Posts tagged books
Timeless Way of Building – Italics Only

Christopher Alexander’s book, The Timeless Way of Building, is one of my very favorites.  It is primarily seen as a book about architecture, but is also a book about a way of life.  Alexander wrote the book in a beautiful way, with one or two lines in italics that sum up the general principals of his thinking, followed by un-italicized prose that dives deeper in the specific applications to architecture and design.  He suggests reading the italicized parts first, then going back and re-reading the entire book, which can be accessed in it’s original form, but digitized, here:

At the risk of breaking up the pattern, I was interested in a version that was italics only, for ease of reading, and so converted the PDF to the following document, and edited out the un-italicized portions.  I told a few people about it and they asked if I could share it and there seemed to be interest, so here it is!

In the transition from PDF to text, some of the translation ran into trouble, so I reformatted any typos that popped up.  In particular, commas were translated as “y” or “-“…and there were many cases where “p” was interpreted as “f.”  I think I’ve caught all of these, but it is possible a few remain.  If you discover any of these in your reading, please email me at and I’ll make the edits.  There are also a few italicized lines that I edited out as they referred specifically to pictures in the book, which were confusing as I read them.  I think there might have been only 3 or 4 instances of this and I left any that referred to pictures but also contained narrative included.  If you have better ways of thinking about this or suggestions  – add the pictures? – that is welcome, especially if you are willing to work on it.

Enjoy and please remember that this is no replacement for reading the whole book.  This is simply a way to get started into it and I created this in deepest respect to Christopher Alexander and the content, which never is far from my mind as a constant inspiration.

Here is the link to the PDF:

Timeless Way Italics Only