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Animation as a computational framework for architectural design composition.

Dounas, Theodoros



The paper develops computation, through dynamic grammars, as a third equivalent to syntactical and typological understanding of architectural design. Within theory of architectural design, syntactical and typological understanding of architecture are the two main scientific paradigms that explain how architecture is formed and conducted. As such the premise of the paper is to connect computational design as an equivalent understanding of architecture, one which has parity with the classical theoretical canon of the architectural design theories of the 20th century. To accomplish this, Dynamic grammars, i.e. shape grammars developed through animation are presented and analysed along with their mechanisms. Shape Grammars have been selected as a vehicle for this as they provide an excellent model of architectural composition with computational design, using simple mechanisms. A case study of constructivist design is analysed using dynamic grammars, showcasing the elegance and efficiency of the system in describing variants of design, maintaining parity in a syntactical and a typological understanding of design. The paper concludes with the characteristics that a computational understanding of architectural design has.


DOUNAS, T. 2020. Animation as a computational framework for architectural design composition. Architectural science review [online], 63(2), pages 222-232. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 18, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 19, 2020
Publication Date Apr 30, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 20, 2021
Journal Architectural Science Review
Print ISSN 0003-8628
Electronic ISSN 1758-9622
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 63
Issue 2
Pages 222-232
Keywords Dynamic grammars; Shape grammars; Computational framework; Animation; Typology; Syntax
Public URL


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