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Christopher Alexander has been a legendary figure in architecture for nearly 40 years. World-renowned for his revolutionary theories on the art of building, Alexander now caps his lifetime of profoundly original thinking about the meaning and purpose of architecture with this magnum opus, The Nature of Order. In these four books, Alexander constructs an entirely new cosmology, grounded in the latest scientific knowledge, and integrating the perennial wisdom of the centrality of human experience and values. In this way, Alexander reunifies for the field of architecture the 400-year old split of Body (structure) and Soul (feeling).

Alexander explores the properties of life itself, highlighting a set of well-defined structures present in all order – and in all life – from micro-organisms and mountain ranges to good houses and vibrant communities.

Taken as a whole, the four books - which are available as a complete four-volume set - create a sweeping new conception of the nature of things which is both objective and structural (hence part of science) – and also personal (in that it shows how and why things have the power to touch the human heart). A step has been taken, through which these two domains – the domain of geometrical structure and the feeling it creates – kept separate during four centuries of scientific though from 1600 to 2000, have finally been united.


Book One: The Phenomenon of Life

In The Phenomenon of Life, the first volume in this four volume masterwork, Alexander proposes a scientific view of the world in which all space-matter has perceptible degrees of life and sets this understanding of order as an intellectual basis for a new architecture. With this view as a foundation, we can ask precise questions about what must be done to create more life in our world – whether in a room… a humble doorknob… a neighbourhood… or even in a vast region.

He introduces the concept of living structure, basing it upon his theories of centres and of wholeness, and defines the fifteen properties from which, according this observations, all wholeness is built. Alexander argues that living structure is at once both personal and structural.


Book Two: The Process of Creating Life

Scientifically, this is perhaps the most exciting of the four books. How do beautiful creations come into being? Nature can make an infinite number of human faces, each one unique, each one beautiful. The same is true for daffodils, streams, and stars. But man-made creations – especially the towns and buildings of the 20th century – have only occasionally been really good, more often mediocre, and in the last 50 years have most often been deadly.

What is the reason for the difference? It hinges on the deep nature of the processes we use.

Alexander presents a living world that is of necessity generated by processes to create locally adapted spontaneous structure. In essence, he shows us how to do for buildings and cities what DNA does for grasses on the hills and trees in the forest: allowing each thing to become what it needs to be, as it arises from its own circumstances, with coherent form that flows out from the process.


Book Three: A Vision of a Living World

In the four books of The Nature of Order we have been given a new framework for perceiving and interacting with our world, a methodology for creating beautiful spaces, a cosmology where art, architecture, science, religion and secular life all work comfortably together. The third book shows us – visually, technically, and artistically – what a world built in this cosmology and framework is likely to be: what it may look like and be like.

Hundreds of examples of buildings and places are shown. New forms for large buildings, public spaces, communities, neighbourhoods, lead to discussions about equally important small scale of detail and ornament and colour. Many of the examples are built by Alexander and his colleagues; other buildings explored take us around the world and through time.

With these examples, lay people, architects, builders, artists, and students are able to make this new framework real for themselves, understand how it works, and understand its significance. The book is a feast for the eyes, and mind, and heart. Places created by living process (Book 2) have living structure (Book 1), and they connect us to our essence as people (Book 4). The seven hundred pictures of Alexander’s buildings and works of art shown in this book demonstrate in detail what he means.


Book Four: The Luminous Ground

The foundations of modern scientific thought, four centuries old, are firmly rooted in a conception that the universe is a machinelike entity, a play of baubles, machines, trinkets. To this day, our real daily experience of ourselves has no clear place in science. It is little wonder that a machinelike world-view has supported the deadly architecture of the last century.

The Luminous Ground, the fourth book of The Nature of Order, contains what is perhaps the deepest revelation in the four-volume work. Here is a geometrical view of space and matter seamlessly connected to our own private, personal experience as sentient and knowing creatures. This is not merely an emotional appendix to the scientific theory of the other books. It is at the core of the entire work, and is rooted in the fact that our two sides – our analytical thinking selves, and our vulnerable emotional personalities as human beings – are coterminous. They must be harnessed at one and the same time if we are ever to really make sense of what is around us, and be able to create a living world.

Altogether, present throughout this fourth and final book, is a new cosmology uniting matter and consciousness: consciousness inextricably joined to the substrate of matter, present in all matter, and providing all wholeness with its material, cognitive, and spiritual underpinnings. This view, though radical, conforms to our most ordinary daily intuitions. It may provide a path for those contemporary scientists who are beginning to see consciousness as the underpinning of all matter, and thus as a proper object of scientific study.

And it will change, forever, our conception of what buildings are.

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2019

30 Oct 2019 15:59:57

The Frankfurt Book Fair is always a special event in the Eurospan calendar, and follows a lot of careful planning and organisation by the team here months in advance. This year was busy as usual, and we welcomed the opportunity to meet and re-connect with colleagues, friends and customers travelling in from different parts of the world.

104 countries were represented at the Fair this year, giving it an international profile like no other Book Fair. The visitor count clocked up to 300,000 and around 7,450 companies set up at the Fair to exhibit their services. With these statistics in mind, it certainly is a big operation, and one that we enjoy being part of every year.

Eurospan returned to Hall 4.2 again this year, alongside a number of Science, Technical & Medical publishers. Joining the Eurospan stand this year were the American Mathematical Society and SIAM – both leading Mathematical publishers in their field. Additionally, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians and Central Recovery Press also exhibited on the stand. We were also pleased to host Infobase, SLACK Incorporated and Society of Exploration Geophysicists, as well as a number of University Presses: The University of Wisconsin Press, The University of South Carolina Press, Rutgers University Press and Brookings Institution Press.

The stand was dressed with a number of books prominently displayed, across all Eurospan-subject areas. We were pleased to be able to accommodate our client-publishers on our stand, and support them with their busy meeting schedules and appointments throughout the Fair. The Eurospan team also had a number of meetings on the stand, and were available throughout the Fair for any publisher or customer queries.

Thank you to everyone who visited the stand this year, and we look forward to exhibiting again in 2020!

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#CreateYourRevolution with the Sustainable Development Goals
at the Frankfurt Book Fair


This year the Frankfurt Book Fair will promote a new initiative for the future of culture, encouraging visitors to #CreateYourRevolution, and is proudly supported by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In celebration, we've curated a list of books on the SDGs to tie in to the campaign. You can also get involved with the UN's SDG Book Club, find out more here.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019
United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs
Oct 2019 60pp
9789211014037 Paperback
Presents how far we have come towards reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This fourth edition of the annual report uses the latest available data and inputs from custodian agencies of the UN system other international agencies.

Frieda Makes A Difference
The Sustainable Development Goals and How You Too Can Change the World
United Nations
Aug 2019 52pp
9789211014068 Paperback
One day, Ana from the United Nations visits Frieda’s school to teach her class about the Sustainable Development Goals—the world’s plan to reduce poverty and protect the planet by 2030. Frieda develops a global perspective and is encouraged to take action against the biggest issues of our day: from combating climate change and protecting endangered species to ending poverty and fighting inequality.
Also available in hardback, Spanish, and French language editions.

Standards for the Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Feb 2019 90pp
9789211171815 Paperback
Provides an overview of how international standards are used by policymakers to support sustainability and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The publication documents the practical experience of regulatory authorities, governments and local administrations, as well as regional groups of countries, in using standards.

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We are delighted to announce that, effective 1st April, Eurospan has been appointed the exclusive distributor for print books published by NUS Press in Oceania.

The publishing arm of the National University of Singapore, NUS Press publishes titles in the social science and humanities disciplines, with specific focus on subjects including Southeast and Asian Studies, history, and politics, among others.

Key and bestselling titles from NUS Press include:

Studying Singapore Before 1800
Edited by Kwa Chong Guan, Peter Borschberg
Jan 2019 600pp
9789814722742 Paperback
Historians rely on Singapore's strategic position to explain its great success as a royal trading port in the 14th century, and as a British colony after 1819. What, then, accounts for the many centuries when it seemed not to thrive? This volume collects studies about Singapore before 1800, bringing together different efforts across the 20th century at reconstructing Singapore's 'missing years'.

World War II Singapore
The Chosabu Reports on Syonan
Edited by Greg Huff & Shinobu Majima
2018 520pp
9789814722629 Hardback
For forty-four months during World War II, the Japanese occupied Singapore, setting out to drastically change life on the island. As part of the occupation, the Japanese produced detailed reports on the economy. The reports were notoriously difficult to read, and so this exceptional translation by Gregg Huff and Shinobu Majima is a true linguistic accomplishment.

Cold War and Decolonisation
Australia’s Policy towards Britain’s End of Empire in Southeast Asia
Andrea Benvenuti
2017 320pp
9789814722193 Paperback
Discusses the development of Australia's foreign and defense policies toward Malaya and Singapore in light of the redefinition of Britain's imperial role in Southeast Asia and the formation of new postcolonial states. Andrea Benvenuti sheds light on the impact of Britain on Australia's political and strategic interests in Southeast Asia during the Cold War.

Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800
John N. Miksic
2014 300pp
9789971695583 Paperback
The overland Silk Road linking China with West Asia and Europe is a famous and fabled trade route. The sea route that was its alternative was arguably more significant, both historically and economically, and holds the greatest potential for understanding the great movements of people, ideas and goods in Asia.

View more from NUS Press on the bookstore here.

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