Nature Unfolding

Contributing editor Katy Butler speaks with renowned architect Christopher Alexander, who has spent decades investigating the source and forms of beauty. What he has found is a pathway to God.

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Central Building of the Eishin Campus, built by Alexander in Japan in 1985

IN THE LATE 1970S, a book with the odd title A Pattern Language became a bible to me and to many of my friends. Ostensibly about architecture, it was really a handbook on how to live.

In the evenings, I’d sit under a lamp and turn its thin, almost translucent pages, looking at lists of design elements like “Cascading Roofs,” “Alcove,” and “Sunny Spot.” These “patterns” could be cobbled together to make a house.

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