Oyvind Holmstad

The Man Who Started a Fire (Christopher Alexander Lecture at Berkeley, California)

by Øyvind Holmstad Jump to 12:20 to skip introductions As said in the introduction to this lecture held in spring 2011, Christopher Alexander has started a fire that keeps on burning, spread by the ‘wind’ throughout the world. But in the wake of this fire there’s no ash, but only beauty and true living structure. As in the new cosmology of Alexander, matter is not inert anymore — it has […]

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Permaculture, Nature & Civilization

by Øyvind Holmstad Workers of the industrial revolution Permaculture was first a contraction of the words permanent agriculture, later being widened to include all permanent culture. The problem is, however, that culture is seen as opposed to nature, its contradiction. Ross Wolf writes: The concept usually opposed to “culture” is “nature,” as structuralist anthropology taught us long ago. Permaculture could thus be seen to signify a state of permanent unnature. […]

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The Deep Truth of a Sheltering Roof

The roof plays a primal role in our lives. The most primitive buildings are nothing but a roof. If the roof is hidden, if its presence cannot be felt around the building, or if it cannot be used, then people will lack a fundamental sense of shelter. – Christopher Alexander Traditional farmhouse from Løten, Norway So, the question is, why not? Why does this taboo exist? What is this funny […]

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A Zen View Upon the World (Less is More)

by Øyvind Holmstad This article is inspired by the Alexandrine pattern 134, Zen View. The pattern states: “The archetypal zen view occurs in a famous Japanese house, which gives this pattern its name.” Let’s start with listening to the wisdom of A Pattern Language (Please note that the illustrations of the original text are missing):

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A Multilayered Anti-Pattern

by Øyvind Holmstad The problem is that we are adapting to the wrong things — to images, or to short-term greed, or to the clutter of mechanics. These maladaptations are known as “antipatterns” — a term coined not by Alexander, but by software engineers. An antipattern is something that does things wrong, yet is attractive for some reason (profitable or easy in the short term, but dysfunctional, wasteful of resources, […]

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Charles Eisenstein on Growing “the Bright Side of the Force”

Charles Eisenstein, the author of Sacred Economics, gave this inspiring talk to Occupy Wall Street, which is actually about growing “the bright side of the force”. This Star Wars inspired theme I couple with “the handicap principle“, which has a “bright” and a “dark” side; the selfish and the cooperative. Animals generally use just one of these forces in gathering acceptance and status, while humans are capable to use both or choose one. […]

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From Ideology to Technology

by Øyvind Holmstad Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros are running a series of essays in Metropolis Magazine at the moment, they are all published here. I’ve no idea how long the series will run — hopefully forever. Anyway, it’s time to introduce this series to permaculture people, and I’ll be concentrating on the first five essays about the technologies of Christopher Alexander. The essays on Alexander’s technologies in chronological order: The Radical Technology […]

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A New Permatecture Toolbox! (From Nikos A. Salingaros)

by Øyvind Holmstad The goal of permaculture is to reunite man with nature and man with man through design systems, and here patterns play an important role. Still, patterns can only reunite humans with natural systems and with each other, not with the geometry of the universe. Surely in what I like to call permatecture, better known as biophilic architecture, biotecture or neurotecture, patterns are crucial. But for the creation […]

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The Timeless Way of Building

by Øyvind Holmstad This timeless book from Christopher Alexander was released back in the seventies, and it’s just as much a book on philosophy as on architecture. Still, the main purpose of the book is as an introduction to A Pattern Language. Alexander’s architectural writings at the same time develop a philosophy of nature and life. He proposes a more profound connection between nature and the human mind than is […]

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Vandana Shiva x3

by Øyvind Holmstad In this interview for CSSC Encounters, Dr. Vandana Shiva gives the history of her engagement and explains the situation we are in now, facing a new fascism as corporations and governments merge. Still, she is always using an optimistic tone, in spite of corporate grabs of our common heritage, the natural world — a world caught in a system where the ecology and the economy are fierce […]

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