ABSTRACT

Shape grammars were invented over twenty-five years ago by Stiny and Gips. They were one of the earliest algorithmic systems for creating and understanding designs directly through computations with shapes, rather than indirectly through computations with text or symbols. Over the years, shape grammars have been explored through applications addressing a variety of design problems. The history of these applications in architecture and the arts is sketched in this paper. The roles of shape grammar applications in education and practice are outlined. New and ongoing issues concerning shape grammars in education and practice are discussed.

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I would like to thank Gabriela Celani for her fine work designing the web site for this paper, and for her many helpful comments on the text and illustrations.

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Last update: September 14, 2000

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Web design by Gabriela Celani.