SIGGRAPH 2008 > For Attendees > Classes > Introduction to Shape Grammars

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Introduction to Shape Grammars

3:45 - 5:30 pm
8:30 - 10:15 am
Room 411
Level: Intermediate

Theme: Professional Development and Education

This class focuses on the fundamental theory of shape grammars first introduced by Stiny and Gips in 1972, and their evolution over the past 35 years into a pragmatist philosophy of shape (Stiny, 2006). The theory defines a formalism to deal with ambiguity in a way that quantitative and symbolic computations cannot. The class presents some basic knowledge of shapes, shape algebras, and shape rules in relation to visual computation, and illustrates how visual and spatial thinking can translate into design computation. The latter part of the class includes examples from existing and possible applications of the theory in architectural design and design education.

This class will be followed by an optional two-day workshop for 10-12 participants in The Studio. The workshop includes a short introductory lesson on geometric Islamic patterns and an exercise within a loosely defined shape grammar for these patterns. The exercise leads to production of a series of designs modeled on the computer, or if attendees prefer, built out of prescribed material.

Basic knowledge of how to operate in a vector-based drawing or modeling platform. Optional: knowledge of scripting.

Mine Özkar
Middle East Technical University

Sotirios Kotsopoulos

Instructor Information

Mine Özkar
Mine Özkar holds an MS in architectural studies and a PhD in design and computation from MIT. Her research and publications are on design thinking, the history and theory of basic design education, cognitive processes in design, computation in design processes, and visual computation. After working as George Stiny's assistant (2000-2004) as he prepared his most recent book, SHAPE she became a member of the faculty at Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture, where she coordinates and teaches design studios and computational design courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She is also a partner in two interdisciplinary research projects on implementation of shape algebras and curriculum development for architecture education.

Sotirios Kotsopoulos
Sotirios Kotsopoulos holds a master of science degree in architectural studies and a PhD in design and computation from MIT, where he is currently teaching the course: Introduction to Design Computing. He also received a masters in architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture as a Fulbright scholar, and a diploma in architectural engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. His research applies ideas from generative grammars and the theory of computation in design. He deploys analog and digital computation to give form to theoretical hypotheses in a didactic way. He focuses on foundational design instruction and studio applications, from conception and visualization to fabrication.