Loving & Hating Christopher Alexander

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School for Visual Arts (SVA) MFA in Interaction Design dotdotdot lecture, 4/15/2009. Interaction designers and computer programmers love Christopher Alexander. Architects hate him. Why?

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Loving & Hating Christopher Alexander

  1. 1. LOVING AND HATING CHRISTOPHERALEXANDER molly@girlwonder.com girlwonder.com activesocialplastic.com twitter: @mollysteenson
  2. 2. CHRISTOPHERALEXANDER IS DIFFICULT
  3. 3. INTERACTION DESIGNERS AND COMPUTER SCIENTISTS
  4. 4. INTERACTION DESIGNERS AND COMPUTER SCIENTISTS LOVE
  5. 5. INTERACTION DESIGNERS AND COMPUTER SCIENTISTS LOVE CHRISTOPHERALEXANDER
  6. 6. ARCHITECTS?
  7. 7. ARCHITECTS? NOT SO MUCH.
  8. 8. ARCHITECTS KIND OF HATE CHRISTOPHERALEXANDER.
  9. 9. ALAN COOPER LOVES CHRISTOPHERA LEXANDER.
  10. 10. HE IS, AFTER ALL, AN INTERACTION DESIGNER.
  11. 11. PETER EISENMAN? NOT WHATSOEVER.
  12. 12. (HE’S AN ARCHITECT.)
  13. 13. ALAN COOPER PETER LOVES EISENMAN? CHRISTOPHERA NOT LEXANDER. WHATSOEVER.
  14. 14. ALEXANDER AND EISENMAN HAVE A COMMON LINEAGE
  15. 15. ALEXANDER EISENMAN
  16. 16. •Studied architecture at Cambridge •Formal logic & generative systems •Moving to the US in the same time •Eisenman hated Alexander’s dissertation •A vicious debate at Harvard in 1983
  17. 17. ―Design today has reached the stage where sheer inventiveness can no longer sustain it.‖ —Christopher Alexander, 1963
  18. 18. BART
  19. 19. (A FAMILIAR INTERACTIONDESIGN TOOL?)
  20. 20. Christopher Alexander and artificial intelligence (AI)?
  21. 21. MARVIN MINSKY
  22. 22. ―I believe…that we are on the threshold of an era that will be strongly influence, and quite possibly dominated, by intelligent problem-solving
  23. 23. SO WHY DO ARCHITECTS HATE CHRISTOPHERALEXANDER?
  24. 24. ―The biggest obstacle to improved design standards is the obsolescence of designers themselves.‖ –Christopher Alexander & Serge Chermayeff
  25. 25. ―Monument and doghouse alike bear the dreadful imprint of self-appointed genius or just plain incompetence.‖ –Christopher Alexander & Serge Chermayeff
  26. 26. IT’S ALSO APPARENT WHY INTERACTION AND SYSTEM DESIGNERS REALLY LIKE HIM
  27. 27. I’M NOT SURE WHERE I STAND, TO BE HONEST
  28. 28. CHRISTOPHERALEXANDER IS DIFFICULT
  29. 29. …BUT HIS DESIGN SYSTEMS STILL FASCINATE ME
  30. 30. AND THAT’S WHY I’M UNTANGLING HIS INFLUENCES AND ARCHITECTURE’S LOVE- HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM
  31. 31. molly wrightsteenson molly@girlwonder.com girlwonder.com activesocialplastic.com twitter: @mollysteenson
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