Before any viewers move on to glance at one of my
houses I would like to plug a book by somebody else. Its title is The Timeless
Way of Building; the author, Christopher Alexander; the publisher, Oxford
University Press, New York, 1979. This unique work explains why a driveway
or a path must curve to make us happy; why walls that seem two feet thick
make us feel at home; and why we fall in love with a roofline -- of a sagging
cottage in an orchard, for example -- that has succumbed to the charm of
pleasing decay. Such concepts are both simple and profound. Here are the
first words of the table of contents:
..."A building or a town will only be alive to
the extent that it is governed by the timeless way. It is a process which
brings order out of nothing but ourselves; it cannot be attained, but it
will happen of its own accord, if we will only let it."
...In the approximately fifty houses that I have
so far designed and built, I always wished to "let it happen". In the handful
whose roof beams and gardens I loved most, I think I got close.