Do you look or do you see? This is a simple question with layers of meaning. We could say it’s the difference between identifying an object and absorbing its details.

Looking: Our society has come to accept at face value quite a lot of bad architecture and design. Houses – or new neighborhoods – that never quite feel like home, and buildings that fail at even the basics of sound construction have become common.

Seeing: Because we’ve strayed so far, a book first published in 1977 (because even then they felt we had veered off from deeply rooted patterns of human nature) is a must-read for anyone working in the architecture, design and building fields, or fascinated by those topics.

A Pattern Language in an exhaustively researched manual written by a group of architects, professors and urban planners who categorize and explain the psychological and physical effects of centuries of building and planning techniques that suit humans best. Revealed within its pages are ideas such as:

• People use space if it’s sunny, so important rooms of a home should face south. For instance, a north-facing backyard won’t be used as much as a south-facing one.

• Balconies and porches less than six-feet deep are rarely used because we instinctively feel hemmed in.

• People are instinctively drawn to light and windows. Window sills 13”-14” from the floor and wide enough to sit or place things on are used the most.

• Uniform overhead light makes people feel disoriented and uncomfortable, so in addition, use pools of light at varying heights to create a sense of ease and comfort.

• People like to see and watch other people. An outdoor bench with its back towards others – or secluded – won’t be used all that much.


Hmmm… does this describe today’s open-plan kitchen area?

There are over 1,100 pages of this kind of addictive knowledge in A Pattern Language. It’s the kind of book that once completed, you pass copies to other people so they can learn the open secrets.

Some of the ideas are so simple and intrinsic to us that that we never thought about them until they are printed in black and white. Once revealed, however, it easily explains how we feel and relate to the world around us. This is an indispensable book that jump starts your brain, and leads to creating a better home for you to live in. Discover it’s open secrets here.

If this book inspires you to make changes to your home, call Mosby Building Arts to start your next remodeling project.