Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

Book Review: Patterns of Home

by Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein, and Barbara Winslow

"Inhabiting the Site" is Pattern One. At Frederick + Frederick, we spend quite a long time on the site analysis, whether the site is .25 acres or 20, it is important to consider the sun, the views, the neighbors, the trees. 

Pattern Language, written by Christopher Alexander et al (the et al lists Max Jacobson, the author of Patterns of Home, as a contributing author) was published in 1977, billed as “an entirely new attitude to architecture and planning.” It is a guide to design with an infinite variety of combinations of its 253 patterns. It begins with regions, towns, neighborhoods, clusters of buildings, buildings, rooms, alcoves, and ends with the details of construction. Jane and Michael both had several professors preach Pattern Language as a so-called “Architecture Bible” because it was a completely new approach to design and communities- away from the separation of work and home created by the suburbs and cities of the 1950’s and toward a new, practical, integrated design. 

The ten Patterns of Home that the book focuses on are billed as essential for any successful house plan. Without digging too deep, I found examples of all the patterns in Frederick + Frederick's archive. The book is interesting and well written (even though it does not include any houses in the South). I expect that it is a little elementary for seasoned architects and a little too detailed for the average homeowner. But, if you are interested in design, architecture, and would like to learn more, this is a fantastic book for you.    


Patterns of Home by Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein, and Barbara Winslow was published in 2002. The quality of design is evident in that 12 years later, only in a few photos, the electronic devices & interior design look dated. Most of the examples are lovely. The book includes modern and traditional examples with lots of courtyards and outdoor living spaces. 

Some background on the text is that is written as a simplification of a text from the last century “Pattern Language”. The authors state, “practice has made us realize that the really crucial patterns are far fewer in number than we had previously thought; and that this smaller group of patterns is more powerful than we had previously imagined” (page 4).

"Creating Rooms, Outside & In", is Pattern Two. 

"Sheltering Roof" is Pattern Three