A Pattern Language

by Christoper Alexander

We begin with that part of the language which defines a town or community. These patterns can never be "designed" or "built" in one fell swoop- but patient piecemeal growth, designed in such a way that every individual act is always helping to create or generate these larger global patterns, will, slowly and surely, over the years, make a community that has these global patterns in it.

Do what you can to establish a world government, with a thousand independent regions, instead of countries.
1 Independent Regions

With each region work toward those regional policies which will protect the land and mark the limits of the cities.
2 The Distribution of Towns
3 City Country Fingers
4 Agricultural Valleys
5 Lace of Country Streets
6 Country Towns
7 The Countryside

Through city policies, encourage the piecemeal formation of those major structures which define the city.
8 Mosaic of Subcultures
9 Scattered Work
10 Magic of the City
11 Local Transport Areas

Build up these larger city patterns from the grass roots, through action essentially controled by two levels of self-governing communities, which exist as physica;;y identifiable places.
12 Community of 7000
13 Subculture Boundary
14 Identifiable Neighbourhood
15 Neighbourhood Boundary

Connect communities to one another by encouraging the growth of networks.
16 Web of Public Transportation
17 Ring Roads
18 Network of Learning
19 Web of Shopping
20 Mini-Buses

Establish community and neighborhood policy to control the character of the local environment according to the following fundamental principles.
21 Four-Story Limit
22 Nine Percent Parking
23 Parallel Roads
24 Sacred Sites
25 Access to Water
26 Life Cycle
27 Men and Women

Both in the neighborhoods and the communities, and in between them, in the boundaries, encourage the formation of local centers.
28 Eccentric Nucleus
29 Density Rings
30 Activity Nodes
31 Promenade
32 Shopping Street
33 Night Life
34 Interchange

Around these centers, provide for the growth of housing in the form of clusters, based on face-to-face human groups.
35 Household Mix
36 Degrees of Publicness
37 House Cluster
38 Row Houses
39 Housing Hill
40 Old People Everywhere

Between the house clusters, around the centers, and especially in the boundaries between neighborhoods, encourage the formation of work communities;
41 Work Community
42 Industrial Ribbon
43 University as a marketplace
44 Local Town Hall
45 Necklace of Community Projects
46 Market of Many Shops
47 Health Center
48 Housing Inbetween

Between the house clusters and work communities, allow the local road and path network to grow informally, piecemeal.
49 Looped Local Roads
50 T Junctions
51 Green Streets
52 Network of Paths and Cars
53 Main Gateways
54 Road Crossing
55 Raised Walk
56 Bike Paths and Racks
57 Children in the City

In the communities and neighborhoods, provide public open land where people can relax, run shoulders and renew themselves.
58 Carnival
59 Quiet Backs
60 Accessible Green
61 Small Public Squares
62 High Places
63 Dancing in the Street
64 Pools and Streams
65 Birth Places
66 Holy Ground

In each house cluster and work community, provide the smaller bits of common land, to provide for local versions of the same needs.
67 Common Land
68 Connected Play
69 Public Outdoor Room
70 Grave Sites
71 Still Water
72 Local Sports
73 Adventure Playground
74 Animals

Within the framework of the common land, the clusters, and the work communities encourage transformation of the smallest independent social institutions: the families, workgroups, and gathering places. the family, in all its forms.
75 The Family
76 House for a Small Family
77 House for a Couple
78 House for One Person
79 Your Own Home

The workgroups, including all kinds of workshops and offices and even children's learning groups.
80 Self-Governing Workshops and Offices
81 Small Services without Red Tape
82 Office Connections
83 Master and Apprentices
84 Teenage Society
85 Shopfront Schools
86 Children's Home

The local shops and gathering places.
87 Individually Owned Shops
88 Street Café
89 Corner Grocery
90 Beer Hall
91 Traveller's Inn
92 Bus Stop
93 Food Stands
94 Sleeping in Public

We now start that part of the language which gives shape to groups of buildings, and individual buildings, on the land, in three dimensions. These are the patterns which can be "desiged" or "built"- the patterns which define the indivual buildings and the space between buildings; where we are dealing for the first time with patterns that are under the control of individuals or small groups of individuals, who are able to build the patterns all at once.

Layout the overall arrangement of a group of buildings: the height and nuber of these buildings, the enterances to the site, main parking areas, and lines of movement through the complex.
95 Building Complex
96 Number of Stories
97 Shielded Parking
98 Circulation Realms
99 Main Building
100 Pedestrian Street
101 Building Thoroughfare
102 Family of Entrances
103 Small Parking Lots

Fix the position of individual buildings on the site, within the complex, one by one, according to the nature of the site, the trees, the sun: this is oneof the most important moments in the language.
104 Site Repair
105 South Facing Outdoors
106 Positive Outdoor Space
107 Wings of Light
108 Connected Buildings
109 Long Thin House

Within the buildings' wings, lay out the entrances, the gardens, courtyards, roofs, and terraces: shape both the volume of the buildings and the volume of the space between the buildings at the same time- remembering that indoor space and outdoor space, yin and yang, must always get their shape together.
110 Main Entrance
111 Half-hidden Garden
112 Entrance Transition
113 Car Connection
114 Hierarchy of Open Space
115 Courtyards which Live
116 Cascade of Roofs
117 Sheltering Roof
118 Roof Garden

When the major parts of buildings and the outdoor areas have been given their rough shape, it is the right time to give more detailed attention to the paths and squares between the buildings.
119 Arcades
120 Paths and goals
121 Path Shape
122 Building Fronts
123 Pedestrian Density
124 Activity Pockets
125 Stair Seats
126 Something roughly in the Middle

Now, with the paths fixed, we come back to the buildings: within the various wings of any onebuilding, work out the fundamental gradients of space, and decide how the movement will connect the spaces in the gradients.
127 Intimacy Gradient
128 Indoor Sunlight
129 Common Areas at the Heart
130 Entrance Room
131 The Flow through Rooms
132 Short Passages
133 Staircase as a Stage
134 Zen View
135 Tapestry of Light and Dark

Within the framwork of the wings and their internal gradients of space and movement, define the most important areas and rooms. First, for a house.
136 Couple's Realm
137 Childrens Realm
138 Sleeping to the East
139 Farmhouse Kitchen
140 Private Terrace on the Street
141 A Room of One's Own
142 Sequence of Sitting Spaces
143 Bed Cluster
144 Bathing Room
145 Bulk Storage

Then the same for offices, workshops, and public buildings.
146 Flexible Office Space
147 Communal Eating
148 Small Work Groups
149 Reception Welcomes You
150 A place to Wait
151 Small Meeting Rooms
152 Half-Private Office

Add those small outbuildings which must be slightly independent from the main structure, and put in the access from the upper stories to the street and gardens.
153 Rooms to Rent
154 Teenager's Cottage
155 Old Age Cottage
156 Settled Work
157 Home Workshop
158 Open Stairs

Prepare to knit the inside of the building to the outside, by treating the edge between the two as a place in its own right, and making human details there.
159 Light on two sides of every Room
160 Building Edge
161 Sunny Place
162 North Face
163 Outdoor Room
164 Street Windows
165 Opening to the Street
166 Gallery Surround
167 Six-Foot Balcony
168 Connection to the Earth

Decide on the arrangement of the gardens, and the places in the gardens.
169 Terraced Slope
170 Fruit Trees
171 Tree Places
172 Garden Growing Wild
173 Garden Wall
174 Trellised Walk
175 Greenhouse
176 Garden Seat
177 Vegetable Garden
178 Compost

Go back inside the building and attatch the necessary minor rooms and alcoves to complete the main rooms.
179 Alcoves
180 Window Place
181 The Fire
182 Eating Atmosphere
183 Workspace Enclosures
184 Cooking Layout
185 Sitting Circle
186 Communal Sleeping
187 Marriage Bed
188 Bed Alcove
189 Dressing Room

Fine tune the shape and size of rooms and alcoves to make them precise and buildable.
190 Ceiling Height Variety
191 The Shape of Indoor Space
192 Windows Overlooking Life
193 Half-Open Wall
194 Interior Windows
195 Staircase Volume
196 Corner Doors

Give all the walls some depth, wherever there are to be alcoves, windows, shelves, closets or seats.
197 Thick Walls
198 Closets Between Rooms
199 Sunny Counter
200 Open Shelves
201 Waist-High Shelf
202 Built-In Seats
203 Child Caves
204 Secret Places

The last part of the language, tells how to make a buildable building, directly from this rough scheme of space, and tells you how to build it, in detail.

Before you lay out structural details, establish a philosphy of structure which will let the structure grow directly from your plans and your conception of the buildings.
205 Structure Follows Social Spaces
206 Efficient Structure
207 Good Materials
208 Gradual Stiffening

Within this philosphy of structure, on the basis of the plans which you have made, work out the complete strutural layout; this is the last thing you do on paper, before you actually start to build.
209 Roof Layout
210 Floor and Ceiling Layout
211 Thickening the Outer Walls
212 Columns at the Corners
213 Final Column Distribution

Put the stakes in the ground to mark the columns on the site, and start erecting the main frame of the building according to the layout of these stakes.
214 Root Foundations
215 Ground Floor Slab
216 Box Columns
217 Perimeter Beams
218 Wall Membranes
219 Floor-Ceiling Vaults
220 Roof Vaults

Within the main frame of the building, fix the exact positions for openings- the doors and windows- and frame these openings.
221 Natural Doors and Windows
222 Low Sill
223 Deep Reveals
224 Low Doorway
225 Frames as Thickened Edges

As you build the main frame and its openings, put in the following subsidiary patterns where they are appropriate.
226 Column Place
227 Column Connection
228 Stair Vault
229 Duct Space
230 Radiant Heat
231 Dormer Windows
232 Roof Caps

Put in the surfaces and indoor details
233 Floor Surface
234 Lapped Outside Walls
235 Soft Inside Walls
236 Windows which Open Wide
237 Solid Doors with Glass
238 Filtered Light
239 Small Panes
240 Half-inch Trim

Build outdoor details to finish the outdoors as fully as the indoor spaces.
241 Seat Spots
242 Front Door Bench
243 Sitting Wall
244 Canvas Roofs
245 Raised Flowers
246 Climbing Plants
247 Paving with Cracks between the Stones
248 Soft Tile and Brick

Complete the buildings with ornament and light and color and your own things.
249 Ornament
250 Warm Colors
251 Different Chairs
252 Pools of Light
253 Things from Your Life