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Pattern: Appropriate construction elements

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Part of a 5-fold Pattern Language.
Subsequently published in Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1986)

Pattern template

Standardized elements used in the construction of any framework tend to prevent the emergence of any organic quality. Appropriate construction elements are required which are small in scale, easy to work with using accessible techniques, easy to adapt, capable of ensuring structural integrity, durable or renewable, not needing specialized or expensive assistance, and universally obtainable at low cost. Isolating such elements from the environment should neither unduly deplete the environment nor prevent their reintegration into it when the framework is no longer required.

Physical Mass-produced construction materials tend to destroy the organic quality of natural buildings and to make any such quality impossible. Appropriate materials are required which are small in scale, easy to cut on site, easy to work without sophisticated machinery, easy to vary and adapt, heavy enough to be solid, long-lasting or easy to maintain, and yet easy to build, not needing specialized labour, not expensive in labour, and universally obtainable and cheap. Such materials should be ecologically sound, namely biodegradable, low in energy consumption, and not based on depletable resources.

Broader Maintainable, multi-element external boundaries; Efficient enclosure of spaces with minimal structural distinctions; Congruence between spaces defined by the framework and spaces defined by the processes within it.

Narrower Time binding; Encouraging emphases; Progressive framework definition; Level generation of minimum tension; Appropriate superstructure to contain transitions between levels.

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