While none of us are architects, mathematicians or computer
scientists, each of the four women who began "Our Luminous Ground" found in his The
Timeless Way of Building and A Pattern Language, words and ideas that spoke to
us in profound ways. We felt there were kernels of truth on these pages that ushered readers far beyond buildings and cities, even beyond Alexander’s own
30 years of research and study, beyond his teaching and building. And even his writing.
He spoke to us of The Nature of the Universe, another of his volumes. We found ourselves thinking and writing about patterns in all of creation and how each of us is bound, one to another, in a mystical web of intricacy. We explored and continue to explore the power of place and our place in this vast universe.
Then we read the four volumes Alexander called The Nature Of Order. I, for one, found the fourth in that series particulalry profound and posted an article here about his work.
"Many of us believe, as he does," I said, quoting the jacket copy to The Luminous Ground, "that we are on the threshold of a new era when the proper understanding of deep questions of space, as they are embodied in architecture,” (and we suggest, anything worth building), “will play a revolutionary role in the way we see the world and will do for the world view of the 21st and 22nd centuries, what physics did for the 19th and 20th.”
We four asked ourselves the question:
"What insights from Christopher Alexander’s nearly thirty years of research might be applied to support the intentions of conveners, stewards, and enablers of collective consciousness work?"
We continue to ask it. And we invite others to join the inquiry.
At the end of August, 2009, the National Building Museum announced that the 11th Vincent Scully Prize is going to Christopher Alexander for exemplary practice and scholarship in the field of Architecture. Kudos to you, C. A.
Alexander taught at the U. of California, Berkeley from 1963 and now lives and works in England. He built more than 300 structures around the world. As “father of pattern language” we have Alexander to thank for important innovations in computer science including Wiki and Object-Oriented Programming.
And for being the person who inspired us to begin Our [Own] Luminous Ground, his work represents for us and for many of our readers an ongoing inquiry far beyond our own individual patterns to better understand how each of us affects those around us. And how we are, in turn, are further created, molded and nurtured by others.