Architecture's Irascible Reformer "Better known for his writings than his buildings, he is the principal author of "A Pattern Language" (Oxford University Press, 1977), one of the best-selling architectural treatises of all time, still selling 10,000 copies annually more than 25 years after it first appeared. His devotees range from amateur home builders and community activist groups to the Prince of Wales, who invited him to serve as a trustee of his Institute for Architecture in London and helped recruit him to design the visitors' center at West Dean Gardens.
Among computer programmers, he has attained near-guru status. Will Wright, the creator of "The Sims," the nation's most popular computer game, routinely cites him as a major influence. And he's an unlikely inspiration behind a powerful movement in software design known as object-oriented programming.
Now Mr. Alexander's iconoclastic reputation is likely to grow some more. This spring, he finally completed his four-volume, 2,150-page magnum opus: "The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe." After laboring over it for 27 years, Mr. Alexander had a falling out with his editors at Oxford University Press and is now publishing the work himself through his Center for Environmental Structure, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley dedicated to promoting his ideas. (Sun Microsystems contributed money to help defray printing costs.)"