The grail serves the grail king: The crux of the nature of order

Jaap Dawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    The Nature of Order documents what and why we build and have built through the ages. It recounts the intellectual and psychological developments that taught us to deviate from timeless attitudes toward building and life itself. And given the extent and depth of Alexander’s research, it’s hard to imagine that we wouldn’t agree with him. But most architects and architecture professors don’t. Why? My experience leads me to believe that belief stands in their way: specifically, belief in a world view that’s untenable. It’s exactly this world view that Alexander undermines. And so, if we’re convinced of the validity of Alexander’s work, how can we help other people discover it? Not only by reading and talking and thinking, but by studying representative buildings and towns in an intimate way, I suggest. That means getting to know them as though they were living beings. It means climbing into the skin of their architects so that we discover the goal the architects had in building them. It means bringing us in contact with a wisdom we already possess. That wisdom reminds us that our designs serve the Grail King: the image of God.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-23
    Number of pages19
    JournalNew Design Ideas
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Analogy
    • Architectural design
    • Architectural education
    • Christopher Alexander
    • Experience
    • Human soul
    • Life belief


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