I wouldn’t be surprised if Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language” was more influential in the field of computer programming than it was in architecture. I’ve encountered the discussion of patterns much more frequently in books about computer programming than in books about architecture, and I’ve read a lot more architecture books than programming books. The computer programming books have given me a lot more to think about. There’s a poetry and a humor to writing about programming that I miss in architecture. Take The Zen of Python, a set of style guidelines for the programming language Python:

This is hot shit. I think the design ethos is clear even if you don’t have a programming background. There is humor and paradox. It’s opinionated. It’s irreverent and serious. I love it. I’ve tried to write a Zen of Python inspired style guide for my designs a few times. I haven’t gotten a full set that sings yet, but it’s rewarding every time I try. Here are a few Kate and I came up with while working on the design for a sauna we’re planning on building in our back yard: