There's a trend in architecture schools to offload the form-finding "creative 
burden" to computers with the use of shape grammars. Though they're a driving 
force in many departments, some will admit behind closed doors that they're 
also a bit of a red herring, and that years in the spotlight have yet to bear 
fruit. My own observations are that, rather than easing the burden, shape 
grammars have shifted the focus of labor: students trade their Olfa knives for 
a keyboard and mouse, and spend hours debugging Rhino scripts instead of 
erasing lines. Because most grammars are agnostic to physical law, they also 
generate needlessly inefficient, material-laden architecture, which rightfully 
sends the building scientists into the streets screaming blasphemy.

I've found that I'm most productive in creative endeavors when my goals are 
specific, resources are constrained, tools are comprehensible and transparent, 
and my attention is focused. I particularly love the sense of immersion that 
comes when sketching a scene, writing an essay, repairing a small engine or 
designing a program  (I think it's what Csikszentmihalyi termed "flow"). I'd be 
lost if I had to design an entire virtual world, as its far beyond the limits 
of my imagination,  and dissatisfied if I off-loaded the work to a machine, 
because I'd always know it to be a knock-off of the real thing. Given a 
lifetime, I might be able to pull off a reasonable virtual vegetable garden.

It's much more fun to go out into the real world, ask questions of it, and use 
tools like pencils, paint, objects or mathematics to help find meaningful 
answers. One example comes from learning to draw: I remember being fascinated 
by the ideas behind perspective drawing, and was humbled that such simple 
principles could have been hidden in plain sight for so long! After playing 
around with vanishing points, it seemed that there must be some very 
fundamental relationships between the points on the horizons and lines on the 
page. This gave way to an exploration of projective geometry, which I was 
fascinated to discover is an immensely powerful way of describing relationships 
-- from mechanical linkages to structural loads and conic sections. From here 
the lines on the page could be mapped to equations of lines, and from equations 
of lines to linear algebra. Finding these relationships in ordinary things was 
a great excitement, and though I've never used the knowledge to build a
 ny large CAD tool, my small experiments on paper and in silico have given me a 
new perspective that I'll happily hold for the rest of my life. To that end, 
I'd never want a computer to create a new world to live in, but instead be an 
aid to understanding the one right in front of me.

Finally, a few books worth mentioning:

Cliff Reiters "Fractals, Visualization and J", which chronicles an exploration 
of many neat ideas: from chaotic attractors, to celluar automata, fractal 
terrain generation and projective transformations. It uses J as its teaching 
language, but the code reads like "executable mathematics", and could be put 
into another form without too much hassle. Reasonably priced print copies are 
hard to find, but sells the eBook for less than the price of some 

And though I'm always skeptical of attempts to mathematize art and design, 
three books worth mentioning are:

Point and Line to Plane : Kandinsky
Notes on the Synthesis of Form : Christopher Alexander
On Growth and Form : Thompson
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