The Timeless Way of Building by ChristopherAlexanderISBN 0195024028From the cover ...
Alexander writes, "There is one timeless way of building. It is thousands of years old, and the same today as it has always been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way. And as you will see, this way will lead anyone who looks for it to buildings which are themselves as ancient in their form as the trees and hills,and as our faces are."
The most idealistic of Alexander's three pattern books. The other two are (in order of increasing practicality) A PatternLanguage, and TheOregonExperiment.
In my opinion it is not the truth that architecture should be planned in accordance with natural patterns,
but that emergent constructs, such as governments, are the result of a shared pattern language.
''Perhaps your concept of natural patterns needs to extend to the human
environment as well. Social space is as real as physical space.'' -- AnonymousDonor
A related reference is HowBuildingsLearn by StewartBrand. He acknowledges his debt to Alexander (and many others). The book covers the way in which buildings are adapted by users after the architect has left (if there ever was one) and describes three approaches to building:
the HighRoad - "durable independent buildings that steadily accumulate experience and become in time wiser and more respected than their inhabitants"
the LowRoad - "swift responsiveness to their occupants. They are unrespectable, mercurial, street smart"