Design pattern implementation – stairs

A review at the start of 2012 of my use of Christopher Alexanders design patterns at the barn.

A discussion over on Reddit prompted me to revisit my thinking in relation to design patterns and their contribution to the design of the conversion of the barn. (For a more detailed discussion of design patterns please see my post on A Pattern Language.)

The discussion on Reddit is titled ‘Why hasn’t Christopher Alexander been more influential for architects?‘ and linked to an old article on Slate.com that is a discussion of Christopher Alexander’s work, design patterns and the lack of attention paid to this work in the current training of architects. My personal take on why architects aren’t more greatly influenced by Alexander and his work is that (to quote from my Reddit comment)…

“architects aren’t generally keen on Alexander for reasons of ego – they don’t want to share the ‘glory’ of their designs with anyone else”

…a sweeping generalisation and uncharitable to boot, but the Reddit discussion, coupled with a comment from vasislos a who said ‘it would be interesting to see pictures of how you’re applying the patterns’ restarted my thinking on patterns and led to this post.

My use of patterns evolved through a couple of iterations – my choices in November 2007 and updated in September 2010.

So, I thought a review of my previous lists with some discussion of my own implementations of the selected patterns would be in order, I’ll start with two patterns that sit closely together.

125 Stair seats.
Seats on stairs provide a vantage point, but don’t remove the sitter from the action.
133 Staircase as a stage.
A flared bottom step gives the stairs a function that may otherwise be overlooked.

From Barn Conversion 2012

I can’t claim that these patterns were a great design leap forward or a difficult implementation, but these are powerful and worthwhile. Due to the openness of the ground floor of the barn and the just off centre positioning of the stairs the bottom step is a comfortable, accessible and central place to sit within the main open plan area of the barn. Implementing these patterns was a case of ensuring that the staircase itself was positioned centrally, that the bottom couple of steps provided a suitable place to sit for people of varying heights (as most sets of step do) and that the bottoms of the stairs remained an unclutter, open and defined space in its own right.

Author: mbc

This is the story of MY barn conversion

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