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The Timeless Way of Building
By Christopher Alexander
8/10 from 1 review
Categories: Architecture, Computers & Internet
Buy at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
1 review
"Real" architecture once again feeding software architecture
The few books that Christopher Alexander's has written focus on architecture as it used to be understood. When it was considered to be about building things you live, work, and play in - not stuff you then run on computers.

This book is an exposition (theory/philosophy) of his ideas for how to architect and it largely holds for software architecture. Indeed, I believe it is as much the source of design patterns in software engineering as anywhere (by espousing the concept and use of design patterns within "real" architecture).

It's not necessarily the best place to get a primer on Design Patterns or other advice on architecture - but it's not all bad and is certainly thought provoking. If you don't architect "professionally" then it's a fair "only book" to get an insight into the ideas it covers. If you do architect things or simply take an active interest - then it's a very good one to read amongst many ... much as the reading of Kant or Descartes gives "must read" value if you have an interest in philosophy.

BTW - you could view this book as the theory and philosophy component of a trio of Alexander's books. The other two then being (a) "A Pattern Language" which is a list of patterns (DOs and DON'Ts if you will) for "real architecture" which includes mini examples and illustrations and (b) "The Oregon Experiment" which is a full blown case study of building the Oregon college campus.

The other two are more "real architecture" books and if that's of interest they're good reads. Given their more practical focus, Alexander's somewhat dated context and language may however be a little less forgiving. Still, A Pattern Language can be directly practical in things as simple as how you layout your home. Feng Shui eat your heart out.
Rating: 8/10
Link to this review
Posted by Manar Hussain on Sat, 13th October 2001, 2:26am
1 review