Good design rewards forever, or at least for a lifetime. Bad design is more costly in dollars and work and is sure to cause some form of depression. These authors know much more about superlative design than most of us. Thank goodness they shared by writing books. If you have a nomination, please e-mail us.


Bill Mollison is an ecologist of the first rank. In 1981 he received the Right Livelihood Award–the Alternative Nobel Prize–for his work in environmental design. He and David Holmgren coined the word permaculture; Mollison has devoted his life to teaching the concept. Permaculture is humans working with, not against, nature. It’s about causing land, water, plants, and animals to synergistically cause multiple benefits and to improve an ecosystem simultaneously. It maximizes functional connections. The many parts become a whole. To create permaculture design is to make the strongest possible statement of our eco-values, a resounding vote against current agribusiness practices. I have four of Mollison’s books. This one has it all plus 129 color photos and a gazillion drawings by Andrew Jeeves. It gives you complete knowledge to create your own personal permaculture, a place to work and live in harmony with nature, a place that will nuture your body and your soul. Here is the Amazon’s page for PERMACULTURE: A DESIGNERS MANUAL

A PATTERN LANGUAGE: TOWNS, BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTION, by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King, Shlomo Angel.

There are certain design principles that are self-evident truths, commonsense but uncommonly applied to modern towns and buildings, painfully evident in characterless and cheerless houses. Most of us have these evolved truths deep within us but we rarely think of them. Given here are 253 patterns, each consisting of a design challenge, discussion, illustration, and solution. Your knowledge of these patterns can help you to create a home that is a pleasure to live in, one that is imaginative, inspiring, healthful, and psychologically satisfying as well as fully functional. I cannot imagine designing any building without refreshing my memory of these wonderful patterns. First published in 1977, this book has already attained the status of classic. Go to Amazon’s page on A PATTERN LANGUAGE