“One of the ways that centers help each other most effectively is by their repetition. Centers intensify other centers by repeating. The rhythm of the repeating center, slowly, like the beat of a drum, intensifies the field effect.”Christopher Alexander, p. 165, Book One, The Nature of Order
The recurrence of ‘bolt heads’ on this door in the old city of Akka, Israel speaks powerfully to how an alternating repetition does a better job of knitting space together than does a simple repetition. The life and vitality produced by this kind of repetition can be traced to the weaving together of two parallel lines of bolts, one line twice the density of the other, one above the seam, one below it.
Just like a syncopated beat in music can induce a person to tap a toe or even start dancing, this door of repeated elements produces a visual rhythm that gives the same kind of ‘jump’ to visual space, rendering it as animated, full of life.
Imagine this same door with bolt heads arranged in a square grid pattern. Can one honestly say that such a pattern would be more alive, more whole than the one pictured?