Jessica Rosenkrantz
 jrosenk at

 Formal Design
 Knowledge and
 Programmed Constructs



 Assignment 04
 A shape grammar derived from Malevich's Architectons

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Malevich and his Architectons
Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) was a Soviet artist associated with the Constructivist movement. He is principally known (at least to me) as the founder of an art style known as Suprematism. P Suprematism was meant to refer to the idea of a "supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts." Suprematism although short lived was a fascinating and ultimately patently influencial style. For the first time it formed a systematic kind of abstract art. Typified by paintings like his Black Square on White, these paintings were non-objective. They rejected any idea about representation by not only rejecting typictal styles of representation but also by rejecting the idea that a painting should be of anything. The Black Square is not a painting of a black square it IS a black square. Suprematism was a supremacy of forms.

Within his suprematist work, Malevich developed a clear vocabulary of rectangles, triangles and circles. Often in bright and shocking colors these forms would hover against a white background.

From 1923 to 1928, Malevich produced a series of plaster sculptures that he referred to as Architectons. These sculptures are compositions of white ceramic blocks and represent imaginary buildings. The architectons always feature a large rectangular block to which other smaller blocks or surfaces connect. In some ways these works can be seen as a three-dimensional application of suprematism.

Project Description and Grammar Rules

One of the most striking of Malevich's Architectons is one titled "Gota1" which features a clearly recursive kind of logic in the ordering of the pieces. For my project I have chosen to write a shape grammar that produces towers in this fashion.

The rules I have chosen are quite simple. Please refer to this PDF file --> rules.pdf or this image --> rule-diag.jpg

Possible improvements:

  • working code (this code is missing the sideBlock rules and the add to top command is buggy)
  • a rule that adds decorative circles on the sides of blocks
  • a version of the program that uses the dimensions from the actual malevich sculpture