Implementing a description grammar:Generating housing programs online

José P. Duarte, Rodrigo Correia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The current goal is to implement a description grammar that generates housing briefs based on user and site data. The ultimate goal is to customize mass housing. This paper discusses these issues. Previous research proposed a mathematical model for the automatic generation of customized designs based on description and shape grammars. This paper describes the implementation of a description grammar that codifies the Portuguese housing design guidelines, as well as the intelligence of a human designer using them inferred after experimental work. Knowledge was sequentially converted from table format into English, Mathematical notation, and then the CLIPS language. Java Experts system Shell is the rule application engine, and JAVA and XML are used for coding theinterface and information tables, respectively.It describes how to implement a description grammar and it shows the feasibility of using them for automating the generation of housing briefs that contain enough technical information for design. In a subsequent step, it permits the automatic generation of housing solutions in real time. Backtracking is limited, theinterface does not provide visual clues for improving understanding of the available options, and the brief does not record intuitive or emotional information. It can help designers identifying the specifications of their clients' houses. It can be linked to a system that automatically generates, in a given language, housing solutions that match such specifications, thereby enabling the mass customization of housing. This paper describes the first practical implementation of a description grammar found in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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