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å Thursday, February 19th, 2015


w “The Web of Life”

Fritjof Capra


w “Systems Generating Systems”

Christopher Alexander

í Unit 7: One-week assignment

Unit 7.0 — Introduction

This introduces the common phenomena of (visual) pattern: repetition and periodicity.
Observe what unfolds. Allow the possibilities to show up naturally.
Work in teams of two or three (to compare notes for quantity and quality of inquiry) throughout this one-week portion, and observe and share what you are learning.
However, each of you remains responsible for your own results from your inquiry.

Unit 7.1 — Module

Design “module” (a single unit, cell): a square divided about equally in black and white. Look at options: geometric, organic; module as system or not.
Experiment with modules to see how they operate as patterns (7.2).
Eventually select ONE module unit and only use this one module.

Unit 7.2 — Pattern

First repeat the module in a squared grid (25/5×5, or 36/6×6) to create a simple pattern. Then vary the rules for repetition and periodicity in this grid.
Make as many variations as possible to generate diversity, dynamics, and uniqueness. Unit 2.2.1 — Notation system
Develop a simple (visual) notation system to show the operating system(s) of your patterns. Use this notations system to keep track of the systems used for each pattern.

Unit 7.2.2 — Grid Options

After working with a squared grid, experiment with (systemic) grid shifts (offsetting verticals, horizontals, or angles), but retain a solid field, and avoid new shapes/modules.

Unit 7.3 — Presentation on February 26:

Make a digital presentation to include:
• studies of the module, and selection of final module (and its system);
• process of pattern studies and experiments;
• selected patterns (for diversity, interest, comparative uniqueness);
• the notation systems for each pattern (i.e., to make the “system” visible). • summary as to what was experienced, observed and learned.

Unit 7.4 — Reflective Document (due February 27 or 28):

After class review reflect on this project individually!
Write about your experiences, the phenomena you observed, and what you learned. In write your reflective insights add visual samples as needed.
Email (pdf) this to your section faculty by Friday or Saturday!
(Don’t delay this task—do it when your mind is still IN the learning process!)

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How can we reveal the subtle in the obvious, the limitless in the limited?


Human beings are intrinsically organizers and pattern seekers because there is an apparent drive within us toward wholeness and integration, toward a sense of order, harmony and unity. What’s more, when we perceive such unifying holistic relationships this in turn informs us and gives us deeper insight. Combine this with the fact that everything designers construct impacts how individuals see what they see, necessitates that designers come to understand and embrace this holistic integration of parts and wholes, the operating patterns that produce their holistic properties, or the systems view. This unit will inquire into the basics of pattern and its role in dynamic complexity as well as its creative potential in design.

Learning Objectives

  • to introduce (visual) systems thinking to integrate the functions of parts and wholes; — to observe how the limitless can emerge from the limited
  • to inquire into the principles of unity in diversity
  • to discover and draw out the hidden dimensions within the plain, the obvious.
4 Unit 7: Tom Ockerse   b Add comment

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