A pattern language for sacred secular places
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ÂPattern LanguageÂ is a term popularized by Christopher Alexander and his coauthors of the book A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein in the late 1970Âs. Though intended to enable every citizen to design and construct their own home, pattern language never quite caught up with those in the field of architecture, mostly because of its lack of flexibility. The core idea of AlexanderÂs pattern language was to arm architects, designers, and the common people with a tool that would empower them to make informed decisions related to designing places that would comply with their needs and wants. What architecture needs the most today is the ability to heal and invigorate. I believe that contemporary architecture lacks such places that enable occupants to connect and communicate with what is within and what is without. A number of studies have proven that universally sacred (a majority of which are religious in function) places are charged with energies that could contribute towards this process. The energies, also referred to as Âpatterns,Â are the energies unique to a place that make it special and sacred (not just in the religious context but also in the secular context). This thesis is an attempt to derive a new pattern language for the creation of sacred ÂsecularÂ places like our homes and work places which draw from the pattern lists that have been proposed in four separate instances by authors including Christopher Alexander and Phillip Tabb. This new pattern list is aimed at providing architects and designers with a tool for creating secular places with an element of sacrality without having to taking on a religious meaning.
Joseph, Melanie Rachel (2005). A pattern language for sacred secular places. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from