This book presents some ideas I have explored in trying to discover the basis for architectural design. The search has led me to apply science and mathematics to architecture, which has proved remarkably fruitful in establishing new and useful results. Most architects know of the historical application of ancient mathematics such as proportional ratios -- yet it is not this type of mathematics that actually governs general architectural form. Rather, it is the more recently developed mathematics of fractals, information theory, and complexity. I have presented these results in the most simplified manner possible, to be useful to practicing architects as well as to students with very modest mathematical skills.

Each book chapter consists of one of my published papers in architecture. This collection of research articles can be used as a textbook for architectural design, or as supplementary material. Individual chapters have indeed been used in this manner in many schools since their initial publication. Their main message is that architecture should be based on principles that stand scientific scrutiny and experimental test. I present new results, so no similar treatment of the principles underlying architectural design exists at the present time. My own architectural formation is due to my long involvement with Christopher Alexander in helping him to edit The Nature of Order, so, naturally, my work is profoundly influenced by his.


Table of Contents

        ZH FA
  Preface by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales            
  Foreword by Kenneth G. Masden II            
Chapter 1.

The Laws of Architecture from a Physicist's Perspective

Chapter 2.

A Scientific Basis for Creating Architectural Forms



Chapter 3.

Hierarchical Cooperation in Architecture: the Mathematical Necessity for Ornament


Chapter 4.

The Sensory Value of Ornament



Chapter 5.

Life and Complexity in Architecture From a Thermodynamic Analogy

Chapter 6.

Architecture, Patterns, and Mathematics

Chapter 7.

Pavements as Embodiments of Meaning for a Fractal Mind (co-authored with Terry M. Mikiten and Hing-Sing Yu)

Chapter 8.

Modularity and the Number of Design Choices (co-authored with Débora M. Tejada)

Chapter 9.

Geometrical Fundamentalism (co-authored with Michael W. Mehaffy)





Chapter 10.

Darwinian Processes and Memes in Architecture: A Memetic Theory of Modernism (co-authored with Terry M. Mikiten)

Chapter 11.

Two Languages for Architecture

Chapter 12.

Architectural Memes in a Universe of Information