Shaping The Architect-Builders of the 21st Century

The spirit, the feeling for the buildings, the possibility of using these new materials, new configurations, the possibility of creating a system of construction which people who knew nothing about building could follow, could use successfully in their own houses, depended essentially on this daily connection which we had to the design and to the building, both. It depended, in its very essence, on the fact that these buildings were, for us, made things, things understood, built, never drawn, never thought out for someone else to build… and that everything we ever knew was something we learned ourselves, in our own yard, from trial and error and experience.

 

Welcome to the Community Center. In this room we share our stories and reflections related to our own experiences of making places, as well as those of living in places that are worth remembering and passing on as good lessons for the future. You are most welcome to get in touch with staff if you have stories you would like to share.

Peppino Impastato, Jan. 5, 1948 – May 9, 1978

Political activist and Journalist Giuseppe “Peppino” Impastato died 39 years ago, targeted for his struggles against corruption and organized crime. Read more

Beauty…

Beauty is a light-hearted, easy thing, that sits on cobwebs, a cushion on a chair, a single camellia blossom hanging in the mouth of a jam jar. A man sitting relaxed, hands on his knees. A fence running across a hilly terrain, moving and waving with the up slopes and… Read more

Interwoven Meanings of the Word “Feeling” In a Living Process

Since the word “feeling” has several different interwoven meanings in relation to a living process, I shall recapitulate the different ways that feeling and living process are connected. 1. I am talking about feeling as a way of grasping the wholeness of a situation. We grasp wholeness by feeling it,… Read more

Creative Process

This picture is of the Eishin construction site — the Great Hall and the Main Gate. It demonstrates using stakes, poles, and ropes, to mark the position of the entrance street, all the time judging the shape and position of the space of the entrance street as it was developing.… Read more

The Geometry of Living Reality and Beauty

What, then, is this whole that has arisen from the buildings we have built, working together with the students and teachers and visitors who come there, working with craftspeople, walking in silent pleasure, and taking in the atmosphere. It enlarges them all. And why does it enlarge them? Why does… Read more

The Sense of “Belonging”

I believe process, deeply changed process, is the only real way for us to recapture our sense of belonging to the earth. In the course of the last thirty years of designing and building, and recording my failures and successes, it has seemed to me, more and more, that what… Read more

Bavra Story

Alexander’s first building demonstrated his quest for simple beauty in the village of Bavra, in India, where he lived after completing his Ph.D. in Architecture at Harvard. Excerpt from The Nature of Order: A Vision of a Living World, Book 3, pages 526-7. In 1961, at the age of 24,… Read more

Community Building in Action

TheBetterIndia.com has published an astounding story about five middle-school students who have repurposed plastic water bottles to make a roof for their school restroom. Read more

Our Birthright

I should like to make one last comment on the buildings I have shown, the processes, the forms. Throughout, in all this material, we touch on a birthright. Yet this birthright that I speak of, it is in the mind, in people’s minds. And it is almost gone. During the… Read more

The Geometry of Living Neighborhoods

Now, what do I mean by geometry? When we use the word geometry, we most immediately think of Euclid, of straight lines, rectangles, circles. This is a very narrow branch of geometry that deals with the mathematics of a few idealized shapes, which can be used, on occasion, to deal… Read more


1. Words: from page 453 of The Production of Houses, Alexander, C., Davis, H., Martinez, J., & Corner, D. (1985). New York: Oxford University Press.