CAAD Tutorial: Shape Grammars

How does City-Engine work?



 051-0732-15L | ELECTIVE COURSE

In the last decade, in the domain of city planning and design, we are witnessing an overflow of projects for the new cities, built from scratch, in so far unprecedented scale. Often led by the famous architectural practices with the strong emphasis on parametric/generative design, million “cities” that naturally took hundreds of years to emerge are designed within months and built within years. There is a peculiar tendency in trusting these kind of instant solutions to be the real cities, most notably in the East, in places like China, Singapore, Dubai, and other developing countries.
What makes these mega-designs possible in a technical sense? How are they manufactured so fast? What makes them look so detailed and realistic that people trust them, and invest in them? Are they really cities? These are the questions that we will be dealing with throughout this course.

Basis of these mega-designs lies in the technology of Parametric Shape Grammars. Interestingly enough, the technology is based on the principles of formal logic that are so simple and banal, that you will be able to design and program your own “million city” within one semester, in full detail, without a prior knowledge of programming. Throughout this course we will review some topics that will make us understand how the technology of grammars evolved, most notably: Cellular Automata, Subdivision, Fractals and Lindenmayer systems.

Benefit of this course is twofold. You will be challenged to develop, and formalise a critical stance towards the design with parametric grammars (or think about the alternative scenario) while learning the basics of programming. Programming part of the course is elective, and will be thought from scratch in Processing/Java environment, so there are no requirements for attending the course except motivation.


number max. 20 / min. 10 motivated students
dates Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00
introduction Monday, February 16, 2015
place Chair for CAAD, HPZ, Floor F unless announced differently
tutors Nikola Marincic,  Jorge Orozco