Journal Article
Making Grammars: From Computing with Shapes to Computing with Things

Recent interest in making and materiality spans from the humanities and social sciences to engineering, science, and design. Here, we consider making through the lens of a unique computational theory of design: shape grammars. We propose a computational theory of making based on the improvisational, perception and action approach of shape grammars and the shape algebras that support them. We modify algebras for the materials (basic elements) of shapes to define algebras for the materials of objects, or things. Then we adapt shape grammars for computing shapes to making grammars for computing things. We give examples of making grammars and their algebras. We conclude by reframing designing and making in light of our computational theory of making.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKnight T, Stiny G
JournalDesign Studies
Volume41
Issue Part A
Pagination8-28
Date Published11/2015
Abstract

Recent interest in making and materiality spans from the humanities and social sciences to engineering, science, and design. Here, we consider making through the lens of a unique computational theory of design: shape grammars. We propose a computational theory of making based on the improvisational, perception and action approach of shape grammars and the shape algebras that support them. We modify algebras for the materials (basic elements) of shapes to define algebras for the materials of objects, or things. Then we adapt shape grammars for computing shapes to making grammars for computing things. We give examples of making grammars and their algebras. We conclude by reframing designing and making in light of our computational theory of making.

DOI10.1016/j.destud.2015.08.006