“Shape Grammars” by Özkar and Stiny

  • ©Mine Özkar and George Stiny



Entry Number: 24


    Shape Grammars

Course Organizer(s):



    No prerequisites for the first session other than enthusiasm for shapes and a keen interest in looking and seeing. For the second session, general knowledge of the theory of shape grammars, which can be acquired in the first session.  

    The theory of shape grammars, first launched by Stiny and Gips in 1972, defines a formalism to support the ambiguity in creative processes that is generally ruled out by quantitative and symbolic computations. Since then, it has evolved into a groundbreaking pragmatist philosophy of shape and design. It is implemented in fields varying from architecture, art, graphic design, industrial product design to computer visualization. This course offers basic knowledge on the theory and some advanced issues useful for its implementation. The course will be in two consecutive sessions which are introductory and advanced and last 1 3⁄4 hrs each. The two-partite introductory lecture presents the fundamentals of the theory, focusing on the basic knowledge of shapes, shape algebras, and shape rules in order to explain how shape grammars translate visual and spatial thinking into design computation. Examples of shape grammar applications in design analysis and synthesis will be presented. Attendees with further and more technical interest in the topic are encouraged to follow the advanced lecture which initially dwells on the computational devices of shape grammars then to discuss a number of selected studies on the computational implementation of the shape grammar idea.  


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