Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Days of Reading Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language

31 Days button

Because I love to add unrequired time commitments when my schedule is busiest,

because I’m a fan of Myquillin Smith, aka The Nester,

because I’m an even bigger fan of Christopher Alexander’s  A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

because we are in the midst of moving and discussing good design and what makes a house a home nonstop these days,

I’m going to partake in The Nester’s 31 Days Writing Challenge to post on one subject every day of October. Yes, I’m already a day late, but as Myquillin’s tag line is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful,”  I’m okay with that. I will write 31 posts, hopefully all before October 31st, one way or another.

ETA: 31 posts turned out to be too big a challenge for me in one month. We are moving into our new home in one week, so I need to have a paintbrush in my hand during any free moment rather than a laptop. This series will continue though. Setting up a new house makes me all the more fascinated with Alexander’s patterns. So links will be added below as posts are written.


Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language is one of my favorite books. I discovered it on Gretchen Rubin’s website  back when her project wasn’t yet a book. I was shocked to find our little library in Moab carried it. I checked it out repeatedly, until our local bookstore found a used copy. I love this book. It’s quirky and goofy, heady and smart, dated and timeless.

Like all my favorite books, it doesn’t give you new information so much as articulate what you have always known to be true in a way that you were never able to pinpoint it. I learn so much each time I read it, not because it’s didactic, but because it delineates the ideas so that you can see clearly what makes good design. It is a revelation.

Exactly what the book is about, I’ll share tomorrow. After all, we have 31 days to dive deep here.

Many thanks to the Nester for the hosting. Visit her site for more information on the Write 31 Days series. I will link up each post in my series at the bottom of this page as I publish them. This will serve as the landing page for the series.

Have you read A Pattern Language? Is it a favorite of yours too? I’d love to know. And if you’ve seen homes or communities built with it in mind, I’d be ever grateful for a link to them!

Write 31 Days Challenge:

  1. 31 Days of Reading Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language (You’re already here. Thanks for visiting!)
  2. What is A Pattern Language?
  3. Why I love A Pattern Language
  4. Why I Chose A Pattern Language for the Write31Days Challenge
  5. Pattern 199: A Sunny Counter
  6. Pattern 139: Farmhouse Kitchen
  7. A Christopher Alexander Kitchen 
  8. How I Learned to Cook: Part 1
  9. How I Learned to Cook: Part 2
  10. How I Learned to Cook: Part 3
  11. Pattern 159: Light on Two Sides of Every Room


  1. Oh, I am so excited. I became acquainted with the book before GR, but she reminded me and I asked for a copy for Christmas. I've long wanted to collect images to illustrate some of my favourite concepts from the book but I haven't taken the time, unfortuately. This will be a great series--I'll be following!

    1. Thanks, Alana. I'm surprised there hasn't been a published book illustrating this concepts too.

  2. I think I'm lost .... but maybe it will come together for me.

    1. It's basically a design book for architects, examining what patterns in building and design lead to the best spaces. I hope this series makes it more accessible instead of more complicated.


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