Nexus Network Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 131–149 | Cite as

The Grammar of Movement: A Step Towards a Corporeal Architecture

  • M. Piedade Ferreira
  • Duarte Cabral de Mello
  • José Pinto Duarte


This research uses shape grammars as the basis of a computational tool to explore the relationship between the human body in motion and space, aiming to develop further knowledge about cognition and architecture. Artistic and scientific tools and methods already used to develop these concepts are being studied in order to create a new tool that will help us to understand, through simulation, how the body mediated through architecture can influence human cognitive response and thus behaviour. The goal is a methodology for the design of a “corporeal architecture” that can create a naturally immersive environment in which the ability of its geometry and physical properties to conduct or induce body movements in space for specific purposes can generate experience. Also discussed is the potential of the tool proposed for the study of the human body in movement as a generative strategy in architecture. In describing the parameters and criteria chosen to develop our software, we exemplify briefly how a shape grammar, as a system of rules, can be used to generate sequences of actions, establishing the idea that human behaviour in space can be composed as choreography and provide a means of considering architectural space not only in terms of shape but particularly in terms of life.


shape grammars corporeal architecture choreography performance attunement 


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Copyright information

© Kim Williams Books, Turin 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Piedade Ferreira
    • 1
  • Duarte Cabral de Mello
    • 2
  • José Pinto Duarte
    • 2
  1. 1.Curso de Doutoramento em Arquitectura, Faculdade de ArquitecturaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa, Rua Sá Nogueira, Pólo UniversitárioLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de ArquitecturaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa, Rua Sá Nogueira, Pólo UniversitárioLisbonPortugal

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