Archive and portal for the work of Christopher Alexander and the Center for Environmental Structure

Preserve Chris Alexanders’ legacy and spread it further to younger generations of architects, scholars and researchers

The Center of Environmental Structure (CES) needed an online system for architects, researchers and a variety of external partners to access and use the Christopher Alexander archive.

Country

USA

Client

Center for Environmental Structure (CES)

Project

Digital Asset Management & Portal

Solution

infoasset & webasset platforms

Benefits

Long-term preservation and safe storage of CES work
Long-term preservation and safe storage of CES work
Easy, public access to CES assets for research purposes
Easy, public access to CES assets for research purposes
Ability to expand fields of usage for the available material
Ability to expand fields of usage for the available material

The insights behind the project

Christopher Alexander was a practicing architect and builder, and Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1967 he founded the Center for Environmental Structure (CES) aiming to promote a movement that would “lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will replace existing ideas and practices entirely.”

In order to support this vision, the CES was in need of an online system (back-office & front-end) that would be used by architects, researchers, CES clients and external partners interested in accessing and using the Christopher Alexander (CA) archive.

What we did for the client

In order for the original archival material to be easily accessible, Athens Technology Center (ATC) exploited the modular structure of infoasset, its proprietary platform that fully supports multimedia content management and corporate newsroom functions.

Since the very early stages of the project, ATC proposed the required business logic (i.e. consulting) upon the development of a contextual layer of metadata for categorizing and presenting the CA/CES Archive.

The implementation process included a variety of steps, to fully cover the content’s lifecycle end to end; from the phase of content collection, categorization and digitization to its entry and proper delivery to key stakeholders.

Indicatively, in the preparation phase, all system specifications were clearly set out and planned with respect to the functional specifications and the quality requirements. The content was collected and the required metadata were defined for each data type. Moreover, in the digitization phase, ATC ensured that that the quality requirements were met.

During the data entry phase, the files and the corresponding metadata were uploaded in the digital asset management module (DAM) of infosset platform, where they were linked and correlated. That way, CES enjoys advanced functionality for storing, searching and managing large volumes of documents of any format, with the use of a flexible and smart query builder, featuring a user-friendly interface.

Finally, in order to secure the timely and multichannel content delivery, ATC integrated infoasset platform with webasset, its proprietary CMS that provides advanced capabilities for the creation, management and publishing content.

The outcome

With this flexible and fully extendible system, the CA/CES Archive provides the certainty that its legacy work will be fully available as an actually useful source for research, attractive to the younger generation educators, scholars and architects who would like to continue its work.

Moreover, new foundations were set for expanding CES activities to other projects, inspired by and connected to CA/CES Archive works, in a variety of forms, e.g. publications of unpublished material, e-books, discussion forums, exhibits, network of professionals, researchers, etc.

In fact, the seamless collaboration between the back-end to the front-end environments significantly minimizes the effort needed for organizing and preparing dedicated online exhibits for the general public to comprehend the magnitude, extent and diversity of CA/CES Archive work.

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