is that it is “real“” p185 It deals with real people feeling and “the three dimensional reality of buildings” p185 “In fact the very life and wholeness which is aimed at by system A are achieved by a relaxed state of mind” but it is “not sloppy” p195Money and efficiency“The exaggerated precision typical of system B” is “often done at inappropriate times” p195 Further and perhaps surprisingly “system A produces better uality at a cheaper price p266 Money and efficiency “drive out almost every possible way of allowing human spirit to exist” and specifically “drive out local adaptation” p267 “To increase profit there is substantial incentive to cut corners” p270 “Working in a “speed is money” approach subtleties are not possible” p307 Enhancing wholeness recognizing destructive actions“It is the creative force we as human beings collectively possess that is the most powerful well spring for the improvement of society” p382 “This reuires cultivation of a new attitude that both seeks out wholeness enhancing transformations and recognizes destructive actions” p443 “Even when we cannot perfectly define the wholeness we can distinguish those continuation which are most apt and most true” p452 “Simple beauty and wholeness heals supports and engages life” p453Profound integration“Every living entity has as its most basic uality the fact that it is somehow “glued together”” p421 When “one part of the system is in trouble or is damage other parts which depend on that part themselves become vulnerable” p421 What we “see and experience as beauty is a uality in which the world is profoundly integrated deeply interwoven” p455 A “living environment is at once physical and social in its beauty” p458Courage and loveIt is “within our power to recover the deeper aspects of human nature and work our way toward a compassionate and ethical civilization” p475 “It is possible to recover ourselves our world and a future for our children and their children — one that is rooted in profound and lasting values” p475 “We can begin now” p475 And if “we have sufficient courage we can make a difference in our lifetimes” p475 “Any one of us can do it because of love” p487 “Not love for this or that person — but love for a small spider love for the field and the individual grasses that sway as the breeze comes gently across” p487 “The most tender wakefulness lies in your heart” p488 “At every moment remain wakeful and aware of your love” p488 “It does not need effort It is already there in your heart” p488ConclusionsThis is a beautiful book full of life which touches me — deeply I could comment on the book intellectually but somehow it doesn't feel appropriate I just want to contemplate Christopher Alexander's message Yes the battle for life is a struggle between worldviews And yes ultimately it is a uestion of love — for the Earth for our fellow beings on the Earth and for ourselves