L-Systems   (2003)

For centuries architects have been inspired by nature's forms and geometries. Their designs have been influenced by her structures, proportions, colors, patterns, and textures. Architects have incorporated these influences in what has been primarily an empirical process.

It is only in the past decades that much of the underlying logic, mathematics and chemisty of nature's forms has been better understood. In the late 1960's, the biologist Aristid Lindenmayer proposed a string-rewriting algorithm that can model simplified plants and their growth processes with an astounding ease. This theory is now known as L-Systems.

This project examines whether this algorithm can open up possibilities in the field of architecture. Can L-Systems be applied to the production of architectural form? Could they serve additional functions such as the creation of an organizational logic, the segmentation of space, or the development of a structural system?

This project is divided into two parts. The first part explores methods for visualizing L-Systems through the use of mapping schemes and turtle graphics. It considers which characteristics of a design are intrinsic to the logic of L-Systems. The second part of the project expands the L-Systems language to incorporate aspects of parametric systems. This allows L-Systems to respond to environmental influences and to adapt to a wider range of architectural design requirements.

Step-by-step interpretation of an 8th generation L-Systems string

Launch the complete 2003 L-Systems presentation:
L-Systems in Architecture (requires Flash) 

Further reading: The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants (PDF), by Przemysław Prusinkiewicz