The Nature of Order: The Phenomenon of Life

Publisher summary

In Book 1, Alexander defines life and living structure as the necessary criteria for quality in buildings. Starting with an analysis of the arbitrariness of present-day architecture, and going to the root of functional order in the world, he proposes a scientific basis for looking at life as an objective concept that is rooted in structure. The book shows living structure in good buildings and bad, human artifacts, and natural systems, and discusses the presence of the same living order in all systems. It is proposed that living structure, or living order, depends on features which make a close connection with the human self. This way of regarding living structures makes them amenable to empirical treatment. The quality of works of art, artifacts, and buildings is defined, not merely in terms of living structure, but also in their capacity to affect human growth and human well-being. 


Christopher Alexander