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Frontiers of Architectural Research

Front. Archit. Res.    2019, Vol. 8 Issue (2) : 191-200
Shape grammars as a reverse engineering method for the morphogenesis of architectural façade design
Buthayna Eilouti()
Department of Architectural Engineering, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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The field of shape grammars spans 47 years, but its potential in the practice and education of art, architecture, and engineering remains far from being utilized. Similarly, while reverse engineering in some engineering disciplines is well-established, its implementation in architectural design remains under-represented. By combining the two domains, this paper develops a novel method that merges the power of shape grammars as a parsing tool in reverse engineering to decode the morphogenesis of visual compositions in architectural design. The merged power is demonstrated by decoding the formal language of a façade design of a case study, in which seemingly few simple rules can derive surprisingly complex compositions. The rules of the language can then be used to reconstruct parts of the case façade. Most shape grammars in the architectural literature are applied on formal historical precedents, but the subject of morphological analysis in this paper is contemporary and has a style that exhibits non-orthogonal configurations, which initially appear far from being standardized or subjected to regulatory tectonic rules. The façade derivation grammar is explained and resynthesized in various computations to explore emergent articulations that display its predictive, synthetic, and generative powers in addition to typical analytic ones.

Keywords Shape grammars      Façade engineering      Contemporary architecture      Saudi architecture      Design computation      Formal language      Making grammars      Reverse engineering      Forward engineering     
Corresponding Authors: Buthayna Eilouti   
Issue Date: 12 August 2019
 Cite this article:   
Buthayna Eilouti. Shape grammars as a reverse engineering method for the morphogenesis of architectural façade design[J]. Front. Archit. Res., 2019, 8(2): 191-200.
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