Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Commentary | Open Access

Christopher Alexander As An Architectural Thinker

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Abstract:  In this commentary the author discusses why Christopher Alexander remains on the margins of contemporary architectural discourse despite his original, important, and lasting contributions to the field. Being a somewhat controversial figure in architecture and architectural theory, Alexander has occupied the status of a seminal albeit not always adequately understood and interpreted author. The rejection and misinterpretation of his ideas are due to multiple reasons, including his refusal to act and write as a standard scholar and his lack of interest in appealing to his professional community. While his attitude perhaps explains the neglect of his intellectual legacy, it does not justify it. A reconsideration of his legacy could benefit from rethinking his intellectual identity. This commentary suggests that Alexander should be approached as an original architectural thinker rather than a standard architectural academic. Thus, he could be comparable to other renowned figures of the modern era, including such influential yet often misunderstood social thinkers as Ivan Illich or Jacques Ellul.

Keywords:  architectural discourse; architecture; Christopher Alexander; modernism; patterns



© Almantas Samalavičius. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.