REVIEW - Space Is the Machine - A Configurational Theory of Architecture

Title:

Space Is the Machine - A Configurational Theory of Architecture

Author:

Bill Hillier

ISBN:

9780521645287

Publisher:

Cambridge University Press (1998)

Pages:

480pp

Reviewer:

Francis Glassborow

Reviewed:

April 2000

Rating:

3 out of 5

I think you might like to read this book before starting your own theory of programming.

This is a very curious book. I happened to see it on Blackwells stand at the Autumn JaCC, and asked if they would let me have a review copy. The first copy provided had a number of unintended blank pages (that caused me to smile in the context of the title). It took some time to get a replacement.

It is very hard to convey a sense of this book and the topic it covers. Of course, it has nothing to do with programming any more than Alexander's books on building architecture. However as the Pattern Movement in programming has shown, ideas from architecture can be a rich source of insights into software. Statements such as 'A key outcome is the concept of 'spatial configuration' - meaning relations which take account of other relations in a complex.' May give a hint at why I think this book might interest the deep thinkers about software architectures.

If you want to stretch your thinking, and are the kind of person who not only reads books such as 'Design Patterns' but also reads the seminal text from Alexander I think you might like to read this book before starting your own theory of programming. While the book is not cheap in general terms, it is much cheaper than most books on programming even though it includes 8 pages of coloured diagrams and illustrations.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.