Building Beauty 2020-2021

In 2020-2021 I participated in the Building Beauty Online course and the Beautiful Software seminar.

The course had four modules: Studio, Appropriate Construction, The Nature of Order and Beautiful Software. This page acts as an index of my weeknotes and a curated selection of links to some of the highlights.


This was the core of the course and was hands-on from day one. We did four main Studio projects. Here are quick links to the final results of each:

  1. Ornament – A box for my Aeropress filters
  2. Furniture – A lamp for my living room
  3. House – A retreat for thinking
  4. Individual Project – A home office with life

My house project won the award for methodology at the 2021 HOME competition.

Appropriate Construction

The Appropriate Construction module brought in speakers who'd worked with or who's work was inspired by Alexander. It mostly focused on the use of materials. Here are the sessions where I published notes:

The Nature of Order

You can browse scans of my hand-written index-card booknotes, but Stefan's Nature of Order Digital Garden is probably much more useful.

Beautiful Software

My notes for the Beautiful Software seminar are a bit sparse. It was really interesting to try to map Alexander's work to our experience of software, but there were loads of rabbit holes and since it was the first year, we lacked a bit of structure.

  • Where to start? – some notes from discussions around how we even begin to figure out what beautiful software looks like
  • Scale – different levels of scale require different structures, both in architecture and software
  • Topologise – computer-generated building designs based on A Pattern Language
  • An attempt at grouping our discussions based on concepts referenced from Alexander's work

All posts

Building Beauty: The Programmer’s Workshop Draft Pattern Language

Book Notes – Nature of Order Book 4: The Luminous Ground

Book Notes – Nature of Order Book 3: A Vision of a Living World

Book Notes – Nature of Order Book 2: The Process of Creating Life

Book Notes – Nature of Order Book 1: The Phenomenon of Life

Building Beauty: Week 25

Building Beauty: Week 24

Building Beauty: Week 23

Building Beauty: Week 22

Building Beauty: Week 21

Building Beauty: Week 17, 18, 19 & 20

Building Beauty: Week 15 & 16

Building Beauty: Week 14

Building Beauty: Week 12 & 13

Building Beauty: Week 11

Building Beauty: Week 10

Building Beauty: Week 9

Building Beauty: Week 7 & 8

Building Beauty: Week 6

Building Beauty: Week 5

Building Beauty: Week 4

Building Beauty: Week 3

Building Beauty: Week 2

Building Beauty: Week 1