CAAD.HBT.ETHZ.CH . MAS0607 . DrawingByNumbers

ETH Zuerich - Startseite
Professur für CAAD


caad d-arch

Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture, Specialization in Computer Aided Architectural Design | 065-0005/6
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt, Philipp Schaerer
Chair of CAAD, ETH Zurich

Supervision: Kai Rüdenauer, Benjamin Dillenburger



In this module we like to introduce the concept of programming. You will create 2D and 3D intelligent CAD-objects. We will not draw them. We try to describe them by arithmetic expressions, numbers and variables. Starting point are selected graphic patterns which we try to analyse and define the specific composition rules. Like a recipe, you will write down step by step how the pattern is built up starting from a blank sheet. This joins the concept of algorithms. "An algorithm is a finite set of well-defined instructions for accomplishing some task which, given an initial state, will terminate in a corresponding recognizable end-state. Algorithms are essential to the way computers process information, because a computer program is essentially an algorithm that tells the computer what specific steps to perform."
In a second step we will program with the scripting language Vector-Script the investigated sets of rules. By the integration of parameters the generation of many variants in short time are possible. Changing the values leads to unexpected results.

Keyword: Parametric CAD
Parametric means related to one or more parameters. Practically speaking, the user can modify the value of the dimensional parameters. Distances, angles and rays can all be set, producing corresponding variations to the geometric entity to which the parameter refers and generating modifications in the entire CAD design.

Keyword: Scripting Languages:
Scripting languages allow you to define parametrically-defined and intelligent objects which can be easily used and edited. CAD Scripting Languages can contain all the information necessary to completely describe building elements as 2D CAD symbols, 3D models and text specifications for use in drawings and presentations. Many application programs include scripting language tailored to the needs of the application user.

Keyword: Vector Script:
Vector-Script is the scripting language component of the Vector-Works software package. It is a lightweight programming language which syntactically resembles Pascal, incorporating many of the programming constructs of that language. Vector-Script is actually a "supset" of the Pascal language, extending Pascal capabilities with a number of API's (application programming interfaces) which provides access to the features and functionality of the Vector Works CAD engine.

Assignment N° 1

non scripting

Starting point of the first Assignment are selected works of art (2D and 3D) which you will analyse and define their specific composition rules. Like a recipe, you will write down step by step how the pattern, image or object is composed. Present five to eight of them on the twiki. Select up to two and explain the 'recipe'. Think about a possible data structure for your favorite one (pseudo code).


Script minimum eight small patterns on your own design and parameters. Present your 'digital art' on the twiki on this page: DrawingByNumbersResults. Please organize yourself for a layout (table, icon/image size, download of each small script (no *.mcd files!),...

Assignment N° 2

non scripting

Select your favourite pattern/art and explain the 'recipe' in detail. Create a possible data structure and a overall concept of your script (functions, structures, procedures, scope of variables,..)


Script the windowScaleTool or the distanceAligneTool as described in the lecture.

Assignment N° 4



External Ressources:

-- PhilippSchaerer - 19 Oct 2006

Revision r12 - 17 Nov 2006 - 15:22 - AiBenjaminDillenburger
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