The author examines the notion of misfit as presented by Christopher Alexander in his book Notes on the Synthesis of Form. We argue that from the point of view of our current understanding of design, the approach is flawed, but not flawed beyond use. In fact, the core concept of misfit, and how misfits can be addressed, remain as important to design today as when Alexander wrote about them. In this paper, a number of flaws are identified and explored. Subsequently, a new approach, which the author calls a balanced systems approach, is sketched. This approach preserves the intent and core of Alexander’s work, while addressing the identified flaws. The main contribution of this paper is to indicate the shortcomings of Alexander’s approach, but only for the sake of refining it and ensuring it remains relevant and useful.
F.A. Salustri. 2010. Misfits, Balance, Requirements, and Systems: thoughts on Alexander's Notes on the Synthesis of Form. Proc 2010 Conference of the Design Research Society. Montreal.