Teaching Christopher Alexander’s Theoretical Framework in a Capstone Interior Design Studio

By Kyriakos Pontikis.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In his books “A Pattern Language” and “The Nature of Order” noted architect Christopher Alexander puts forth an environmental design theory that lays out the conceptual and applied foundation for a new way of creating living environments. Some of the key principles he proposes are “Pattern language”, “Design sequences”, “Geometry of space”, and “Building as making”. The author has built from and extended these principles in developing an interior design teaching model which aims to create environments with humane and livable qualities. This paper explores answers to the following questions: 1) What are the critical principles of Alexander’s theoretical framework? 2) How can faculty build from these principles and apply them in a capstone interior design studio? 3) How do students respond to this teaching model? 4) How can faculty apply, assess and improve this model? Therefore, the paper will present the model developed and describe how it was applied in a capstone interior design studio. The paper concludes with findings and implications, and recommends that this methodology has potential and should be developed further.

Keywords: Christopher Alexander, Humane Design, Pattern Language, Generative Design, Building as Making, Interior Design, Capstone Interior Design Studio

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.407-426. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.051MB).

Dr. Kyriakos Pontikis

Associate Professor, Interior Design,, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences,, College of Health and Human Development, California State University, Northridge, California, USA

Kyriakos Pontikis is an Associate Professor of Interior Design at California State University, Northridge. He received his bachelor’s degree (B.Arch.) from Oklahoma State University and his master’s (M.Arch.) and Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. His specialization and research interests focus on pattern languages, generative design, form languages, and sustainable building and design. At CSUN he has developed a series of undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on humane and sustainable interior design and architecture. He has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to create the Habitat for Humanity CSUN Chapter. He is a founding member and coordinator of the international organization BPA (Building Process Alliance) and a founding member and advisory board member of INTBAU USA (International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism). He is chairing the Sustainability Committees in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and in the College of Health and Human Development. He is a member of the CSUN Institute of Sustainability and a member of the CSUN Green Core Team. He has over twenty years of professional experience and is practicing both in Europe and the US with his firm “Pontikis + Associates”.


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