We are on the threshold of a new way of thinking about, learning, and practicing architecture. Ready to abandon design based on often-irrelevant images for a more meaningful paradigm, we find answers in combining timeless truths with recent scientific results. These explain how architecture can re-attach itself to nature.

Unified Architectural Theory re-invents architecture by uncovering its forgotten languages. Organized in 44 sections, this book contains lecture notes and readings from a course based on Christopher Alexander’s The Nature of Order, Book 1, and using Salingaros’ A Theory of Architecture.

It chronicles research results that can change our built environment for the better. Unified Architectural Theory is an innovative approach to the basis of architecture, permitting individual students and architects to assert their creativity in pursuing adaptive and sustainable design.

Aerial view shows long dark areas which constitute the pols. Very high population densities prevail here, with 10,000 people in Mandvi Pol alone.
Aerial view shows long dark areas which constitute the pols. Very high population densities prevail here, with 10,000 people in Mandvi Pol alone.

Chapter Online

Chapter in Book

Course Week

 

Page

Translations

     

Introduction

         
 

1

 

PREFACE

11

  ES PT ZH
8. A

2

 

A Biological Understanding of Architecture (Extract from an essay in Katarxis No. 3, September 2004.)

15

       
     

Part One: The Course Lectures and Readings

         
 

3

 

Introduction to the Course

18

       

1.

4

1st

The Structure of Architectural Theories

21

       

2. A+B

5

 

Architectural Theory, Parts 1, 2 (Extracts from Anti-­‐Architecture and Deconstruction (Umbau-­‐Verlag, Solingen, 2008)1

26

  ES  PT  ZH 
 

6

 

Integrated Science and The Coming Century of The Environment (Edward O. Wilson, Science, Volume 279, No. 5359 (27 March 1998), pages 2048-­‐2049)

34

citation

ES

PT ZH

3.

7

2nd

Form Languages and Their Vocabulary

40

  ES PT   

4.

8, 37-39

3rd

Complexity of Form Languages, With Checklist

45

  ES  PT   
 

9

 

Kolmogorov-Chaitin Complexity (Meandering Through Mathematics, 23 September 2012)

51

citation

   

5.

10

 

Against Ecophobia and Towards a Human Habitat (Nikos A. Salingaros & Kenneth G. Masden, Philadelphia Society, 8 October 2011.)

56

  ES    

6.

11

4th

Degree of Complexity Measures a Form Language's Adaptivity

63

       

12

 

Building Civil Cities (Léon Krier, Traditional Building, 2005)

68

citation

   

7.

13

 

Politics, Philosophy, and Critical Regionalism (Nikos A. Salingaros & Kenneth G. Masden, Philadelphia Society, 8 October 2011)

75

       

9. A+B

14

5th

Human Physiology and Evidence-Based Design, Parts 1, 22

81

       

15

 

Evidence-Based Design (Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros, Metropolis, 14 November 2011)

86

citation

   

10.

16

6th

Biophilia: Our Evolved Kinship to Biological Forms

93

       
 

17

 

Biophelia (Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros, Metropolis, 29 November 2011)

99

citation

   
 

18

 

Extract from “Neuroscience, the Natural Environment, and Building Design” (Nikos A. Salingaros & Kenneth G. Masden, Chapter 5 of Biophilic Design: the Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, and Martin Mador (John Wiley, New York, 2008))

106

       

11.

19

7th

Christopher Alexander's 15 Fundamental Properties

125

       
 

20

8th

Fractals and hierarchical scaling

131

       
 

21

9th

Organized complexity and a model that estimates life in architecture

136

       
 

22

10th

Wholeness and geometrical coherence

142

       
 

23

 

The Transformation of Wholes (Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros, Metropolis, 13 April 2012)

147

citation

   
 

24

11th

Recursion and stress reduction through fractals

156

       
 

25

 

Scaling and Fractals (Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros, Metropolis, 28 May 2012)

161

citation

   
 

26

 

Fractal Art and Architecture Reduce Physiological Stress (JBU—Journal of Biourbanism, No. 3, March 2013)

170

citation

   

12.

27

12th

Ornament And Human Intelligence

191

       

28

 

Intelligence and the Information Environment (Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros, Metropolis, 25 February 2012)

196

citation

   
 

29

13th

Architecture itself as a biological system

203

       
 

30

 

Complex Adaptive Systems (Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros, Metropolis, 6 August 2012)

208

citation

   
 

31

 

Architecture: Biological Form and Artificial Intelligence (Nikos A. Salingaros & Kenneth G. Masden, The Structurist, No. 45/46 (2006), pages 54-61)

217

       

13.

32

14th

Natural And Unnatural Form Languages

231

       
 

33

 

The 1982 Alexander-Eisenman Debate (Christopher Alexander & Peter Eisenman, Katarxis No. 3, September 2004)

236

citation 

   
 

34

 

Some Sober Reflections on the Nature of Architecture in Our Time (Christopher Alexander, Katarxis No. 3, September 2004)

250

citation

   
 

35

 

CONCLUSION

261

       
     

Part Two: Course Organization and Projects

         
 

36

 

Discovering Theory from Measurements

264

       
 

37

 

First Class Project: Documenting a form language and estimating its complexity. The Kolmogorov- Chaitin complexity of each form language correlates to an estimate of its regional adaptation

267

       
 

38

 

Form Language Checklist

269

       
 

39

 

Architectural Regionalism Correlates with Design Complexity: Architectural Regionalism Correlates with Design Complexity

271

       
 

40

 

Second Class Project:

Evaluation and classification of form languages according to their geographical and

human adaptations

274

       
 

41

 

Quantitative Measures for Regionalism and Complexity: Numerical estimates according to their regional/global and natural/unnatural characteristics provide a more sophisticated model that correlates regionalism with design complexity

276

       
 

42

 

Notes for students on the framework of this course

281

       
 

43

 

COURSE SYLLABUS

284

       
 

44

 

POSTSCRIPT

288

       
     

INDEX

291

       
  • 1. Also available in French, Russian, Persian and Italian
  • 2. Also available in Ukranian