ARCH 429 Digital Form Generation




Instructor: Robert J. Krawczyk




Class hours: Wednesday 9:00 - 11:50; lab arranged


Required The Codewriting Workbook: Creating Computational Architecture

Text: in AutoLISP, Robert Krawczyk, Princeton Architectural Press,



Suggested AutoLISP Programming for Productivity, William Kramer

Text: Delmar Publishers Inc. 0-8273-5832-6

AutoLISP Programming, Rod Rawls and Mark Hagen

Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc. 1-56637-417-0



Course Description:


Introduction to the development of algorithmic design methods, a basis for

computational thinking. Review programming in CAD systems; programming

basics in AutoCAD, extensive creation of 2D and 3D architectural forms, wall

patterns, CAD data interrogation, manipulation, and extraction.


Introduction to 2D and 3D parametric and rule based design. Investigation

of form creation based on a variety of mathematical relationships

including random generation and form generation based on collected data

values, including images. Also included is a review of CAD database

procedures for space planning and bill of quantities.


Mathematical and scientific concepts, such as, cellular automata, fractals,

and strange attractors are discussed and demonstrated.


Includes methods for creating models for the purpose of fabrication: CNC,

rapid prototyping, and automatic layouts for laser cutting; also for

structural and other engineering analysis.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of 2D and 3D CAD concepts and software; ARCH 226 or

426 and ARCH 427; or ARCH 428; ARCH 428 preferred. Software used in course:

AutoCAD 2D and 3D, optionally 3D Studio MAX; all programming done in

AutoCAD's AutoLISP.

Assumes no prior computer programming experience.




Students are evaluated by 31 exercises and 2 multi-part design projects.

Work is evaluated according to:


- understanding of basic programming concepts and methods

- understanding of CAD entities and the ability to generate and


-        quality of generated forms and developed algorithmics


ARCH 429 Weekly Schedule:



1. CAD Programming Overview Date: ____________


a. Introduction to CAD programming, basic programming concepts.

b. Introduction to AutoLISP.

c. AutoLISP: basic operations, variables, constants, expressions,



Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Increment and Decrement,

Assign a Variable a Value, Division and the Remainder Function,

Absolute and Square Root Functions, Powers and Roots, Expressions,

Translating Expressions, Degrees, Radians, and Trigonometric Functions,

String Functions, List Functions, Coordinate List, Polar, Distance, and

Angle Functions


Review Chapters 1.0 and 2.0

2. AutoLISP basics Date: ____________


Continue with Chapter 2.0


3. AutoLISP basics Date: ____________


a. Input and output functions. Creation of basic graphic


b. List definition and manipulation. Distance and angle

functions. Point creation.


Input, Output and Defining Functions, Getting Points and Drawing Lines,

Defining a Function, Drawing a Triangle, Drawing a Rectangle, Getting

Numeric Values, Displaying Numeric Values, Drawing a Rectangle by

Dimensions, Drawing Structural Sections, Draw a Nested Triangle, Draw a

Circle Based on Area, Draw a Pentagon, Draw a Rounded Rectangle, Draw a

Shape Using a Solid, Draw a Shape Using Blocks, Functions as Shapes,

Conversion of Numeric and String Values


Review Chapter 3.0


4. AutoLISP basics Date: ____________


Continue with Chapter 3.0


5. AutoLISP basics Date: ____________


a. Decisions and Loops


Decisions and Repetition, Making Decisions, Repetition When the Number of

Repeats Is Known, Repetition Based on the Evaluation of an Expression,

Repetition Determined Within the Body of a Loop By Value, Repetition

Determined Within the Body of a Loop By Input, Nested Loops, Draw a Set of

Nested Rectangles, Draw a Radial Spiral, Draw a Linear Series of Objects

Draw a Rectangular Array of Objects, Draw a Circular Array of Objects


Review Chapter 4.0

6. Form Development Date: ____________


a. Using mathematical functions to generate forms


Generating Simple Forms, Generating a Simple Linear Form, Generating a Form

on a Circular Path, Developing a Function to Test Curves, Generating a Form

Along a Vertical Path


Review Chapter 5.0


7. Form Development Date: ____________


Continue with Chapter 5.0


8. Form Development Date: ____________


Continue with Chapter 5.0


Individual form development project


9. Random Constructions Date: ____________


a. Form generation based on random parameters


Random Constructions, Random Relief Patterns from Basic Shapes, Random

Relief Patterns of 3-D Shapes, Random Perforations, Random Surface

Constructions, Random Floor Constructions


Review Chapter 6.0


10. Random Constructions Date: ____________


Continue with Chapter 6.0


11. Random Constructions Date: ____________


Individual form development project


12. Advanced methods Date: ____________


a. Advanced methods in form development: fractals, chaos, parametric design

methods, genetic algorithms, cellular automata, and strange attractors.

b. Constructions form data and images


Constructions from Data, Constructions from Weather Data, Constructions

from Images, Construction from Text


Review Chapter 7.0


13. Final Programming Project Date: ____________


14. Final Programming Project Date: ____________


15. Final Programming Project Date: ____________


Last day to submit assignments: Date: ____________






Submit: a CD with all the LSP and DWG files you generated; a DOC file with

all the code and script listings organized by assignment including

each drawing and view of each model you created; rendering included;

photos of fabricated work; animations in separate files with an



Grades: Based on the total points for completed assignments; each

assignment has a different number of points:


Grading scale: A 91 - 100% B 81 - 90% C 71 - 80%

D 61 - 70% E 0 - 60%


Late assignments: for every class day an assignment is late, 10%

will be deducted from that assignment


Attendance for lecture and lab is mandatory; starting with the third

absence, 5% of total course grade is deducted for each lecture

missed from your total accumulated points




Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented

disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must go through the

Center for Disability Resources office. The Center for Disability Resources

(CDR) is located in Life Sciences Room 218, telephone 312.567.5744 or