This is the first of a series of articles about
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander where we illustrate and discuss
the patterns using homes and buildings made from natural materials
like stone, clay, wood and straw. These materials are themselves one of the patterns, namely No.207
'Good (natural) Materials'. As with Alexander's book you will find links
to other patterns the pictures illustrate. At first not all patterns will be linked to
other articles but to illustrations of the patterns on our facebook album
Pattern Language of Natural Homes' which is also available as a
for your blog or website. Enjoy the creativity of
natural builders past and present and admire the architectural observations of
The most primitive of
buildings are little more than a roof. If the roof cannot be felt visually around
the home it doesn't satisfy the psychological need for shelter. The roof
shelters if it embraces, covers and surrounds the process of living.
advice is to make the entire surface of the roof visible, bring the eaves low to
about 6’6” (2m) where people gather, like entrances and seats and build the top
storey of the building right into the roof.
This beautiful home (right) is a rubble stone lime mortar
thatched cottage in
Hamlet near Bristol, England. It was designed by John Nash, a master of the
picturesque architectural style and designer of a very famous house in London,
namely Buckingham Palace. The
cottage, along with the rest of the hamlet, is owned by the UK's National Trust.
The home also demonstrates other external patterns making it
attractive such as No.116 'Cascade of Roofs',
Panes', No.242 'Front Door Bench' and No.231 'Dormer Windows'.
A roof which is merely a pitched roof placed on
top of the living space will not touch you emotionally,
home built by
Simon Dale does. Simon's home in Wales illustrates how the
roof is an integral part of the of the volume of the building. The
degree of integration is demonstrated by trying to draw a horizontal
line across the facade of the building, which in this case, and
the cottage above, is impossible.
In both Simon's home and the
above, the roof is a major visual part of the building
when seen from a distance, another test of a successful sheltering
roof. In both homes it is possible to touch the roof easily at
the entrance to the home.
Simon's home also demonstrates other patterns making it
attractive such as
No.112, ‘Entrance Transition’, No.76, 'House for a Small
No.168, ‘Connection to the Earth’,
No.118, 'Roof Garden', No.160. 'Building Edge' and No.172,
'Garden Growing Wild' with many others internally.