Paperless Grammars

  • Athanassios Economou
  • Thomas Grasl
Part of the KAIST Research Series book series (KAISTRS)


A workshop in formal composition using machine-based specifications of parametric shape rules is presented. The workshop is structured along two different trajectories: one starting from existing grammars and one starting from scratch, and both in a rising complexity in the specification of the rules and the ways they affect design. Rules, productions and designs in corresponding languages illustrate the findings. A speculation on a new design workflow whereas the designers seamlessly design and test their rules within their design processes is briefly discussed in the end.


Shape grammars Shape computation Computer implementation Formal composition Rule-based design Symmetry 



We would like to thank the undergraduate and graduate students at the School of Architecture at the College of Design at Georgia Institute of Technology, for their great enthusiasm and hard work during the workshops on shape grammars and their implementation in GRAPE.


  1. 1.
    Stiny, G. (1977). Ice-ray: A note on Chinese lattice designs. Environment and Planning B, 4, 89–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mitchell, W. (1978). The Palladian grammar. Environment and Planning B, 5, 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stiny, G., & Mitchell, W. J. (1980). The grammar of paradise: On the generation of Mughul gardens. Environment and Planning B, 7, 209–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Knight, T. W. (1980). The generation of hepplewhite-style chair-back designs. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 7(2), 227–238.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Knight, T. W. (1981). The forty-one steps. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 8(1), 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Flemming, U. (1981). The secret of the Casa Giuliani Frigerio. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 8(1), 87–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Krishnamurti, R. (1981). The construction of shapes. Environment and Planning B, 8, 5–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Piazzalunga, U., & Fitzhorn, P. (1998). Note on a three-dimensional shape grammar interpreter. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 25(1), 11–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tapia, M. (1999). A visual implementation of a shape grammar system. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 26, 59–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gips, J. (1999). Computer Implementation of Shape Grammars. In NSF/MIT Workshop on Shape Computation.
  11. 11.
    Chau, H. H., Chen, X., McKay, A., & de Pennington, A. (2004). Evaluation of a 3D Shape Grammar Implementation. In J. S. Gero (Ed.), Design Computing and Cognition’04 (pp 357–376). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Trescak, T., Esteva, M., & Rodriguez, I. (2009). General shape grammar interpreter for intelligent designs generations. In B. Werner (Ed.), Proceedings of the Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization (pp 235–240). Washington, DC: IEEE.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hoisl, F., & Shea, K. (2011). An interactive visual approach to developing and applying parametric 3D spatial grammars. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 25(4), 1–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jowers, I., & Earl, C. (2011). Implementation of curved shape grammars. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 38, 616–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yue, K., Krishnamurti, R., & Grobler, F. (2009). Computation-friendly shape grammars: Detailed by a sub-framework over parametric 2D rectangular shapes. In T. Tidafi & T. Dorta (Eds.), Joining languages, cultures and visions: CAADFutures, University of Montreal, Montreal (pp. 757–770).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Grasl, T., & Economou, A. (2013). From topologies to shapes: parametric shape grammars implemented by graphs. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 40(5), 905–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Grasl, T., & Economou, A. (2013). Unambiguity: difficulties in communicating shape grammar rules to a digital interpreter. In R. Stouffs & S. Sariyildiz (Eds.), Computation and Performance: Proceedings of the 31st eCAADe Conference—Volume 2, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands (pp. 617–620).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Grasl, T., & Economou, A. (2014) Towards controlled grammars: Approaches to automating rule selection for shape grammars. In E. Thompson (Ed.), Fusion: Proceedings of the 32nd eCAADe Conference, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK (Vol. 2, pp. 357–363).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Economou, A., & Kotsopoulos S. (2014). From shape rules to rule schemata and back. In J. S. Gero & S. Hanna (Eds.), Design computing and cognition DCC’14 (pp. 419–438). Springer.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stiny, G. (1980). Introduction to shape and shape grammars. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 7(3), 343–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mitchell, W. J. (2002). Vitruvius Redux. In E. K Antonsson & J Cagan (Eds.), Formal engineering design synthesis (pp. 93–125). Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    March, L. (1972). Speculation 8. In L. Martin & L. March (Eds.), Urban space and structures (pp. 47–51). Cambridge Urban and Architectural Studies: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schattschneider, D. (1990) M. C. Escher: Visions of symmetry, Harry N. Abrams.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Schulze, F. (Ed.). (1992). The Mies Van der Rohe archive. New York: Garland Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of DesignGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.SWAP ArchitektenViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations