||This paper introduces new visual-physical design grammars for the design and manufacture of building assembly systems that provide visually rich, culturally resonant design variations for housing. The building systems are intended to be tailored for particular cultures and communities by incorporating vernacular, decorative design into the assembly design. Two complementary areas of computational design research are brought together in this work: shape grammars and digital fabrication. The visual or graphic aspects of the research are explored through shape grammars. The physical design and manufacturing aspects are explored through advanced digital design and fabrication technologies and, in particular, build on recent work on mono-material assemblies with interlocking components that can be fabricated with CNC machines and assembled easily by hand on-site (Sass, 2007). This paper describes the initial, proof-of-concept stage of this work: the development of an automated, visual-physical grammar for an assembly system based on a vernacular language of Greek meander designs. A shape grammar for the two-dimensional Greek meander language (Knight, 1986) was translated into a three-dimensional assembly system. The components of the system are uniquely designed, concrete “meander bricks” (Figure 1). The components have integrated alignment features so that they can be easily fitted and locked together manually without binding materials. Components interlock horizontally to form courses, and courses interlock vertically in different ways to produce a visual variety of meander walls. The assembly components were prototyped at desktop scale with a layered manufacturing machine to test their appearance after assembly and their potential for design variations (Figure 2). Components were then evaluated as full-scale concrete objects for satisfaction of physical constraints related to concrete forming and component strength. The automated grammar (computer program) for this system generates assembly design variations with complete CAD/CAM data for fabrication of components formed from layered, CNC cut molds. Using the grammar, a full-scale mockup of a corner wall section was constructed to assess the structural, material, and aesthetic feasibility of the system, as well as ease of assembly. The results of this study demonstrate clearly the potentials for embedding visual properties in structural systems. They provide the foundations for further work on assembly systems for complete houses and other small-scale structures, and grammars to generate them. In the long-term, this research will lead to new solutions for economical, easily manufactured housing which is especially critical in developing countries and for post-disaster environments. These new housing solutions will not only provide shelter but will also support important cultural values through the integration of familiar visual design features. The use of inexpensive, portable digital design and fabrication technologies will allow local communities to be active, cooperative participants in the design and construction of their homes. Beyond the specific context of housing, visual-physical grammars have the potential to positively impact design and manufacture of designed artifacts at many scales, and in many domains, particularly for artifacts where visual aesthetics need to be considered jointly with physical or material requirements and design customization or variation is important.