THE CUBE: AN INITIAL TOOL FOR TEACHING THE
Luis Gonzalez-Boado, Lino Álvarez
Universidad de Sevilla, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura (SPAIN)
The ability to imagine and express the resulting space architectural project has always been a key part
of the architectural science. For the correct teaching of architectural design is necessary that students
can have some ability to imagine and represent space. To imagine the space you need to have
minimal control of the basic variables that define it, light, color, texture, rhythm. Ideally, in a first course
would be to focus on an individual basis in every aspect of teaching. To represent the space, it is
necessary that the student has mastered the techniques of representation, drawing, 3D virtual
representations, and other means of representation. At the start of a first course in architectural
projects would be perfect that students dominate these techniques of representation and the use of
these did not pose an obstacle due the lack of control over them.
Considering the lack of initial knowledge, necessary to imagine and represent space, we seek a
physical tool, capable of filling these gaps so that we could perform a specific teaching of the
constituent elements of spatial definition without having to use techniques representation outside the
student's ability to first grade. This ensures that the student can focus their learning on those
constituent elements of architectural design education without distraction.
We propose the use of a cube 3x3x3 m. as support of all teaching, something like a blank paper but in
a three dimension space. Student performed during the course, each of them, a succession of scale
models 1:20, with the removable floor, so that the geometric figure may be seen by both the exterior
and interior. Each set of models was performed focusing on a specific topic, according to a fixed order.
All student proposals incorporated themes already seen, and the final conclusion marked a break from
the box itself and the opening and distortion of space.
Using this tool we observe that the time needed for students to be integrated into the exercise was
reduced considerably, reaching full involvement in the exercise almost immediately. This tool focused
on each of the constituent aspects of the teaching of the project caused a greater depth and extension
to its attention by the students. There was an increase in student's confidence in their own exercises
by having an easy way of representation available to everyone. The internal spatial vision of the
solutions provided by the students formed an integral part of their arguments, which are not likely to
happen when using only plans and drawings
The experience is overwhelmingly positive looking at teaching ability and results.
The project learning is the process through which new skills are acquired, skills, knowledge, behaviors
or values as a result of study, experience, training, reasoning and observation. This process can be
analyzed from different perspectives, so there are different theories of learning. Learning is one of the
most important mental functions and through the competition he gets real and effective professional
The learning process of the project must be oriented properly and it´s favored when the individual is
motivated. It is the result of individual cognitive processes by which they assimilate and internalize
new information (facts, concepts, procedures, values), we construct new meaningful and functional
mental representations (knowledge), which can then be applied in different situations to contexts
For the teaching of the subject of architectural projects is necessary to train the student in a certain
capacity to imagine spaces. Hence, testing of these spaces is always considered as a fundamental
part of architectural education.