On the left, an over-concentration of large-sale components; on the right, a more resilient distributed network of nodes.
On the left, an over-concentration of large-sale components; on the right, a more resilient distributed network of nodes. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Distribution of inter-connected elements across several scales.
Distribution of inter-connected elements across several scales. © Nikos A. Salingaros
A complex resilient system coordinates its multi-scale response to a disturbance on any single scale.
A complex resilient system coordinates its multi-scale response to a disturbance on any single scale. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Energy-wasting glass box from the 1960s compared to a new LEED-certified curtain-wall building.
Energy-wasting glass box from the 1960s compared to a new LEED-certified curtain-wall building.: Spot the difference? The trouble is, (paraphrasing Albert Einstein) we cannot solve problems with the same basic typologies that created them. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Cities built using a form language whose dominant feature is to maximize the consumption of fossil fuels.
Cities built using a form language whose dominant feature is to maximize the consumption of fossil fuels.: Though a successful economic development strategy during the “oil-interval” era, it has left us with a looming catastrophe. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Curiously, after one century of unfettered design experiments, the Modernist form language evolves back to the traditional glass box.
Curiously, after one century of unfettered design experiments, the Modernist form language evolves back to the traditional glass box. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Ethiopian silver ceremonial cross, carried in liturgical processions, represents a mathematically sophisticated fractal
Ethiopian silver ceremonial cross, carried in liturgical processions, represents a mathematically sophisticated fractal: Was Loos implying that observers of such millennial religious practices the world over — dependent as they are upon ornamented ritual, artifacts, chant, music, and dance — are no better than "criminals"? © Nikos A. Salingaros
On the left, mass-produced Art Nouveau silver jewelry box by P. A. Coon, 1908. On the right, hand-made Machine Aesthetic silver teapot by C. Dresser, 1879. The machine aesthetic was an artistic metaphor of “modernity” chosen by Loos — not a true functiona
On the left, mass-produced Art Nouveau silver jewelry box by P. A. Coon, 1908. On the right, hand-made Machine Aesthetic silver teapot by C. Dresser, 1879. The machine aesthetic was an artistic metaphor of “modernity” chosen by Loos — not a true functiona: Some holes were evident in Adolf Loos’ theories, even at the time they were written © Nikos A. Salingaros
“The cube ate the flower:” how the machine aesthetic devoured all other form languages, from “Architecture for Beginners” by Louis Hellman, 1994.
“The cube ate the flower:” how the machine aesthetic devoured all other form languages, from “Architecture for Beginners” by Louis Hellman, 1994. © Nikos A. Salingaros
The form language of nature is not mechanical in the “modern” sense. The only known exception: Donald Duck discovers square eggs, from “Lost in the Andes” by Carl Barks, 1948.
The form language of nature is not mechanical in the “modern” sense. The only known exception: Donald Duck discovers square eggs, from “Lost in the Andes” by Carl Barks, 1948. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Is this ornamental embroidery? Actually, a fractal antenna which, when miniaturized, makes cell phone reception possible. There is an important role here for functionalism, understood in a much deeper sense.
Is this ornamental embroidery? Actually, a fractal antenna which, when miniaturized, makes cell phone reception possible. There is an important role here for functionalism, understood in a much deeper sense. © Nikos A. Salingaros
The Alhambra in Spain incorporates, to a remarkable degree, all of the geometric properties of resilience discussed herein. It has endured since the 14th century, and is still widely regarded as one of the world’s beloved treasures.
The Alhambra in Spain incorporates, to a remarkable degree, all of the geometric properties of resilience discussed herein. It has endured since the 14th century, and is still widely regarded as one of the world’s beloved treasures. © Oleg Grabar via www.livingneighborhoods.org
Three examples of naturally-occurring resilient geometries in nature
Three examples of naturally-occurring resilient geometries in nature: eft, the structure of wood fibers; center, the diffraction scattering pattern from a beryllium atom; and right, a self-organizing pattern of magnetic domains in cobalt. All three examples demonstrate the geometries of resilience: differentiated symmetries, web-networks, fractal scaling, and self-organizing groupings. © Christopher Alexander, from The Nature of Order I (pp. 256, 266, 288)
[The] network structure has profound economic implications.
[The] network structure has profound economic implications.: (L) Hundreds of thousands of gated communities and privatized pseudo-public spaces have arisen around the world, such as this isolated, car-dependent community in Argentina. (R) Contrast the continuous open, walkable network of great cities like Rome, shown in the famous Nolli plan.  © (photograph) Alex Steffler, Wikimedia
Figure 1. The beautiful structure of fractals, patterns that are repeated and sometimes rotated or otherwise transformed at different scales
Figure 1. The beautiful structure of fractals, patterns that are repeated and sometimes rotated or otherwise transformed at different scales: Left, a natural example of ice crystals. Right, a computer-generated fractal coral reef that, helped by color and shading effects, could be mistaken for a natural scene. © schnobby at wikimediacommons (left), prokofiev at wikimediacommons (right)
Figure 2. The fractal pattern of self-organizing urbanism.
Figure 2. The fractal pattern of self-organizing urbanism.: On the left is a simple fractal pattern called a “Cantor Gasket”. On the right is a much more complex and irregular pattern with recognizably similar fractal properties, a traditional urban neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Notice the similar patterning at different scales of bordering spaces and alternating patterns of indoor-outdoor space. © rawing by Nikos A. Salingaros (left), Image: G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress (right)
Figure 3. The pedestrian networks of medieval Rome have a fractal structure
Figure 3. The pedestrian networks of medieval Rome have a fractal structure: Extending into the buildings and even the rich ornamental details of the buildings themselves. These “place networks” offer pedestrians a dense and overlapping set of choices of movement, views, and other enriching experiences. © Michael Mehaffy
Figure 4. On the left is the highly fractal structure of urbanism in Bruges, Belgium. On the right, a much more sparse, fractal-free environment in the modern suburbs of Bruges — which is also far less walkable, and has other negative impacts.
Figure 4. On the left is the highly fractal structure of urbanism in Bruges, Belgium. On the right, a much more sparse, fractal-free environment in the modern suburbs of Bruges — which is also far less walkable, and has other negative impacts. © Michael Mehaffy
Figure 5. Some essential properties of fractals
Figure 5. Some essential properties of fractals: (a) Fractal loading uses a basic scale as a carrier for other successively smaller mechanisms and structures. Far from being monofunctional and simplistic, every structure becomes richly complex and carries information on several distinct scales. (b) Longitudinal compression forms a “folded” fractal, creating a crinkled line that then generates crinkles on its crinkles. This interface can catalyze urban interactions, mimicking the non-smooth surface of a chemical catalyst. (c) Longitudinal tension and breaking along the entire line form a “perforated” fractal, here shown at its first stage. This is a natural mechanism for defining an urban colonnade and any semi-permeable urban boundary, such as a row of bollards that protect pedestrian from vehicular traffic. © Nikos A. Salingaros
 Two buildings directly across from one another on Burnside Street in Portland, Oregon, presenting very different kinds and degrees of information to pedestrians:
Two buildings directly across from one another on Burnside Street in Portland, Oregon, presenting very different kinds and degrees of information to pedestrians:: The building on the right offers information about time and aging, individual business activities, entrances, different room volumes inside, and much more. The building on the left has none of that information. Instead it has a series of panels devoid of information beyond color, and following a relentlessly repetitive pattern, but arranged in what the designers hope is an artistically pleasing way. We may or may not prefer the view on the left, over the more “old fashioned” view on the right, based upon our cultivated artistic tastes, our preference for cleanliness, etc. But when it comes to the brain’s hunger for stimulating information about its world, the view on the left offers only superficial and poorly nourishing information. © Michael Mehaffy
Can Louis Sullivan make us smarter? Corner entrance to the Carson, Pirie, Scott & Company Store, Chicago, 1899.
Can Louis Sullivan make us smarter? Corner entrance to the Carson, Pirie, Scott & Company Store, Chicago, 1899. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Three examples of transformations.
Three examples of transformations.: Left, geometric transformation of the external form of two different fish having the same internal wholeness, re-drawn from D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s book “On Growth and Form” (page 1063). Center, crystal transformed into a skyscraper loses its wholeness. The crystal’s 3-dimensional atomic lattice gives it structural wholeness, whereas the hollow building’s supportive steel framework does not extend to its volume, or to the transparent curtain walls. It is fine as a monument, only meant to be observed at a distance. Right, banana slug (Ariolimax) transformed into a Museum of Contemporary Art — an example of informational collapse. None of the animal’s complex internal structure gets transformed. The building is just an empty shell, without any transformation of its internal structure. © Nikos A. Salingaros
 Transformations of the Piazza San Marco in Venice that preserve structural wholeness over about 200 years, part of a larger series over 1,000 years as shown by Christopher Alexander in his book, “The Nature of Order” (Volume 2, page 254).
Transformations of the Piazza San Marco in Venice that preserve structural wholeness over about 200 years, part of a larger series over 1,000 years as shown by Christopher Alexander in his book, “The Nature of Order” (Volume 2, page 254).: At every step in its history, the city was a complete whole — not an incomplete set of parts waiting to be assembled. © Christopher Alexander
 Six distinct ways (among an infinite number of possibilities) of partitioning a disk to implement radial sectors, or concentric rings, or linear strips, etc.
Six distinct ways (among an infinite number of possibilities) of partitioning a disk to implement radial sectors, or concentric rings, or linear strips, etc.: In an analogous manner, we can decompose a system according to distinct conceptualizations, for example to emphasize the distribution of interior spaces, or the path structure, or exterior urban spaces, etc. © Nikos A. Salingaros
 Non-adaptive versus adaptive plans for a group of buildings:
Non-adaptive versus adaptive plans for a group of buildings:: Left, the plan is only a formal geometrical idea; right, the plan reflects typical adaptations to several distinct systems of human needs, such as complex spatial volumes, movement, definition of usable urban space, connectivity on a human scale, etc. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Human places are systems of room-like structures that span many scales — literal rooms indoors, and then more room-like outdoor spaces.
Human places are systems of room-like structures that span many scales — literal rooms indoors, and then more room-like outdoor spaces.: These systems are made to adapt well to our activities and needs (especially our need for privacy) and to be adaptable by users — we can close doors and windows, draw curtains, etc. On the right, a composite example of a typical mixed-use London street. © Michael Mehaffy
 Two places in London, not far from one another, with opposite system characteristics:
Two places in London, not far from one another, with opposite system characteristics:: Left, a “place network” that is a well-articulated system of geometric spaces. Right, a place without a network — a jumble of poorly-articulated abstract parts, with little relation to human experience or need. © Michael Mehaffy
Researchers are documenting evidence of the consequences of urban design choices on human health, resource depletion and other worrisome factors - a particularly urgent need as these models proliferate around the world.
Researchers are documenting evidence of the consequences of urban design choices on human health, resource depletion and other worrisome factors - a particularly urgent need as these models proliferate around the world. © David Evers
Pruitt-Igoe social housing complex, St. Louis, Missouri was built, 1953-1956, by architect Minoru Yamasaki, demolished 1972-1976.
Pruitt-Igoe social housing complex, St. Louis, Missouri was built, 1953-1956, by architect Minoru Yamasaki, demolished 1972-1976. © Image courtesy Finnbar5000
The Prora building on the island of Rügen, Germany was built, 1936-1939, by Clemens Klotz, one of Adolf Hitler’s architects. Now largely abandoned.
The Prora building on the island of Rügen, Germany was built, 1936-1939, by Clemens Klotz, one of Adolf Hitler’s architects. Now largely abandoned. © Giorgio Muratore, Archiwatch
A sad example of ideological, not evidence-based, design is the Corviale social housing complex in Rome, built 1975-1982 by architect Mario Fiorentino with others.
A sad example of ideological, not evidence-based, design is the Corviale social housing complex in Rome, built 1975-1982 by architect Mario Fiorentino with others.: In the face of massive evidence of its damage to human lives, defenders insisted the project was sound, but “just wasn’t implemented correctly”. © G. Parise, courtesy of Ateneo Federato Spazio e Società
Experiments by Roger Ulrich showed that a simple view out to a natural scene conveyed a range of measurable health benefits to recovering patients.
Experiments by Roger Ulrich showed that a simple view out to a natural scene conveyed a range of measurable health benefits to recovering patients.
The British Museum with its fractal hierarchies and sculptured pediment is just as biophilic as the garden in front. The two elements -- built structure and natural structure -- reinforce each other to create a coherent, complex, and healing environment.
The British Museum with its fractal hierarchies and sculptured pediment is just as biophilic as the garden in front. The two elements -- built structure and natural structure -- reinforce each other to create a coherent, complex, and healing environment.
Many of the best-loved and well-used public spaces, like this one in Oslo, contain splendid examples of biophilia, including vegetation, water, and natural forms and materials.
Many of the best-loved and well-used public spaces, like this one in Oslo, contain splendid examples of biophilia, including vegetation, water, and natural forms and materials.
Monotonous repetition is anti-biophilic. Nature never produces empty repeating modules on a macroscopic scale. Boston City Hall.
Monotonous repetition is anti-biophilic. Nature never produces empty repeating modules on a macroscopic scale. Boston City Hall. © Kjetil Ree
 Informal settlements show classic signs of self-organization into distinct components analogous to the organs of a body, like this settlement in Colombia. Similar patterns can be seen in the much-loved villages of Tuscany or Provence.
Informal settlements show classic signs of self-organization into distinct components analogous to the organs of a body, like this settlement in Colombia. Similar patterns can be seen in the much-loved villages of Tuscany or Provence. © NASA
 Time evolution of the cellular automaton generates global order from local rules.
Time evolution of the cellular automaton generates global order from local rules.
The evolution of the string of cells depends upon the previous state, beginning with the initial state. If we let it evolve long enough, the pattern will grow to infinite length
The evolution of the string of cells depends upon the previous state, beginning with the initial state. If we let it evolve long enough, the pattern will grow to infinite length
 A complex fractal structure emerges when we adjoin all evolved states of the string of cells.
A complex fractal structure emerges when we adjoin all evolved states of the string of cells.
Continuing to evolve, the cellular automaton generates the Sierpinski fractal triangle. The longer we let the automaton run, the more levels of coherent structure we get.
Continuing to evolve, the cellular automaton generates the Sierpinski fractal triangle. The longer we let the automaton run, the more levels of coherent structure we get.
A crucial result follows when we vary the initial conditions. Instead of beginning from just one black cell in the middle of the string, let’s start with the simple pattern: B-B-W-W-B.
A crucial result follows when we vary the initial conditions. Instead of beginning from just one black cell in the middle of the string, let’s start with the simple pattern: B-B-W-W-B.: The same cellular automaton with different initial condition generates an entirely distinct complex configuration.
Traditional London street showing the complex network of connections between public and private spaces — connections of movement, sight, sound, and smell.
Traditional London street showing the complex network of connections between public and private spaces — connections of movement, sight, sound, and smell.: These connections are able to be controlled and modulated by the users of the spaces (with doors, windows, gates, blinds, etc). © Michael Mehaffy
 A city is composed of overlapping, connected, evolving networks that tie together nodes and events on different physical and temporal scales.
A city is composed of overlapping, connected, evolving networks that tie together nodes and events on different physical and temporal scales. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Mutual catalysis: all elements interact, while also acting as catalysts for each other. For example, B acts as a catalyst for elements C and D yet B also interacts with A, helped by catalyst C.
Mutual catalysis: all elements interact, while also acting as catalysts for each other. For example, B acts as a catalyst for elements C and D yet B also interacts with A, helped by catalyst C. © Nikos A. Salingaros
A set of urban nodes looks neatly grouped on plan — but the connectivity is so badly designed that one has to go all the way around to get to an adjacent building.
A set of urban nodes looks neatly grouped on plan — but the connectivity is so badly designed that one has to go all the way around to get to an adjacent building. © Nikos A. Salingaros
Fractal loading adds information at smaller scales and events onto primary channels, creating a rich and efficient transport mechanism.
Fractal loading adds information at smaller scales and events onto primary channels, creating a rich and efficient transport mechanism.: Salingaros, Nikos A., and Michael W. Mehaffy. "Ch 14. The Network City" In Design for a Living Planet: Settlement, Science, & the Human Future. Design for a Living Planet: Settlement, Science, & the Human Future. Levellers/Sustasis Press and Vajra Publications, 2015. Digital Library © Nikos A. Salingaros
Where two distinct types of network meet, flow slows down to diffusion. This is where the network structure is most vulnerable — and interestingly, where living processes occur.
Where two distinct types of network meet, flow slows down to diffusion. This is where the network structure is most vulnerable — and interestingly, where living processes occur. © Nikos A. Salingaros
 The form of these cacti is generated in a series of step-wise algorithms or “computations” that gauge their fit with their environment and with each other (including genetic adaptations over eons).
The form of these cacti is generated in a series of step-wise algorithms or “computations” that gauge their fit with their environment and with each other (including genetic adaptations over eons).: We find this form expressive and pleasurable, because it has the characteristics of a deeper pattern of emergent organization. © Calvin Teo
The Red-tailed Hawk’s body is an exquisite set of computational adaptations to its environment and to the complex demands of flight — a form that we find beautifully expressive.
The Red-tailed Hawk’s body is an exquisite set of computational adaptations to its environment and to the complex demands of flight — a form that we find beautifully expressive. © Steve Jurvetson
The pattern of a nautilus is an example of a common kind of computation that generates a fractal pattern — that is, a pattern that is self-similar at different scales. For a related reason, it also tends to have a characteristic harmonic proportioning.
The pattern of a nautilus is an example of a common kind of computation that generates a fractal pattern — that is, a pattern that is self-similar at different scales. For a related reason, it also tends to have a characteristic harmonic proportioning. © Wikimedia Commons/Chris 73
The surprisingly similar bodies of sharks and dolphins, which followed entirely separate evolutionary histories separated by 300 million years — yet both have nearly identical dorsal fins and other common features.
The surprisingly similar bodies of sharks and dolphins, which followed entirely separate evolutionary histories separated by 300 million years — yet both have nearly identical dorsal fins and other common features.: The reason is that both went through similar evolutionary “computations” to adapt to the same set of forces — in this case, the complex patterns of turbulence in water. © Wikimedia Commons/Poco a Poco, Arnaud25
Why compute when you can simply use a formula? because bypassing computation rules out any adaptation.
Why compute when you can simply use a formula? because bypassing computation rules out any adaptation.: Above is the Bacardi Rum Factory, designed for Santiago de Cuba, 1959 (unrealized), architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Instead the same building was built in Berlin in 1968 as the Neue Nationalgalerie. Does it adapt to the same function, location, users, and climate? Of course not: it is an object building, detached from adapted context. This is the beginning of commodification — of architecture as “industrial packaging”. © Hans Knips
 Though overshadowed by his written work, Alexander's built work has been prodigious, with some 300 buildings around the world. Above, a title image from a 2009 exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
Though overshadowed by his written work, Alexander's built work has been prodigious, with some 300 buildings around the world. Above, a title image from a 2009 exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
Harold Edgerton's famous 1937 photograph of a milk drop transforming through symmetry-breaking, and articulating remarkably well-ordered new structures.  A very similar process occurs in the morphogenesis of living structures.
Harold Edgerton's famous 1937 photograph of a milk drop transforming through symmetry-breaking, and articulating remarkably well-ordered new structures. A very similar process occurs in the morphogenesis of living structures. © Harold Edgerton
 The transformation of patterns in morphogenesis creates high adaptivity and great beauty.  This process is fundamentally different from the processes of mechanical design -- with important consequences for sustainability, as we are beginning to learn.
The transformation of patterns in morphogenesis creates high adaptivity and great beauty. This process is fundamentally different from the processes of mechanical design -- with important consequences for sustainability, as we are beginning to learn. © Michael Mehaffy
The new model of affordable neighborhood transformation: An abandoned gas station is transformed into a neighborhood civic node through use of inexpensive food carts, planters and furniture, in Portland, Oregon's Alberta Arts District
The new model of affordable neighborhood transformation: An abandoned gas station is transformed into a neighborhood civic node through use of inexpensive food carts, planters and furniture, in Portland, Oregon's Alberta Arts District © Michael Mehaffy
Scientists have long been fascinated by the adaptive morphogenesis of organisms within ecosystems, and have recently begun to explain this generative process.
Scientists have long been fascinated by the adaptive morphogenesis of organisms within ecosystems, and have recently begun to explain this generative process.: Above is a painting by the 19th century naturalist Ernst Haeckel, who was astonished by the endless variety and complexity of such creatures.
One of Haeckel's many drawings of the skeletons of radiolarians, tiny one-celled marine organisms with fantastic varieties of form.
One of Haeckel's many drawings of the skeletons of radiolarians, tiny one-celled marine organisms with fantastic varieties of form.
A morfogênese de um trilobite, um antropode que apareceu durante a explosão Cambriana, mostrando uma seqüência de geração e transformação tipo-padrão.
A morfogênese de um trilobite, um antropode que apareceu durante a explosão Cambriana, mostrando uma seqüência de geração e transformação tipo-padrão.
Patterns provide information about a design configuration that solves a recurrent problem -- such as the geometry of a walking network, or a path shape.
Patterns provide information about a design configuration that solves a recurrent problem -- such as the geometry of a walking network, or a path shape.
An example of a simple hierarchy:  a grocery list
An example of a simple hierarchy: a grocery list
An example of a much more complex kind of language: William Blake's famous poem "The Sick Rose" -- illustrated personally by Blake and his wife Catherine.
An example of a much more complex kind of language: William Blake's famous poem "The Sick Rose" -- illustrated personally by Blake and his wife Catherine.
Essential qualities generated by a technology of life are best discovered in small human creations: not decorative, not superficial, not fashionable, but so honest as to touch the core of living geometry.
Essential qualities generated by a technology of life are best discovered in small human creations: not decorative, not superficial, not fashionable, but so honest as to touch the core of living geometry. © Alexia Salingaros
Design produced by a technology of life should embody the same qualities found in unselfconscious traditional creations, providing the same quality of emotional feedback.
Design produced by a technology of life should embody the same qualities found in unselfconscious traditional creations, providing the same quality of emotional feedback.: Cold industrial impositions in the built environment are instead products of a technology of death. © Alexia Salingaros
 Searching to create life in an artifact before the age of industrial technology leads to a definite and recognizable geometrical quality. We have gradually lost this intuitive understanding with the advent of industrialization!
Searching to create life in an artifact before the age of industrial technology leads to a definite and recognizable geometrical quality. We have gradually lost this intuitive understanding with the advent of industrialization! © Alexia Salingaros
A product of archaic industrial technology and its thinking. Eisenhower Memorial Proposed Design by Frank Gehry.
A product of archaic industrial technology and its thinking. Eisenhower Memorial Proposed Design by Frank Gehry. © Eisenhower Memorial Commission
People surrounded by products of the technology of death are so numbed by them that they cannot be argued out of that sterile worldview; they can only be awakened from this state of acceptance.
People surrounded by products of the technology of death are so numbed by them that they cannot be argued out of that sterile worldview; they can only be awakened from this state of acceptance.: Previous cultures used a technology of life for every generated structure: from their coins, to the sculptures of their Gods, to their buildings, to their cities. © Alexia Salingaros
Christopher Alexander: Judo Hall, Eishin Campus, Tokyo
Christopher Alexander: Judo Hall, Eishin Campus, Tokyo
 Step-wise: Perform one adaptive step at a time.
Step-wise: Perform one adaptive step at a time.: Here we run into a problem with modern design education, which is based almost exclusively on perfunctory assembly and composition following a “program”, and then a nearly magical addition of “creative inspiration” all at once. This is, after all, what famous contemporary architects are thought to do, following the accepted myth of intuitive genius. It is very difficult to convince a young architecture student, for example, to design with one adaptive step at a time.
Reversible: Test design decisions using models; “trial and error”; if it doesn’t work, un-do it.
Reversible: Test design decisions using models; “trial and error”; if it doesn’t work, un-do it.: Another deep problem here, revealing the inadequacy of present-day design training: how does a practitioner judge whether a design “works” or not before it’s built? The only means of doing so is to use criteria of coherence and mutual adaptivity (or “co-adaptivity”), not abstract or formal (static) design. Otherwise, an architect has no means of judging if an individual design step has indeed led closer to an adaptive solution. As far as actually undoing a step because it leads away from wholeness, however, that is anathema to current image-based design thinking!
Structure-preserving: Each step builds upon what’s already there.
Structure-preserving: Each step builds upon what’s already there.: This has been the theoretical and philosophical underpinning of all of Alexander’s (and our) work. The most complex, yet adaptive and successful designs arise out of a sequence of co-adaptive steps and adjustments that preserve the existing wholeness. On the other hand, designs that arise all at once are for the most part simplistic, non-adaptive, and dysfunctional. A trivial algorithm cannot generate living structure. And even a single step away from wholeness can derail the system.
Design from weakness: Each step improves coherence.
Design from weakness: Each step improves coherence.: Again, part of the same fundamental problem we already mentioned: how to identify the precise location where an evolving design happens to be “weak”. This can only be done on the basis of adaptivity and coherence, otherwise one risks privileging a non-adaptive component that looks “exciting” instead of sacrificing it to create an improved overall coherence. The dysfunctional Achilles Heel of many a contemporary design may make them photograph well!
New from existing: Emergent structure combines what is already there into new form.
New from existing: Emergent structure combines what is already there into new form.: As in the development of an embryo, or successive design improvements of a computer chip, a functionally complex system evolves through cumulative steps, changing and getting better and more complex and thus acquiring more advanced capabilities. We cannot emphasize sufficiently that designing from evolving wholeness will introduce features—asymmetries, symmetries, connections, new scales—that are inconceivable within an assembly approach to design.
Christopher Alexander: Interior of the Great Hall, Eishin Campus, Tokyo
Christopher Alexander: Interior of the Great Hall, Eishin Campus, Tokyo
Christopher Alexander: College Building, Eishin Campus, Tokyo
Christopher Alexander: College Building, Eishin Campus, Tokyo
On the left, mass-produced Art Nouveau silver jewelry box by P. A. Coon, 1908. On the right, hand-made Machine Aesthetic silver teapot by C. Dresser, 1879. The machine aesthetic was an artistic metaphor of “modernity” chosen by Loos — not a true functiona
On the left, mass-produced Art Nouveau silver jewelry box by P. A. Coon, 1908. On the right, hand-made Machine Aesthetic silver teapot by C. Dresser, 1879. The machine aesthetic was an artistic metaphor of “modernity” chosen by Loos — not a true functiona: Some holes were evident in Adolf Loos’ theories, even at the time they were written © Nikos A. Salingaros
 Extremely expensive hand-made welded sculpture from the Bauhaus entitled “Nickel-Construction”. László Moholy-Nagy, 1921. No known function.
Extremely expensive hand-made welded sculpture from the Bauhaus entitled “Nickel-Construction”. László Moholy-Nagy, 1921. No known function. © Nikos Salingaros.
The Bauhaus Sled Armchair D42, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1927. Still being custom made in Germany: price on July 2013 ranges from US$ 2,100.00–2,290.00 each, or a pair for 3,850.00
The Bauhaus Sled Armchair D42, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1927. Still being custom made in Germany: price on July 2013 ranges from US$ 2,100.00–2,290.00 each, or a pair for 3,850.00 © Nikos Salingaros.
 Willful and perverse denial of natural symmetries in contemporary architecture makes people uncomfortable
Willful and perverse denial of natural symmetries in contemporary architecture makes people uncomfortable: Salingaros, Nikos A., and Michael W. Mehaffy. "Do Industrial ao Artesanal: o Truque do Modernismo." publisher: archdaily.com.br, 2013. © Nikos Salingaros