See the README for an explanation and discussion about this project and how to use it.

The Patterns

A pattern language has the structure of a network. […] The sequence of patterns is both a summary of the language, and at the same time, an index to the patterns. — p. xviii

Town Patterns

We begin with that part of the language which defines a town or community. These patterns can never be designed or built in one fell swoop — but patient piecemeal growth, designed in such a way that every individual act is always helping to create or generate these larger global patterns, will, slowly and surely, over the years, make a community that has these global patterns in it. — p. xix

Network of Lattices

Do what you can to establish a world government, with a thousand independent regions, instead of countries;

  1. Independent Regions

Regional Policies

Within each region work toward those regional policies which will protect the land and mark the limits of cities;

  1. The Distribution of Towns
  2. City Country Fingers
  3. Agricultural Valleys
  4. Lace of Country Streets
  5. Country Towns
  6. The Countryside

City Policies

Through city policies, encourage the piecemeal formation of those major structures which define the city;

  1. Mosaic of Subcultures
  2. Scattered Work
  3. Magic of the City
  4. Local Transport Areas


Build up these larger patterns from the grass roots, through action essentially controlled by two levels of self-governing communities, which exist as physically identifiable places;

  1. Community of 7000
  2. Subculture Boundary
  3. Identifiable Neighborhood
  4. Neighborhood Boundary

Community Networking

Connect communities to one another by encouraging the growth of the following networks;

  1. Web of Public Transport
  2. Ring Roads
  3. Network of Learning
  4. Web of Shopping
  5. Mini-Buses

Community Policies

Establish community and neighbourhood policy to control the character of the local government according to the following principles;

  1. Four-Story Limit
  2. Nine Per Cent Parking
  3. Parallel Roads
  4. Sacred Sites
  5. Access to Water
  6. Life Cycle
  7. Men and Women

Local Centers

Both in the neighbourhoods and the communities, and in beween them, in the boundaries, encourage the formation of local centers;

  1. Eccentric Nucleus
  2. Density Rings
  3. Activity Nodes
  4. Promenade
  5. Shopping Street
  6. Night Life
  7. Interchange

Housing Clusters

Around these centers, provide for the growth of housing in the form of clusters, based on face-to-face human groups;

  1. Household Mix
  2. Degrees of Publicness
  3. House Cluster
  4. Row Houses
  5. Housing Hill
  6. Old People Everywhere

Work Communities

Between the house clusters, around the centers, and especially in the boundaries between the neighbourhoods, encourage the formation of work communities;

  1. Work Community
  2. Industrial Ribbon
  3. University as a Marketplace
  4. Local Town Hall
  5. Necklace of Community Projects
  6. Market of Many Shops
  7. Health Center
  8. Housing In Between

Local Networking

Between the house clusters and work communities, allow the local road and path network to grow informally, piecemeal;

  1. Looped Local Roads
  2. T Junctions
  3. Green Streets
  4. Network of Paths and Cars
  5. Main Gateways
  6. Road Crossing
  7. Raised Walk
  8. Bike Paths and Racks
  9. Children in the City

Community Recreation

In the communities and neighbourhoods, provide public open land where people can relax, rub shoulders, and renew themselves;

  1. Carnival
  2. Quiet Backs
  3. Accessible Green
  4. Small Public Squares
  5. High Places
  6. Dancing in the Street
  7. Pools and Streams
  8. Birth Places
  9. Holy Ground

Local Recreation

In each house cluster and work community, provide the smaller bits of common land, to provide for local versions of the same needs;

  1. Common Land
  2. Connected Play
  3. Public Outdoor Room
  4. Grave Sites
  5. Still Water
  6. Local Sports
  7. Adventure Playground
  8. Animals

Social Institutions - Families

Within the framework of the common land, the clusters, and the work communities encourage transformation of the smallest independent social institutions: the families, workgroups, and gathering places. The family, in all its forms;

  1. The Family
  2. House for a Small Family
  3. House for a Couple
  4. House for One Person
  5. Your Own Home

Social Institutions - Workgroups

The workgroups, including all kinds of workshops and offices and even children’s learning groups;

  1. Self-Governing Workshops and Offices
  2. Small Services Without Red Tape
  3. Office Connections
  4. Master and Apprentice
  5. Teenage Society
  6. Shopfront Schools
  7. Children’s Home

Social Institutions - Local Gathering

The local shops and gathering places.

  1. Individually Owned Shops
  2. Street Cafe
  3. Corner Grocery
  4. Beer Hall
  5. Traveler’s Inn
  6. Bus Stop
  7. Food Stands
  8. Sleeping in Public

Building Patterns

This completes the global patterns which define a town or community. We now start that part of the language which gives shape to groups of buildings, and individual buildings, on the land, in three dimensions. These are the patterns which can be “designed” or “built” — the patterns which define the individual buildings and spaces between buildings; where we are dealing for the first time with patterns that are under the control of individuals or small groups of individuals, who are able to build the patterns all at once. — p. xxv

Group of Buildings

The first group of patterns helps to lay out the overall arrangement of a group of buildings: the height and number of these buildings, the entrances to the site, main parking areas, and lines of movement through the complex;

  1. Building Complex
  2. Number of Stories
  3. Shielded Parking
  4. Circulation Realms
  5. Main Building
  6. Pedestrian Street
  7. Building Thoroughfare
  8. Family of Entrances
  9. Small Parking Lots

Siting the Buildings

Fix the position of individual buildings on the site, within the complex, one by one, according to the nature of the site, the trees, the sun: this one of the most important moments in the language;

  1. Site Repair
  2. South Facing Outdoors
  3. Positive Outdoor Space
  4. Wings of Light
  5. Connected Buildings
  6. Long Thin House

Building Layout

Within the buildings’ wings, lay out the entrances, the gardens, courtyards, roofs, and terraces: shape both the volume of the buildings and the volume of the space between the buildings at the same time — remembering that indoor space and outdoor space, yin and yang, must always get their shape together;

  1. Main Entrance
  2. Half-Hidden Garden
  3. Entrance Transition
  4. Car Connection
  5. Hierarchy of Open Space
  6. Courtyards Which Live
  7. Cascade of Roofs
  8. Sheltering Roof
  9. Roof Garden

Between the Buildings

When the major parts of buildings and the outdoor areas have been given their rough shape, it is time to give more detailed attention to the paths and squares between the buildings;

  1. Arcades
  2. Paths and Goals
  3. Path Shape
  4. Building Fronts
  5. Pedestrian Density
  6. Activity Pockets
  7. Stair Seats
  8. Something Roughly in the Middle

Light and Space

Now, with the paths fixed, we come back to the buildings: within the various wings of any one building, work out the fundamental gradients of space, and decide how the movement will connect the spaces in the gradients;

  1. Intimacy Gradient
  2. Indoor Sunlight
  3. Common Areas at the Heart
  4. Entrance Room
  5. The Flow Through Rooms
  6. Short Passages
  7. Staircase as a Stage
  8. Zen View
  9. Tapestry of Light and Dark

Private Rooms

Within the framework of the wings and their internal gradients of space and movement, define the most important areas and rooms. First, for a house;

  1. Couple’s Realm
  2. Children’s Realm
  3. Sleeping to the East
  4. Farmhouse Kitchen
  5. Private Terrace on the Street
  6. A Room of One’s Own
  7. Sequence of Sitting Spaces
  8. Bed Cluster
  9. Bathing Room
  10. Bulk Storage

Public Rooms

Then the same for offices, workshops, and public buildings;

  1. Flexible Office Space
  2. Communal Eating
  3. Small Work Groups
  4. Reception Welcomes You
  5. A Place to Wait
  6. Small Meeting Rooms
  7. Half-Private Office


Add those small outbuildings whic must be slightly independent from the main structure, and put in the access from the upper stories to the street and gardens;

  1. Rooms to Rent
  2. Teenager’s Cottage
  3. Old Age Cottage
  4. Settled Work
  5. Home Workshop
  6. Open Stairs

Liminal Space

Prepare to knit the inside of the building to the outside, by treating the edge between the two as a place in its own right, and making human details there;

  1. Light on Two Sides of Every Room
  2. Building Edge
  3. Sunny Place
  4. North Face
  5. Outdoor Room
  6. Street Windows
  7. Opening to the Street
  8. Gallery Surround
  9. Six-Foot Balcony
  10. Connection to the Earth


Decide on the arrangement of the gardens, and the places in the gardens;

  1. Terraced Slope
  2. Fruit Trees
  3. Tree Places
  4. Garden Growing Wild
  5. Garden Wall
  6. Trellised Walk
  7. Greenhouse
  8. Garden Seat
  9. Vegetable Garden
  10. Compost

Minor Rooms

Go back inside of the building and attach the necessary minor rooms and alcoves to complete the main rooms;

  1. Alcoves
  2. Window Place
  3. The Fire
  4. Eating Atmosphere
  5. Workspace Enclosure
  6. Cooking Layout
  7. Sitting Circle
  8. Communal Sleeping
  9. Marriage Bed
  10. Bed Alcove
  11. Dressing Room

Shaping the Rooms

Fine tune the shape and size of rooms and alcoves to make them precise and buildable;

  1. Ceiling Height Variety
  2. The Shape of Indoor Space
  3. Windows Overlooking Life
  4. Half-Open Wall
  5. Interior Windows
  6. Staircase Volume
  7. Corner Doors

Thick Walls

Give all walls some depth, wherever there are to be alcoves, windows, shelves, closets, or seats;

  1. Thick Walls
  2. Closets Between Rooms
  3. Sunny Counter
  4. Open Shelves
  5. Waist-High Shelf
  6. Built-in Seats
  7. Child Caves
  8. Secret Place

Construction Patterns

At this stage, you have a complete design for an individual building. If you have followed the patterns given, you have a scheme of spaces, either marked on the ground, with stakes, or on a piece of paper, accurate to the nearest foot or so. You know the height of the rooms, the rough size and position of windows and doors, and you know roughly how the roofs of the building, and the gardens are laid out. The next, and last part of the language, tells how to make a building directly from this rough scheme of spaces, and tells you how to build it, in detail. — p. xxxii

Emergent Structure

Before you lay out structural details, establish a philosophy of structure which will let the structure grow directly from your plans and your conception of the buildings.

  1. Structure Follows Social Spaces
  2. Efficient Structure
  3. Good Materials
  4. Gradual Stiffening

Structural Layout

Within this philosophy of structure, on the basis of the plans which you have made, work out the complete structural layout; this is the last thing you do on paper, before you actually start to build;

  1. Roof Layout
  2. Floor and Ceiling Layout
  3. Thickening the Outer Walls
  4. Columns at the Corners
  5. Final Column Distribution

Erecting the Frame

Put stakes in the ground to mark the columns on the site, and start erecting the main frame of the building according to the layout of these stakes;

  1. Root Foundations
  2. Ground Floor Slab
  3. Box Columns
  4. Perimeter Beams
  5. Wall Membranes
  6. Floor-Ceiling Vaults
  7. Roof Vaults


Within the main frame of the building, fix the exact positions for openings — the doors and windows — and frame these openings;

  1. Natural Doors and Windows
  2. Low Sill
  3. Deep Reveals
  4. Low Doorway
  5. Frames and Thickened Edges

Frame Adjustments

As you build the main frame and its openings, put in the following subsidiary patterns where they are appropriate;

  1. Column Place
  2. Column Connection
  3. Stair Vault
  4. Duct Space
  5. Radiant Heat
  6. Dormer Windows
  7. Roof Caps

Interior Details

Put in the surfaces and indoor details;

  1. Floor Surface
  2. Lapped Outside Walls
  3. Soft Inside Walls
  4. Windows Which Open Wide
  5. Solid Doors with Glass
  6. Filtered Light
  7. Small Panes
  8. Half-Inch Trim

Outdoor Details

Build outdoor details to finish the outdoors as fully a the indoor spaces;

  1. Seat Spots
  2. Front Door Bench
  3. Sitting Wall
  4. Canvas Roofs
  5. Raised Flowers
  6. Climbing Plants
  7. Paving With Cracks Between the Stones
  8. Soft Tile and Brick


Complete the building with ornament and light and color and your own things;

  1. Ornament
  2. Warm Colors
  3. Different Chairs
  4. Pools of Light
  5. Things From Your Life