A Design Grammar for Identifying Spatial Uniqueness of Murcutt’s Rural Houses

  • Ju Hyun Lee
  • Ning Gu
Part of the KAIST Research Series book series (KAISTRS)


This chapter presents a design grammar to analyse and measure spatial uniqueness within a specific set of Murcutt’s domestic architecture. The research defines the design grammar that consists of four phases and 11 rule sets, from the first rule set generating pavilions to the last termination rule. After examining the tendency of the applied rules in the ten selected cases, each case is then characterised through a mathematical abstraction, so called ‘normalised distance (ND)’. ND enables measuring a group of main functional zones in each design as well as their uniqueness in the language of design. The design grammar can be applied for the creation of new design instances, consistent with their spatial characteristics. This computational approach is thus applicable in the broader design domains to extend other shape grammar studies.


  1. 1.
    Economou, A. (2000). Shape grammars in architectural design studio. In W. Mitchell, & J. Fernandez (Eds.) Proceedings of the 2000 ACSA technology conference: The intersection of design and technology (pp. 75–81). Washington DC: Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Knight, T. W. (2003). Either/or → and. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 30(3), 327–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stiny, G., & Gips, J. (1972). Shape grammars and the generative specification of painting and sculpture. In C. V. Freiman (Ed.), Information processing 71 (pp. 1460–1465). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Knight, T. W. (2000). Shape grammars in education and practice: History and prospects. International Journal of Design Computing (online).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gu, N. (2006). Dynamic designs of virtual worlds using generative design agents. Ph.D. The University of Sydney.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stiny, G., & Mitchell, W. J. (1978). The palladian grammar. Environment and Planning B, 5(1), 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cagdas, G. (1996). A shape grammar: The language of traditional Turkish houses. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 23(4), 443–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hanson, N. L. R., & Radford, A. D. (1986). Living on the edge: A grammar for some country houses by Glenn Murcutt. Architecture Australia, 75(5), 66–73.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ostwald, M. J. (2011). A justified plan graph analysis of the early houses (1975–1982) of Glenn Murcutt. Nexus Network Journal, 13(3), 737–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ostwald, M. J. (2011). Examining the relationship between topology and geometry: A configurational analysis of the rural houses (1984–2005) of Glenn Murcutt. Journal of Space Syntax, 2(2), 223–246.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lee, J. H., Ostwald, M. J., & Gu, N. (2015). A syntactical and grammatical approach to architectural configuration, analysis and generation. Architectural Science Review, 58(3), 189–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lee, J. H., Ostwald, M. J., & Gu, N. (2015). Using a JPG grammar to explore the syntax of a style: An application on Glenn Murcutt’s architecture. In J. S. Gero & S. Hanna (Eds.), Design computing and cognition ‘14 (pp. 589–604). London: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations