A language-driven reverse-engineering tool for the analysis of architectural precedents: A Palladian case study

Keywords: Visual Language, Morphogenesis, Geometric Language, Space Syntax, Design Morphology


The analysis of precedents represents a significant point of departure for design processing. By applying a language/design analogy, this research introduces a reverse-engineering tool that helps guide the systematic analysis of architectural precedents. The visual tool consists of four main layers: the morphological, the semantic, the semiotic, and the pragmatic. To test the tool’s applicability, a prominent precedent from the Palladian designs is analyzed as a case study. By developing the tool and demonstrating its applicability for the analysis of the underlying regulatory and formative principles of the Palladian design, this paper aims to contribute to the knowledge of architectural design by introducing an analytical tool for decoding and externalizing the design language. This tool can be added to the existing toolbox of designers, and it can help reveal new insights into the multi-layered compositional language of precedents and their underlying architectonics. The findings related to the tool’s applicability and the compositional language of the Palladian design and its associative meanings and connotations are explained, discussed and illustrated by diagrams.


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