Pattern Grammar within the Language of Architecture

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Sevil Sariyildiz, Sanja Durmisevic, Jasmina Ploco: Pattern Grammar within the Language of Architecture. In: AVOCAAD First International Conference, AVOCAAD Conference Proceedings, Brussels, April 10-12, 1997. ISBN: 90-76101-01-09.



Technology plays an important role in the design and designing process, influencing the architectural expressions and giving an impulse to new developments of architectural language. It has been allways the stimulating push for the generation of new concepts, spaces and technics in architectural design. Especially the developments in the field of material technology and construction industry. Lately, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) pledge to have an important impact on designing practice as well as a part of the technological developments.

In order to widen the application of CAAD in designers realm, it is necessary to interpose new design tools and methods. This means introducing CAAD more as a “designing tool” and making its employment feasible from the very first stages of design process - during the conceptual phase.

Pattern Grammars, which we will introduce in this paper is such a method that provides support to designers, architects and urban planners. These patterns, based on complex 3D spatial geometrical polyhedra and polytopes, when generated, have form and structure at the same time. Parallel with geometry creation, aspects such as accessibility, functionality and integrity of a building should be taken in consideration as well.

Working with pattern grammar within CAAD environment, enables faster generating of concepts and examination of spatial qualities, offering at the same time higher standards of design flexibility and enormous variety. It also introduces new design approaches to stimulate the innovative ideas concerning the design. This, altogether, represents an added value of CAAD.

The application of Computer science in the 60’s started to creep into architects life as a drawing tool, which replaced pencil, ruler, drawing table, but still used in mixture with traditional tools. It was then called CAD. In the 70’s this word was replaced by “Building Informatics” which included the use of Information technology in the design process. Nowadays we use the term “Information and Communication technology” (ICT) for the whole building process. In designers realm it is still mainly used as a drawing tool and partially for the information processing. But is it all what we can expect from this very rapid developing technology? Prof. Gerhard Schmitt once stated:

” It is more than a tool, it is a new medium for architects and designers” [RSDC96].

This paper gives an overview about the influence of ICT on architectural design process and focuses on the development and application of a pattern grammar for the conceptual phase of a creative architectural design. It also describes different steps of substitution method that enables architects to comprehend consequences of his/her design decisions.

Extended Abstract


Used References

[RSDC96] Opening Conference of RSDC at TU Delft, October 1996 Prof. Gerhard Schmitt, Faculty of Architecture, ETH Zürich Lecture:”Non-physical architecture-a new approach to material form” [EOSM96] Wetenschap en Technologie voor Mens, November 1996 Grafton M. - Title of the article: ”Een Kleine Stap Naar Echte Cyborgs” p. 50-51 [Lync60] Lynch K. “The Image of The City” 1960 Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Sari95] Sariyildiz S. “X-Dimension in Building” Inagural Speech, TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, 1994 [Chri77] Christopher A. “A Pattern Language” 1977 [Sari91] Sariyildiz S. “Conceptual Design by Means of Islamic-Geometric-Patterns within a CAAD-Environment” PhD-thesis, TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, 1991


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