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A Pattern Language: Towns Buildings Construction

 by Christopher Alexander et al


In many modern building complexes the problem of disorientation is
acute. People have no idea where they are, and they experience
considerable mental stress as a result.


It is easiest to state the circulation problem for the case of a
complete stranger who has to find his way around the complex of
buildings. Imagine yourself as the stranger, looking for a particular
address, within the building. From your point of view, the building is
easy to grasp if someone can explain the position of this address to
you, in a way you can remember easily, and carry in your head while
you are looking for it. To put this in its most pungent form: a person
must be able to explain any given address within the building, to any
other person, who does not know his way around, in one sentence. For
instance, "Come straight through the main gate, down the main path and
turn into the second little gate, the small one with the blude
grillwork -- you can't miss my door."


Lay out very large buildings and collections of small buildings of
that one reaches a given point inside by passing through a sequence of
realms, each marked by a gateway and becoming smaller and smaller, as
one passes from each one, through a gateway, to the next. Choose the
realms so that each one can be easily named, so that you can tell a
person where to go, simply by telling him which realms to go through.