Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure — by Oyvind Holmstad December 7, 2012
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Oyvind Holmstad December 6, 2012
Further Reading:Comments (2)
Building, DVDs/Books, Presentations/Demonstrations, Society — by Oyvind Holmstad September 11, 2012
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 spirit, revealed in the field of centers. This means that beauty is seen as a fact of the wholeness found in nature and the universe.
Beauty is the manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever. — Goethe
These natural laws are not so secret anymore. Though Alexander in the beginning of his lecture says he has only taken the first initial steps toward our understanding of living structure, I believe in the end it will turn out that these steps were gigantic. If we survive as a civilization, something we can only do if we start creating living structures, not as something added on, but as the very core of a new civilization where nature and culture are one.Comments (4)
General — by Oyvind Holmstad August 10, 2012
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:
I guess you are all a little shocked now. Does permaculture really mean a state of permanent unnature? I don’t think this was the intention of our founding father, Bill Mollison. Do we have to build a new brand?Comments (7)
Building — by Oyvind Holmstad May 28, 2012
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 business about having to prove you are a modem architect and having to do something other than a pitched roof? The simplest explanation is that you have to do these others to prove your membership in the fraternity of modern architecture. You have to do something more far out, otherwise people will think you are a simpleton. But I do not think that is the whole story. I think the more crucial explanation… is that the pitched roof contains a very, very primitive power of feeling. Not a low pitched, tract house roof, but a beautifully shaped, fully pitched roof. That kind of roof has a very primitive essence as a shape, which reaches into a very vulnerable part of you. But the version that is okay among the architectural fraternity is the one which does not have the feeling: the weird angle, the butterfly, the asymmetrically steep shed, etc. — all the shapes which look interesting but which lack feeling altogether. The roof issue is a simple example. But I do believe the history of architecture in the last few decades has been one of specifically and repeatedly trying to avoid any primitive feeling whatsoever. Why this has taken place, I don’t know. — Christopher Alexander
Building, Consumerism, Society — by Oyvind Holmstad December 15, 2011
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):Comments (7)
Building, Land, Society, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad December 6, 2011
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, unsustainable, unhealthy in the long term). It also keeps re-appearing. Sounds like our economy and wasteful lifestyle? — Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros
CC Gjøvik, an example of a multilayered antipattern
The permaculture focus is on tracking patterns in nature and design, to create pleasure for ourselves and to find good examples for the world. Patterns work in a multitude of connections with their surroundings, and the more connections there are, the richer are the pattern languages the patterns are part of.
Unfortunately, although our pattern languages might have a deep poetry, not all people feel attracted to their harmony (meaning "the quality without a name"). Today’s disconnected people are attracted by antipatterns, this is because they are profitable or easy in the short term, and human nature is greedy and lazy. We are short term thinkers — in a world of competition the winner takes it all, and today’s capitalism is all about materialism.Comments (5)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad November 16, 2011
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. Or they don’t actually choose, they use the part of the force which is easiest to achieve within the current design of our societies. Unfortunately we have chosen to grow “the dark side of the force”, today growing these evil powers mainly through the ideologies of modernism and capitalism. As a result, community is almost gone.Comments (0)
Building, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad November 9, 2011
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 of Christopher Alexander
- The Sustainable Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The Pattern Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The Living Technology of Christopher Alexander
- The “Wholeness-Generating” Technology of Christopher Alexander
Patterns in the sand caused by fresh water run-off. Photo: Martyn Gorman
The 20th century was the century of ideologies, but it all ended in mindless consumerism. So obviously, ideologies alone are not the answer, although they can hold many a truth and be a tool to unite people behind a common endeavour. Still, all this is pointless if the people do not have the right tools, or even worse, if they are using “the technologies of death”.Comments (3)
Building, DVDs/Books, Eco-Villages, Society, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad June 19, 2011
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 of wholeness and life we need a whole range of tools.
When “A Pattern Language” was first published in 1977, architects immediately assumed that it was a design manual, and used it to generate some very interesting buildings. Those buildings, despite their positive human qualities, lack an overall coherence, and people did not understand why this was happening. The reason is that the Patterns provide essential and necessary constraints, and not a design method in itself. The actual design algorithm was developed by Alexander, but only many years later. – Twelve Lectures on Architecture, by Nikos A. Salingaros, page 106
Building, Consumerism, DVDs/Books, Eco-Villages, Land, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad June 17, 2011
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 presently allowed either in science, or in architecture. Alexander sees the universe as a coherent whole, encompassing feelings as well as inanimate matter. This strongly Taoist viewpoint was first developed in his book The Timeless Way of Building (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).
To some readers, this is a book on architecture written in a philosophical style; to many others, it is a book on philosophy with architectural examples. A large number of people have embraced the philosophy of the Timeless Way of Building, finding in it universal truths on how man interacts with the world. Towards the end of his life, the philosopher and teacher J. Krishnamurti enjoyed having sections from the Timeless Way read to him each evening. – Nikos A. Salingaros
For this reason another name on the book could just as well have been The Timeless Way of Living.Comments (6)
Biodiversity, Economics, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, GMOs, People Systems, Plant Systems, Seeds, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad May 28, 2011
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 enemies, when they should have been best friends. How to reunite them? Vandana gives the answer, through true community!
Building — by Oyvind Holmstad April 28, 2011
Our generation has willingly chosen to promote and build anxiety-producing buildings, while at the same time destroying what is left of life-enhancing geometries. The media is successful in convincing the rest of the world to import these designs into the remotest regions of the world, and to erase their own architectural traditions. The developing world has been sold the image of anxiety-producing architecture as the key to modernization, and as being essential for social and economic progress. – Nikos A. Salingaros, Twelve Lectures on Architecture, page161
Kigali’s master plan. Illustration: World Architecture News
Building, People Systems, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad April 21, 2011
While the corporations and the starchitects (walking hand in hand) try to sell us “freedom” through techno-utopia, using images of anti-nature-architecture as the future of sustainability, like Masdar City, we still have teachers showing us the Timeless Way back to Earth. One of them is David Sheen, the creator of the documentary film First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture. In the following movie you can see him at his TEDx-Talk in Johannesburg, South Africa, discussing the true future of sustainable architecture. This future is of course timeless, and what can be more timeless than earth, a fundamental part of human biophilia since the down of man.
Building, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Land, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Oyvind Holmstad April 6, 2011
Norway is said to be a social democratic country, which means a 50 – 50 percent mixture of socialism and capitalism. The catch is that in the end there is no difference between these two ideologies. It is like mixing water with water — no matter how well you blend them, or in what ratio, the finished product is modernism. A separation of function (and people) is one of, or maybe even the most important dogma of, modernism, with devastating consequences for human life. This separation was common in the former USSR, and is common in today’s USA.
Here we can see the radical nature of Berry’s vision. Our entire economy, our very culture of work, leisure, and home is constructed around the idea of easy mobility and the disintegration of various aspects of our lives. We live in one place, work in another, shop in another, worship in another, and take our leisure somewhere else. According to Berry, an integrated life, a life of integrity, is one characterized by membership in a community in which one lives, works, worships, and conducts the vast majority of other human activities. The choice is stark: “If we do not live where we work, and when we work, we are wasting our lives, and our work too.” - Wendell Berry and the New Urbanism: Agrarian Remedies, Urban Prospects
The artificial separation of houses and work creates intolerable rifts in people’s inner lives. - Christopher Alexander