A Lasting Quality

“If you want to preserve a building, you will try to make it in materials which last and last forever. You will try to make sure that this creation can be preserved intact, in just its present state, forever. Canvas must be ruled out because it has to be replaced; tiles must be so hard that they will not crack, and set in concrete, so that they can- not move, and so that weeds will not grow up to split the paving; chairs must be made perfect, of materials which never wear or fade; trees must be nice to look at, but may not bear fruit, because the dropped fruit might offend someone.

But to reach the quality without a name, a building must be made, at least in part, of those materials which age and crumble. Soft tile and brick, soft plaster, fading coats of paint, canvas which has been bleached a little and torn by the wind, fruit, dropping on the paths, and being crushed by people walking over it, grass growing in the cracks between the stones, an old chair, patched, and painted, to increase its comfort

None of this can happen in a world which lasts forever.”

  • Christopher Alexander in the Timeless Way of Building

The things that are cherished, are cherished and maintained because there’s a recognition of their unique quality and a conscious desire to sustain precisely that. 

Antifragility over permanence.