Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Commentary | Open Access

The Structure That Structures Us

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Abstract:  Christopher Alexander explored the world of built structures. He longed for buildings and spaces that touched and triggered our own psychological and spiritual structure. From his examples of spaces we experience as alive he distilled his Fifteen Properties: aspects and qualities in buildings that quicken us. As architects, we want to learn how we can create structures that embody the Fifteen Properties. Can we do so through consciously attempting to design them? In my experience of designing, we need more than a conscious attempt. We need an awareness of the goal of our designing. And Alexander himself gives us a glimpse of that goal in The Linz Café: Our goal is nothing short of designing as an offering to God. What might an offering to God mean? What might it mean as an attitude free from ideology or embalmed belief? The discoveries C. G. Jung made can help us get in touch with such a goal. Our goal is our own divine centre. Our challenge as architects is to open ourselves to the images and structures that appear on our paper or screens as we design. What is their source? Can we see ourselves in them? Can we meet our divine centre in them?

Keywords:  divine centre; living structures; original experience



© Jaap Dawson. 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.