Book Review: The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth

 

The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth by Christopher Alexander with HansJoachim Neis and Maggie Moore Alexander

This book is presented as a revolutionary vision of the human environment, proposing that ultimately people will approach the built environment as understood to be a necessary part of our emotional and social life. A chronicle of the design and construction of the Eishin Campus in Japan in the 1980s is used to illustrate the stark differences between our current approach to design and construction and that which Christopher Alexander argues will be a more human-centered and holistic approach to architecture. Note: The book is out of print, so you will need to purchase a used copy.

“You won’t find the word ‘lean’ once in this book, yet people familiar with lean practices will find a familiar approach to the design and construction of the Eishin campus. Practices similar to Target Value Costing, drawing planning and design expertise from craftspeople, and hands-on experimentation may have you thinking Christopher Alexander and his team were practitioners of lean design. Architects in particular should read this book. Accepting that Alexander’s approach is far closer to a lean design approach than current architectural practice architects will see lean as expanding opportunities for creativity and better design.” – Tom Richert

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