Teaching The Nature of Order


  • Yodan Y. Rofè Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel / Building Beauty: Ecologic Design & Construction Process, Italy https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2655-0839




architectural education, architectural theory, complexity science, building process, built environment


This paper describes the teaching of Alexander’s magnum opus The Nature of Order as the main theoretical course of the Building Beauty Program. The course is taught online as a reading seminar for registered students, and a webinar open for all. It introduces the main insights of the four books that make up this work, discusses the format of teaching and how it evolved over the course of the program, and the impact it has on the students. Alexander’s main contribution was in formulating a theory that describes the phenomenon of life, in artefacts as well as in the natural world, in terms of geometrical configurations, and in connecting it to human feeling and sense of self. Furthermore, Alexander describes a unified process underlying both the human processes of building and making, as well as natural phenomena. All of this within a scientific framework which includes and extends modern science and opens the gate to a technology that connects us to the natural world and to ourselves. The course is taught as a reading seminar, interspersed with lectures on central ideas, as well as guest lectures, to allow students to encounter the work on their own terms, rather than imposing it as a doctrine. Our impact surveys show that studying The Nature of Order is indeed transformative and helps students in understanding and learning to work within the complex order of the world.

Author Biography

Yodan Y. Rofè, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel / Building Beauty: Ecologic Design & Construction Process, Italy

Yodan Rofè is a Senior Lecturer of Urban Planning and Design at Ben-Gurion University (BGU), Israel, and Course Director at Building Beauty: Ecologic Design & Construction Process, a post-graduate diploma in architecture program. His research interests include beauty, order and complexity in the built environment, informal settlements, urban morphology, sustainable urban design, cognition and feeling in the built environment and street design. He is currently researching the urban codes of informal settlements and their lessons for planning, the role of global and local characteristics in the success of urban public spaces, and the impact of the physical attributes and perceptual qualities of urban streets on sense of well-being and mental health.


2023-12-31 — Updated on 2024-01-02

How to Cite

Rofè, Y. Y. . (2024). Teaching The Nature of Order. Ekistics and The New Habitat, 84(1), 30–34. https://doi.org/10.53910/26531313-E2024841680