The Oregon Experiment. Christopher Alexander. Oxford University Press.

The Oregon Experiment Book Cover The Oregon Experiment
Christopher Alexander
Oxford University Press
December 11, 1975

After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three works which will, in their words, “lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building, and planning, which will, we hope, replace existing ideas and practices entirely.” The three books, The Timeless Way of Building, A Pattern Language, and this book, The Oregon Experiment, are described on the back.

At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it come simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were Not made by architects but by the people.

This book is the master plan for the University of Oregon, and is now being implemented at that university; but it shows at the same time how any community the size of a university or small town might go about designing its own future environment – with all members of the community participating personally. It is a concrete example of the Center’s theories and practice, showing and simple detail, with numerous illustrations, how to implement six guiding principles: organic order, participation, piecemeal growth, patterns, diagnoses, and coordination.

Christopher Alexander, winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, is a practising architect and builder, Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and head of the Center for Environmental Structure. Is also the author of Notes on the Synthesis of Form, Lynz Café, and several other books.