John Wilson

January 3rd, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer

“Oh for a book and a shady nook…”

John Wilson obviously likes to read. Perhaps his longing for a special place to read suggests that his home lacks that nook!
As designers, we understand the need for spaces that nurture us through the activies that help us unwind, relax, and recharge. An alcove or nook can be a perfect space for reading a book, knitting, sketching, or writing letters.

Alcoves are so important that Christopher Alexander dedicated a chapter of his Pattern Language to them. Here’s the jist: No rectangular room of uniform height can accomodate a group of people well. Togetherness as a group requires space that allows a chance to be alone or in groups of two. These “alone spaces” let the occupant(s) have a small degree of privacy in a space proportionally suited to the activity and yet allows them to see and to be part of the larger activity. A classic example is the bay window seat: cushioned and wonderfully illuminated by the sun, these small places are both wonderfully personal and accessible. And, their charm is undeniable.

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