The fundamental philosophy behind the use of pattern languages is that buildings should be uniquely adapted to individual needs and sites; and that the plans of buildings should be rather loose and fluid, in order to accommodate these subtleties.


Recognize that you are not assembling a building from components like an erector set, but that you are instead weaving a structure which starts out globally complete, but flimsy; then gradually making it stiffer but still rather flimsy; and only finally making it completely stiff and strong. We believe that in our own time, the most natural version of this process is to put up a shell of sheet materials, and then make it fully strong by filling it with a compressive fill.

… in Structure Follows Social Spaces (205) and Efficient Structure (206) we have set down the beginnings of a philosophy, an approach, to construction. Good Materials (207) tells us something about the materials we ought to use in order to meet human and ecological demands. Now, before we start the practical task of making a structural layout for a building, it is necessary to consider one more philosophical pattern: one which defines the process of construction that will make it possible to use the right materials and get the overall conception of the structure right.

Choose the most natural materials you can, for the outer shell itself - thin wood planks for columns, canvas or burlap for the vaults, plaster board or plank or bricks or hollow tiles for walls - Good Materials (207).

Use ultra-lightweight 40 to 60 pounds perlite concrete for the compressive fill - it has the same density as wood and can be cut and nailed like wood, both during the construction and in later years when repairs become necessary - Good Materials (207).

Build up the columns first, then fill them with the ultra-lightweight concrete; then build up the beams and fill them; then the vaults, and cover them with a thin coat of concrete which hardens to form a shell; then fill that shell with even lighter weight materials to form the floors; then make the walls and window frames, and fill them; and finally, the roof, again a thin cloth vault covered with a coat of concrete to form a shell - Box Columns (216), Perimeter Beams (217), Wall Membranes (218), Floor-Ceiling Vaults (219), Roof Vaults (220)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 962high-confidence