Gary Black has been involved with master planning using a “project pattern language” approach for thirty-five years, beginning in 1982 as the
vice president of Christopher Alexander's studio. He has continued to use this process with government agencies and with other architects and planners to assist in programming and design of higher education buildings.
The advantages are obvious to anyone who has experienced the process first hand. The rigor of the process, with specific patterns being constructed for the particular project, allows a wide variety of stakeholders, for example faculty, students, staff, security… in a higher education project, to come together, voice very different opinions and in the end, agree to a written set of directives that will guide the design of the building and its surrounding environment. In the typical planning approach, the design team will propose between six and nine different design solutions for the building committee to select from. In the described approach, the design team will present ONE schematic design that contains all the patterns agreed on by the building committee.