Quote o' the Week: Christopher Alexander
Posted on June 24, 2010 by Tommy McGuireFrom an article in IEEE-USA Today's Engineer by Donald Christiansen, "When Designers Should Say 'No'":
Why is it that features of a design that should not be permitted are too often overlooked? Christopher Alexander [the metaphorical father of design patterns], a professor at UC Berkeley, addressed the issue in part when he compared the difference in design by users with that of design by professionals. Design by users would be, for example, the design of early dwellings or other structures by those who would build and then live in or otherwise use them. A top priority for these user-designers would be to end up with a structure that did not give them certain specific problems—a roof that did not leak, for example. But with the advent of architecture as a profession, “self-conscious” design features, as Alexander termed them, became important, and one would then not be surprised if Frank Lloyd Wright were to design a prize-winning structure whose roof leaked badly. The no-nos of the user-designer had taken a back seat to the ambitions of the professional designers....And in other news, Fallingwater is no longer falling down.