Style representation in design grammars

Sumbul Ahmad, Scott C Chase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of style is relevant for both the analysis and synthesis of designs. New styles are often formed by the adaptation of previous ones based on changes in design criteria and context. A formal characterization of style is given by shape grammars, which describe the compositional rules underlying a set of designs. Stylistic change can be modelled by grammar transformations, which allow the transformation of the structure and vocabulary of a grammar that is used to describe a particular style. In order for grammars to be useful beyond a single application, they should have the capability to be transformed according to changing design style needs. Issues of formalizing stylistic change necessitate a lucid and formal definition of style in the design language generated by a grammar. Furthermore, a significant aspect of the definition of style is the representation of aesthetic qualities attributed to the style. We focus on grammars for representing and generating styles of design and review the use of grammar transformations for modelling changes in style and design language. We identify a gap in knowledge in the representation of style in grammars and in driving strategic style change using grammar transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-500
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Planning and Design
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • shape grammars
  • style
  • description schemes
  • generative design
  • product design

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