Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rainy days: curling up with Christopher Alexander's 'The Process of Creating Life'.

Rainy day here, good day to curl up reading! So I've been skimming my newly acquired Christopher Alexander books, starting with 'The Process of Creating Life' (The Nature of Order, Bk 2). The Appendix by itself is a beautiful document. Start page 571.

Appendix title: A Small Example of A Living Process.
1/ A Radical New Process.
2/ Finding A Site.
3/ First Analysis of the Site with Rough Twisted Paper and Balsa Models.
4/ Full-Size Tests of Volume and Position on the Site.
5/ A First Sketch.
6/ Checking The Neighbors' Views.
7/ First Emergence of an Internal Plan.
8/ Extension of the Lot: The Little Plum Tree.
9/ Deeper Questions About The Feeling of The Plan.
10/ A Deeper Conception of the Living Room.
11/ Laying the House Out on the Land.
12/ Starting to Get a General Idea of Construction.
13/ Establishing Rooms.
14/ Upstairs Rooms.
15/ Analysis of Cost.
16/ Concrete Wall Details.
17/ Plasterwork Experiments.
18/ Starting Construction.
19/ The Retaining Wall.
20/ Management Agreement That Feeling Must Guide Even the Most Technical Aspects of Construction.
21/ Setting The Main-Floor Level.
22/ Excavation.
23/ Fine-Tuning the Plan as We Fixed Forms for the Foundation Walls.
24/ The Lily Tiles.
25/ Placing and Fine-Tuning First-Floor Rooms. (What in Australia we would call ground-floor.)
26/ Making and Placing the First-Floor Walls.
27/ Fixing the Living Room: Its Door and Fireplace and Windows.
28/ Remaking Other First-Floor Rooms.
29/ Completing the First-Floor Structure.
30/ Pouring and Forming the Garage.
31/ Getting the Entrance Path Just Right.
32/ Remaking the Upstairs Rooms.
33/ The Master Bed Alcove.
34/ The Kitchen Fireplace Shape.
35/ The Kitchen Floor.
36/ Plasterwork.
37/ Window Openings and Windows.
38/ Balustrades of the Upstairs Balconies and the Concrete Frieze.
39/ Front Door Steps.
40/ Planting Windows and Exterior Woodwork.
41/ Flowers in the Garden.
42/ Use of the Fundamental Process.
43/ Common Sense: An Overview of the Process.
44/ End of the Appendix on the Upham House.
Notes (Pg 632)

I do love how in the notes Christopher observes that "the San Francisco City Hall, a rather large building, was built around 1900 from five sheets of drawings - something almost unimaginable today.".

Definitely not today's red-tape, legalistic nightmare of building. I learn yesterday, that if you want to build a new house on an existing site, the regional council (no local govt. here any more, thank you Anna) requires you to demolish the old house first. That would mean living in a farm shed or off site for a year. Renting a house off site sure does a lot for housing affordability.

1 comment:

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