4.520 | Fall 2005 | Undergraduate

Computational Design I: Theory and Applications


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: One session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Description

This subject introduces a computational or generative approach to design using shape grammars. Shape grammars were one of the first, and remain one of the few, computational design systems that are wholly visual, rather than textual or numerical. They provide a powerful means for design analysis and synthesis, for design exploration, and for generating novel design solutions.

The basics of shape grammars will be introduced through lectures and through in-class, by-hand exercises with simple, abstract shape grammars. A range of applications from stylistic analysis to creative design will be explored. Computer programs for shape grammars will be presented. Readings will supplement lectures.


None. No background in computing or computer programming is assumed, and computer programming is not a requirement of the subject. Students with interests in any area of design, including product design, architectural design, graphic design, and media design, are welcome.

Course Requirements

Weekly assignments. An end-of-term, research or design project.


7 Weekly Assignments (10% each) 70%
Final Project 30%

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2005