How Buildings Learn: Chapter 1 - Flow

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand is a really great read about the underlying processes that govern the evolution of buildings over time.

At the heart of this book is the idea of change - of time. That buildings change. That people change them. That the elements change them. This, fundamentally, is the reason the parallels with software leap off every page. Understanding and managing change is arguably the fundamental aspect of understanding and managing the process of developing software. Software isn't written perfectly in a sudden flash. It takes time. It takes lots of small changes.

The author writes "My approach is to examine buildings as a whole - not just whole in space, but whole in time". He laments the aphorism "Form ever follows function" written in 1896 by Louis Sullivan (A Chicago high-rise designer) because "it misled a century of architects into believing that they could really anticipate function". The idea is to aim for software that gets better over time. Or, more accurately, that is capable of getting better over time.

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