Hajo Neis, “Battle for Life and Beauty of the Earth: Urban Architecture and (Re)Generative Process” (web video) | April 14, 2014 | U. Oregon

Hajo Neis, co-author with Christopher Alexander on his 2012 book, lectured on experiences not only with the Eishin Campus in Japan in 1985, but also other works.
Hajo Neis

In this lecture Neis will report about the recently published book ‘Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth’ by Christopher Alexander, Hans Joachim Neis and Maggie Alexander, in which the authors present “a revolutionary vision for the human environment: in coming eras, the environment will be conceived, designed, made, and widely understood as a necessary part of our emotional and social life.” But the book also addresses a major problem in the production of today’s human environment, or the kind of problems you can encounter when you try to implement essential principles for a human and beautiful architecture in large-scale projects. The book can best be understood as an excellent example of the fascinating interplay between theory and practice, between thinking and making, with a deep concern for human life and the environment, and a battle worth fighting. Neis will show several more projects closely related to the book and its main topic and theme and the University of Oregon.

Below is some of the text from the slides.

[06:40] “Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth”, Urban Architecture and Re(Generative) Process, by Hajo Neis, Ph.D., Contents

  • Part A
    • 1. Urban Architecture – Portland
    • 2. BOOK: Battle for Life and Beauty of the Earth
    • 3. (Urban) Theory Part 1:  Generative Design Patterns and Pattern Language
    • 4. Project 1:  Eugene Campus (Agate and Amazon)
    • 5. Project 2:  Portland Campus – White Stag
    • 6. Project 3:  Eishin Campus – Tokyo
    • 7. Project 4:  Frankfurt Hoechst I
    • 8. Project 5:  Julian Inn – San Jose
  • Part B
    • (Urban) Theory Part II:  Dynamic Generative Process
    • 10. San Francisco Waterfront Project – Transbay Terminal
    • 11 Project 6:  Frankfurt Hoescht II
    • 12. Project 7: New University of Oregon Portland
    • 13. Project 8: Guasare New Town, Venezuela
    • 14. Project 9: Emoto Apartment Building – Tokyo
    • 15. Conclusion-Outlook:  Theory Part III Generative Code
    • Thank you

[9:33] Architect Prof. Christopher Alexander, Winner of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2014

[10:46] Beauty, Sustainability, Social Justice, Urban Life

[11:21] Battle, p. 2

  • “The purpose of all architecture, the purpose of its spatial-geometric organization, is to provide opportunities for life-giving situations. The central issue of architecture, and its central purpose, is to create those configurations and social situations, which provide encouragement and support for life-giving comfort and profound satisfaction — sometimes excitement — so that one experiences life as worth living.  When this purpose is forgotten or abandoned, then there is indeed no architecture to speak of.”

[13:31] Battle cover jacket

  • “Achieving this vision will require an intensive lengthy global Battle between two production systems, System-B, the dominant production system today, seeks to profit from development and produce structures, through unfeeling mechanical procedures that destroy opportunities for joy and human satisfaction.  System-A, the alternative, allows meaning to be built-up progressively by benign, modest steps in the careful nurturing of our physical world.”

[14:40] Review – A Pattern of Abuse

[17:42] Why did it take so many years to finish the book Battle?

[19:39] “The Ordinary Way” – Early book title, 1983

  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • 1. The contact
  • 2. The pattern language
  • 3. The site plan
  • 4. The << handwriting illegible >>
  • 5. Materials of construction
  • 6. Design of buildings
  • 7. Breaking ground
  • 8. The construction process
  • 9. First years in use

[20:14]  First pages of the book “The Ordinary Way”, 1983

  • The new Eishin university is a university entirely dedicated to the problem of the community and local autonomy.
  • It is founded on the simple belief that one great period of human society just ended, and that another is just beginning.
  • What they may call the modern age began at about the end of the fifteenth century.  We believe that is has ended about 1980, and that the last part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, an entirely new age will be created.
  • A new age, in which new methods of production, and new human relationships will form the basis of society, is now about to begin.  One of the central ideas in the formation of this new age is the idea of local autonomy and local control.
  • This idea may be summarized in the German work “Gemeinschaft“.  It is also summarized by the old meaning of the Russian “soviet” even though this word even though this word has been entirely destroyed by its connection with 20th century Russian communism, and is described by some degree by the English word community.  All these concepts refer to a type of human group, in which personal relations and personal identification of people within the society form the basic interaction and also most important for the definition of the individual self.
  • However, the concept of Gemeinschaft is defined more succinctly by the inner idea of the world which people carry with them, and by the fundamental motive which guides these actions.
  • In brief, a Gemeinschaft is formed by a group of people whose actions large or small are guided by one simple principle: the idea that every act must somehow increase wholeness.
  • This single idea, applied to ethics, architecture, personal acts, family relations, political economy.  In short, to absolutely all actions and event which take place in a human society.
  • When this principle does form the basis for personal actions, this is entirely different from the situation which existed for the last five hundred years in the so called modern age.  In this recent period, actions have instead been guided by a variety of other motives, including money, efficiency, social justice and military power.  Even democracy, powerful as it may be as an idea, with its fundamental search for justice and equality, actually it fails entirely to provide the underlying motive which we may call wholeness.
  • In the same way, all forms of modern socialism, though searching for something better, have so far failed to grasp this need to see motives and human life, in an entirely different framework.

[22:58] CES List of Books since 1965

[24:24] The Eishin Highschool and College Campus in Tokyo – Japan 1984- Present

[25:46] Unpublished Chapter:  24.  Large Scale Building Production, Unification of the Human System and the Physical System

  • Published Chapter
  • 23. Elements are Being Created at the Same Time that the Whole is Being Created
  • 24. Following the Golden Glow

[28:59] Organic Tradition California – West Coast CES and HNA

  • With small and medium size buildings and projects we can create the kind of timeless quality of beauty and life relatively easily.
  • When it comes to larger projects, we can encounter a lot of problems and also opposition to the production of life and beauty.
  • We started a research project with the question:  Kinds of Production that can generate life and beauty in the world

[30:22]  PUARL

  • Portland Urban Architecture Research Laboratory http://puarl.uoregon.edu/, Hajo Neis, Director
  • Pattern Urban Architecture Research Laboratory

[32:17] Principles of Overall Pattern Language Approach

  • Meta-Principles
    • Wholeness
    • Growing Whiole
    • Wholeness and Sustainability
    • Wholeness in the Structure of the City
    • The City as a Growing Whole
    • Generative and Regenerative Processes
  • Primary Principles
    • Organic Order
    • Piecemeal Growth
    • Participation
    • Patterns and Pattern Languages
    • Structure Preserving Transformations
    • Adaptation
    • Formations of Centers and Fields of Centers
    • Formation of Larger Wholes
    • Formation of Positive Urban Open Space
    • Application of Geometric Properties
    • Application of Color Properties
    • Generative Design and Building Sequences
    • Integrated Design and Construction (Creative Production)
  • Other Principles and Techniques
    • Diagnosis and Coordination
    • Working Directly with the Building or Urban Area
    • Starting out with the Site
    • Primary Responsibility to the Building
    • Innovation through Building
    • etc.

[34.04] Portland Urban Architecture Research Laboratory PUARL:

  • PUARL Fields of Research and Investigation: Wholeness and Sustainability
    • BATTLE for the Life and Beauty of the Earth
  • Urban Morpholoogy and Urban Patterns
    • Portland Urban Atlas Project
    • Innovation City – Ruhr/Essen
  • Urban Building Typologies and Building Patterns
    • City of Tigard Downtown Vision and Improvement Project
    • Green Urban Campus – Essen
  • Design, Urban Process and Generative Process
    • University of Oregon Portland User and Pattern Design Process
  • Urban Ecology and Urban Landscapes, Patterns
    • City of Tigard Urban Corridor Project
    • Eco-Pattern Districts and Neighborhoods
  • Sustainable Downtown Growth
    • The Dalles
    • OT/CT/JT (with CIU)
  • (Re)generative Process and Design
    • Tsunami Evacuation and Wayfinding, Coastal Oregon
    • Workshop in Fukushima, Japan
    • Arthur Hotel Portland
  • Quality of Structure and Process
    • Wellness Project
  • Next Projects
    • Patterns and Sustainability/Streets
    • Creation Production for a Living World (with CES)

[37:49] Generative and Regenerative Urban Architecture and Urban Design

  • Theory, Part 1, Generative Design
  • Design Process at the University of Oregon, Pattern Language

[38:05]Regenerative Design and (Re)Generative Design

  • Regenerative Design
    • Regenerative design is a process oriented systems theory based approach to design. The term “regenerative” describes processes that restore, renew, or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.  The basis is derived from systems ecology.
    • Source:  1. Jon Tilman Lyle: Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development.
  • (Re)Generative Design
    • Generative or (re)generative design is an applied for of generative science that tries to understand and conceptualize the world and its complex structure as a generative or (re)generative process.
    • Generative design attempts to formulate limited parameters, principles, and rules that interact with each other to create richness of life and behavior, and endless variation of form, shape and place.  Here generative and (re)generative design are closely related in terms of rules and principles.
    • Source:  2. Christopher Alexander: The Nature of Order (Wholeness Extending Transformation)
    • Source:  3. William McDonough and Michael Baumgart: From Cradle to Cradle.  Walter R. Stahel (From Cradle to Cradle).  Key words:  Permaculture, Biophilia, Sustainability, Environmentalism, Resilience, Complexity.

[40:54] Re(Generative Process: Generative Architecture and Urban Design

  • 1. Pattern Languages (since ~1970)
  • 2. Generative (Design and Building) Processes and Sequences (since ~1990)
  • 3. Generative Urban Code (since ~2005)
  • Interdisciplinary Process

[41:42] 10 Large Scale Regional/Urban Patterns

  • World
    • 1. Independent Regions
  • Region
    • 2. The Distribution of Towns
    • 3. City Country Fingers
    • 4. Agricultural Valleys
    • 5. Lace of Country Streets
    • 6. Country Towns
    • 7. The Countryside
  • City
    • 8. Mosaic of Subcultures
    • 9. Scattered Work
    • 10. Magic of the City

[45:14] Composition of a Pattern from the Book:  A Pattern Language (Looped Local Roads)

  • Archetypes – Phenotypes
  • **
  • Pattern Title
  • An Illustration
  • Hyperlinks
  • Definition of the Problem
  • Main Text
  • Solution Proposals
  • Solution Sketch
  • Hyperlinks

[47:58]  [network map around 40. Old People Everywhere]

[48:43] Pattern Languages as Generative Systems and Processes

[49:30] Application of Patterns and Pattern Languages

  • Three Examples of University Campi
  • 1. The University of Oregon Eugene Campus Plan 1974-Present
  • 2. The University of Oregon Portland Urban Campus 2008-Present
  • 3. The Eishin Highschool and College Campus in Tokyo – Japan 1984 – Present

[50:58] University of Oregon – Design Procedures

  • Patterns from the book A Pattern Language
  • Patterns specifically developed for the Oregon Campus Plan

[51:57] University of Oregon, Campus Plan, May 31, 2005

[52:24] University Science Complex, Charles Moore

[52:30] Matthew Knight Arena

[52:33] John E Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes

[52:38] Erb Memorial Union, Creating a New Center of Campus

[53:17] Eugene Kiln Shelter – University of Oregon, Stephen Duff

[54:16] Agate Housing Project Eugene – CES + T&E

[56:56] Three apartment Archetypes – twenty Phenotypes

[1:01:20] The Amazon Village – 340 housing units

[1:01:31] White Stag Urban Facilities – University of Oregon, Project 2

[1:02:28] University of Oregon, Portland: Current, New and Considered sites

[1:02:42] University of Oregon – Desing Procedures

  • New Portland Patterns:
  • Abundant Natural Light
  • An Atrium for Architecture and Allied Arts
  • Prominent Main Entry
  • A Street Presence
  • Galleries, Event Rooms, and a Cafe
  • Studios as Social Classrooms
  • Generous Hallways and Lobbies

[1:05:41] WSB – LEED Gold Certified http://design.uoregon.edu/wsb/stories.html

[1:06:16] Revitalizing a historical urban neighborhood with catalyst projects: OCOM Oregon College of Medicine as latest development 2013

[1:07:29[ Mercy Corps, OT CT JT

[1:08:05] Julian Inn Shelter for the Homeless, SF Bay Area, San Jose

  • Project 5:  Generative design and Creative Production
  • The Real Meaning of Construction

[1:08:39] Patterns

  • 1. Entrance Transition
  • 2. Living Courtyard
  • 3. Communal Dining
  • 4. Private Sleeping stall
  • 5. Entrance Fountain
  • 6. Thick walls and benches at bottom of buildings

[1:10:41] CES Builder’s yard, Martinez

[1:16:55] Battle, p. 476  END


Full abstract

A lecture by Hajo Neis, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Oregon

“The purpose of all architecture, the purpose of its spatial-geometric organization, is to provide opportunities for life-giving situations. The central issue of architecture, and its central purpose, is to create those configurations and social situations, which provide encouragement and support for life-giving comfort and profound satisfaction — sometimes excitement — so that one experiences life as worth living. When this purpose is forgotten or abandoned, then there is indeed no architecture to speak of.” C. Alexander, H. Neis, M. Alexander. Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth. Oxford University Press. N.Y. November 2012, p. 2

Dr. Hajo Neis is an architect and urban designer with more than 35 years of professional experience and projects internationally. From his early days in the Frankfurt School of Philosophy and, at the same time, working in his father’s modernist architecture office, Neis was intrigued by the critical relationship between theory and practice. This focus sharpened considerably in his still ongoing cooperation with Chris Alexander, in theoretical practical projects, and educational work from 1990-2000 at the University of California, the Center for Environmental Structure (CES) in Berkeley, and his own office HNA. In 2006, Neis founded the Portland Architecture Research Laboratory (PUARL), at the UO, where he continues to explore and expand this work though urban research as well as practical and experimental projects.

In this lecture Neis will report about the recently published book ‘Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth’ by Christopher Alexander, Hans Joachim Neis and Maggie Alexander, in which the authors present “a revolutionary vision for the human environment: in coming eras, the environment will be conceived, designed, made, and widely understood as a necessary part of our emotional and social life.” But the book also addresses a major problem in the production of today’s human environment, or the kind of problems you can encounter when you try to implement essential principles for a human and beautiful architecture in large-scale projects. The book can best be understood as an excellent example of the fascinating interplay between theory and practice, between thinking and making, with a deep concern for human life and the environment, and a battle worth fighting. Neis will show several more projects closely related to the book and its main topic and theme and the University of Oregon.

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David Ing blogs at http://coevolving.com , photoblogs at http://daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . See .

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