High Resolution 2: Materialise

CAAD THEORY | 051-0731-12L | WAHLFACH| HS12

In the course we will develop a computer-based approach to designing sacred spaces.


Cathedrals, mosques and temples of all religions often present incredible spacial impressions.  The diversity of their forms – both in terms of structure and ornament – goes far beyond a mere functionalism. Their rooms contain a great wealth of geometric patterns, icons and symbols. The design of these buildings often follows clearly defined, explicit rules. We will analyze these rules and redesign and encode them in the form of algorithms.

We will work with the methodology of “Shape Grammars”, a formal language for generating design that was initially conceived in the early days of CAD.

With today’s computers – which are millions of times more powerful – we hope to arrive at a new level of computer-generated architecture:

Not only single objects, but entire families of structures are to be calculated by the computer. Their spatial complexity would be unachievable – and perhaps even inconceivable – using traditional means.  The final output will be materialised.


We will work with the Processing programming environment. For the course no programming skills are required. The focus of the course is not on programming, but rather on developing sets of rules to generate structure and ornament. Each final design should be produced with rapid prototyping technologies.


Dates: Introduction on monday,  17.09. at 1pm, regular weekly mondays, from 1pm-3pm.

Location: HPZ, Geschoss F

Last years results: http://www.caad.arch.ethz.ch/blog/high-resolution/

Supervision: Benjamin Dillenburger, Michael Hansmeyer, Hua Hao

Sample programs:




Tutorial  oct 8th 2012

required libraries:



Libraries, please unzip and put into your processing library folder




Tutorial  oct 15th 2012


Tutorial  oct 29th 2012

Tutorial  nov 5th 2012

Tutorial  nov 12th 2012

example with a test obj file with comments.
library updated

Tutorial  nov 18th 2012

example with a test obj file with comments. some changes in the organization.

slider GUI included, obj entities can be fixed with comment “1”, rules can be extended, display for attributes, standard smoothing rule (Catmull Clark) included




meshGrammar_121118 bug inside the delta of the attributes could become zero.
library updated

Tutorial  nov 26th 2012