The Nature of Order

Summary of Book Three:


Volume 3, the last of the four books to be published, is the least theoretical of the books and the most compelling from a practical point of view. In Book 3 Alexander presents hundreds of his own buildings and those of his contemporaries who have used similar methods consistent with the theory of living process. The projects include neighborhoods, housing built by people for themselves, public buildings, public urban space, ornament, colors, and details of construction innovation. Hundreds of color photographs offer concrete examples of the kind of spaces, things and buildings you can achieve when you put Alexander's theories into practice.

These photos of buildings, and the discussion of each, demonstrate exactly what Alexander means when he talks about living structure, and using life-creating processes to create beautiful places and buildings. These places are more than just pleasant to look at, and be in - they reach an archetypal level of human experience, reaching across centuries, across continents, across cultures, across technology, across building materials and climates. They connect to us all. They connect us to our own feelings.

All four books of The Nature of Order present a new framework for perceiving and interacting with our world, a methodology for creating beautiful spaces, a cosmology where art, architecture, science, religion and secular life all work comfortably together. The third book shows us -- visually, technically, and artistically -- what a world built in this cosmology and framework is likely to be like for us. Six hundred pages of projects built and planned over a thirty year period, including many un-built experiments, illustrate the impact which is likely to follow from the use of living process in the world. The book provides the reader with an intuitive feel for the kind of world, its style and geometry, which is likely to follow, together with its ecological and natural character. It closes with an assessment of the archetypal character such a new, living world, is likely to reveal.

With these examples, lay people, architects, builders, scientists, artists, and students are able to make this new framework real for themselves, for their own lives, and for their own work. Alexander gives us a feast for the eyes, the mind, and the heart.


". . . Alexander's approach presents a fundamental challenge to us and our style-obsessed age. It suggests that beautiful form can come about only through a process that is meaningful to people . . ."
       Thomas Fisher, former Editor, Progressive Architecture

"Like all great revolutionary ideas that leave lasting scorch marks on the historical tapestry of our intellectual and spiritual progress, CA's profound insight takes us by surprise with its utter simplicity and elegance."
       Andrew Ilachinski, Ph.D., Theoretical Physics; editorial board, "Journal of Cellular Automata"


Book 1:
The Phenomenon of Life

Book 3:
A Vision of a Living World

Book 2:
The Process of Creating Life

Book 4:
The Luminous Ground

About Christopher Alexander

Buy the books

Back to Home Page