The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems

The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems

Hardback Center for Environmental Structure

By (author) Christopher Alexander

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 520 pages
  • Dimensions: 178mm x 231mm x 23mm | 930g
  • Publication date: 15 March 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199898073
  • ISBN 13: 9780199898077
  • Illustrations note: 124 color illus., 85 b/w halftones
  • Sales rank: 177,224

Product description

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-more sturdy, more waterproof, more energy efficient- they have also became progressively more 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 system 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 more 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, using 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 more humane ways. An innovative thinker about building techniques 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 Earth.

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Author information

Christopher Alexander's series of groundbreaking books-including The Timeless Way of Building and A Pattern Language-have illuminated fundamental truths of traditional ways of building, revealing what gives life and beauty and true functionality to buildings and towns. HansJoachim Neis is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Oregon in Portland, and the Director of the Portland Urban Architecture Research Laboratory. Maggie Moore Alexander serves on the Center for Environmental Structure Board of Directors.

Review quote

Alexander is a brilliantly thoughtful architect ... If you are interested in making change in the world, you should read this book. It shows that between a beautiful set of ideas and a beautiful end result lies a brutal battleground of people indoctrinated into different views. Resurgence and Ecologist Is the book worth reading? Yes, for being a fresh and further iteration of one of the most original minds of our time. Alexander, again, does what he does so well: in the process of adult argument, weave biology, theology, art appreciation, and geometry, plus cultural call outs from Jung to Fellini, into his tale. William L. Hamilton, Architects Newspaper

Table of contents

Preface: A New Architecture and a New Civilization ; PART I: SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF ARCHITECTURE IN OUR TIME ; 1. The Campus of Eishin Gakuen ; 2. The Crucial Importance of Local Adaptation ; 3. System-A and System-B: A Necessary Confrontation ; 4. Inner Aspects of the Two Production Systems ; 5. The Wasteland in Our Hearts ; 6. Wholeness and the Whole ; PART II: RUMBLINGS OF A COMING BATTLE ; 7. Hosoi's Dream ; 8. Creating Life in the Environment ; 9. A Pattern Language for the Community ; 10. The Construction Budget ; 11. Flags: The Reality of the Land ; 12. Symmetry, Simplicity, and Grace ; PART III: PITCHED BATTLE ; 13. Direct Management ; 14. Heavy Threats, Attempted Bribes, and Danger ; 15. Bulldozers, Teabushes, Architects, and Carpenters ; 16. The Ugly Claws of System B ; 17. The Healing Anvil ; 18. Remaining Battles in the Field ; 19. Appearance of a Genuine and Living Atmosphere ; PART IV: GROUNDWORK FOR A CREATION-SYSTEM ; 20. Awakening Our Society's Creation System ; 21. Large Scale Production ; 22. Enhancing and Extending Wholeness ; 23. Elements are Being Created at the Same Time that the Whole is Being Created ; 24. Following the Golden Glow ; 25. The Beauty of Daily Life ; 26. Recovery of Human Nature & Rebirth of Civilization ; Index