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The Oregon Experiment

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  9 reviews
After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are not 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 are ...more
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published December 11th 1975 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
A slight and moderately entertaining book that is literally and figuratively dwarfed by its predecessors, The Oregon Experiment doesn't quite give the resolute conclusions that an experiment might yield. For a book that condemns the usage of a master plan, the book still functions as a prelude to the results of the true experiment. Its conclusion reads like the finish of an introduction. We know that the University of Oregon decided to adopt the aesthetic/architectural/philosophical POV for grow ...more
Oleg Melnikov
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Just finished re-reading this book. Did not compare the drawings in the book with a current map of university campus today last time..

Now I did..
It's amazing how a book written in 1973 have predicted the way a campus of the University of Oregon will expand in the next 30 years.

How they did it - six simple principles were introduced in 70s and used instead of the master plan:
1. Organic order
2. Participation
3. Piecemeal growth
4. Patterns (see previous Alexander's book)
5. Diagn
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although considered by many a flawed model for participation in architecture (including Ratti, who claimed that the lack of a mechanism to prevent apathy was its main problem), Alexander's practical approach to the use of some of his "patterns" defined in "A Pattern Language" is a brilliant micro-revolution to the way a project is dealt with it's users. Empowered individuals holding the key for transformation in a time where no internet, apps or any high-tech mechanism could be employed is fasci ...more
Richard Fabian
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: patterns-books
The book has much more insight than I expected. The Timeless Way of Building and A Pattern Language were very impressive, and I thought there would be little value in reading this book as well, but this one brings some real world examples and more reasoning about why the way in which we build is badly infected by the way we allocate money and responsibility. It's a much shorter read than either of the other two, so might be a better introduction to his way of thinking than anything else so far. ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and underrated book that proves with empirical evidence that the drawing out of master plans for cities is a road to disaster and that piecemeal growth is the correct method of development for cities. Reading this book was an intellectual treat and just left me wondering about the genius of Christopher Alexander.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it liked it
The best book I've ever read on the master planning process for the University of Oregon, bar none. No, seriously, it's an interesting case for making small organic plans rooted in real needs on the ground vs. huge splashy projects. Slow evolution > punctuated equilibrium in town or university development. It explains how campus architecture can create both dead zones and lively, social places. ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What I'd dearly love to read now is a "where is it now?" on the Oregon Experiment. How's it coming? How, in Stewart Brand's parlance, has it learned? ...more
Derek Ouyang
Mar 17, 2016 rated it liked it
A letdown after Pattern Language, but a good case study to ponder
Forum Shah
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Let me read first
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