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Integrating generative growth and evolutionary computation for form exploration


We present an algorithmic growth process that is an extension of Lindenmayer’s Map L-systems. This growth process relies upon a set of rewrite rules, a map axiom and a geometric interpreter which is integrated with a 3D simulated environment. The outcome of the growth process is a digital surface in 3D space which has “grown” within and in response to its environment. We have developed a complementary evolutionary algorithm that is able to take over the task of generating the rewrite rules set for a growth process. Using a quantitative multi-objective fitness function that evaluates a variety of surface properties, the integrated system (evolutionary algorithm and growth process) can explore and generate diverse and interesting surfaces with a resemblance of organic form. The algorithms have been implemented to create a design tool for architects called Genr8.

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We would like to thank Peter Testa, Devyn Weiser, Simon Greenwold and the rest of the EDG for their help in developing this project. We are grateful to Michael Hensel, Achim Menges and Mike Weinstock at the Architectural Association for many stimulating and interesting discussions. We would also like to thank Michel da Costa Goncalves, Steve Fuchs and all the other users that have given us valuable feedback about the software. Finally, we would like to thank Professor Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz for kindly providing permission to use the images in Fig. 2.

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Correspondence to Una-May O’Reilly.

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O’Reilly, UM., Hemberg, M. Integrating generative growth and evolutionary computation for form exploration. Genet Program Evolvable Mach 8, 163–186 (2007).

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  • L-systems
  • Grammatical evolution
  • Interactive evolutionary computation
  • Evolutionary design
  • Architecture