Re: Domes, Pattern Languags,
From: Thomas Alexander (
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 18:25:33 -0500
>From Thomas Alexander in reply to several notes on this topic:

        The pattern which domes violate most strongly is "structure follows
social spaces."  That means, if you need this kind of room or that kind of
a room, decide on the room first, then find a structure to fit it.  A few
people have suggested that the patterns are culture based.  I don't think
this one is.  Regardless of your culture, if you need a building which fits
in a space 30 feet wide and 60 feet long and has 3000 sqare feet of usable
space, you're not going to use a dome.  If you want to build a garage which
holds two cars and won't take up too much of your limited yard, you won't
use a dome.
        Secondly, everyone uses patterns whether they know it or not. 
Whether they use good patterns is another question.  ("Define social spaces
after finding a low cost structure" is IMHO an example of a bad pattern, as
is "big houses on bigger lots on cul-de-sacs."  "Houses should have roofs"
is a good pattern - and so obvious, I doubt you'll ever see if formally
written into anybody's formal pattern language.)

Vinnay wrote:
>>One of the really underused features of domes is that all the interior
walls are non-loadbearing ...
One could create and remove entire sets of rooms<<
        I bet C.Alexander would cringe if he read that <g>.

Mike Malone wrote:
>>long narrow houses and central atriums or coutyards are 
not appropriate for cold climates.<<
        I think they're very appropriate for cold climates such as upstate
NY.  I wouldn't recommend them for Antarctic research bases, though.  Walls
not only enclose indoor space, but they define outdoor space and bring a
sense of the outdoors in.  One wonders whether one could suggest that
windows are not approprate for "cold climates."

Another guy named Mike had said:
>>Not in "modern geodesic domedom, but circular structures (which Thomas is

citing as inappropriate for "patterns."  in older civilizations and 
especially with indigenous people's there are gorgeous (to me) examples 
of a bunch of circular structures wonderfully fitting together, defining 
spaces, etc.<<
        C.Alexander actually uses a few examples of round buildings as
containing good patterns.  I don't believe I said that circular structures
were inapproprate for good patterns.  If you need a round building, for
goodness sake, build a round building.  However, if you need a rectangular
building with well defined indoor and outdoor places, don't build a round

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