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A Formal Language for Palladian Palazzo Façades Represented by a String Recognition Device


This article represents an effort to reveal a new interpretation of the expression ‘the architectural language of Palladian designs’ that is closer to real linguistic paradigms than it usually means. Palladian designs exhibit a highly ordered and well articulated formal language comprised of a finite set of vocabulary elements in plan, elevation and volumetric treatment, together with an implicit set of mathematical rules for the arrangement of these rudimentary elements. The scope of this article is limited to the morphology of the façades of the first nine buildings shown in the second book of Palladio’s treatise, specifically the palazzo designs that he presents in chapter three. The morphology is described in terms of a symbolic encoding system that is represented textually and graphically as a finite state automaton, the concept of which is borrowed from theories of formal languages and computation. The system helps to emphasize commonalities in façade languages and to propose a prototype for generating Palladian palazzo façade designs. The automaton-based encoding system may be developed to function as a base for a computerized façade encoder and decoder.

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Correspondence to Buthayna H. Eilouti.

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Eilouti, B.H. A Formal Language for Palladian Palazzo Façades Represented by a String Recognition Device. Nexus Netw J 10, 245–268 (2008).

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  • architectural language
  • string recognition
  • visual study
  • design computation
  • Palladian language
  • finite state automata
  • FSA application
  • façade morphology