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An interdisciplinary debate on project perspectives

Table 2 Criticisms of Alexander’s second theory of architecture: development and documentation

From: Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: analysing, mapping and classifying the critical response

[#] Issue #A Criticism #S Source
5 Scholarship—documentation 4 The definitions of ‘patterns’ and ‘forces’ are inexplicit (Lea 1994; Silva and Paraizo 2008)
6 Scholarship—documentation 4 Exemplars of good design are difficult to comprehend (Kohn 2002)
7 Scholarship—documentation 4 The efforts and insights of scholars developing similar themes are rarely acknowledged (Broadbent 1980; Elsheshtawy 2001; Kohn 2002)
8 Scholarship—documentation 4 Explanations of pattern synthesis and language structure are inadequate (Salingaros 2000)
9 Testing
Scholarship—documentation
4 Greater numbers of patterns were never proven to produce superior environments 25, 27  
10 Scholarship—presentation 3, 4 Deliberately provocative statements damage Alexander’s credibility (King 1993; Kohn 2002)
11 Scholarship—presentation 3, 4 Universal and dogmatic statements discourage engagement and criticism (Broadbent 1980; Protzen 1980; Kohn 2002; Messina 2003; Walker 2003; Bhatt 2010)
12 Scholarship—presentation 3, 4 The canonical texts physically resemble bibles and imply authority that discourages criticism (Broadbent 1980; Dovey 1990)
13 Testing 3, 4 Patterns are driven by ideology and based on faulty evidence, or non-rigorous reasoning 23, 24, 25 (Montgomery 1970; Broadbent 1980; Protzen 1980; Dovey 1990; Salingaros 2000; Kohn 2002; Saunders 2002a; Bhatt 2010)
14 Testing Patterns may be impossible to rigorously test (Protzen 1980; Salingaros 2000)
15 Logic and reasoning 3 Informational fallacies protect the theory from contrary information and experience 21 (Protzen 1980)
16 Logic and reasoning 3 The theory’s pre-industrial procurement strategy is unsuitable for modern societies 23 (Gelernter 1983; Elsheshtawy 2001)
17 Logic and reasoning 3 Alexander espouses pure freedom but demands adherence to his rules (Broadbent 1980; Protzen 1980; Saunders 2002a; Walker 2003)
18 Logic and reasoning 3, 4 Alexander pursues traditional design through anti-traditional means (Kalb 2014)
19 Logic and reasoning 3 The populace have compromised taste due to modernist brainwashing but also prefer Alexander’s designs (Bornstein 2005/2006)
  1. [#], criticism identifier; #A, antecedent criticism; #S, subsequent criticism