The theory of patterns

From the structure of a black hole to the weave of a tea towel, patterns are integral to the fabric of the universe.

Noticing that the relationship between architecture and patterns had not been addressed in almost 30 years, architect Paul Andersen and assistant professor in the Department of Architecture at Syracuse University David Salomon set out to create a thorough and academic study of how pattern is has been used in the discipline, both now and in the past.

John Lewis Department Store in Leicester, by Foreign Office Architects
John Lewis Department Store in Leicester, by Foreign Office Architects

The new book, The Architecture of Patterns, draws on the work of international architects to dissect the various formal and functional capacities of forms such as the elastic diagrid and promiscuous diagrid.

Nike Oregon Waffle and Air Max 360 II shoes.
Nike Oregon Waffle and Air Max 360 II shoes. The photo shows how Bill Bowerman’s historic waffle sole has been developed to better athletic performance.

As well as tracking the definitions of a number of patters in a variety of fields, the books also suggests how patterns can evolve for in the design of the future.

The book is a challenging read – one that I wouldn’t care to approach without a good dictionary – but succeeds in documenting and theorising the way in which patterns and definitions of patterns are changing.

Tivoli Retail Store by BIG
Tivoli Retail Store by BIG

The Architecture of Patterns by Paul Andersen adn David Salomon is available from Norton, priced at £18.99.

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