Day 1_Ice Breaking activity: ‘Architecture’ Heads Up Game

Twenty years of teaching architectural design and not a single ‘Day 1′ without feeling excited… First impressions are important, but I am not referring so much to the stage as to the content: how to transmit the passion for architecture and the luckiness of teaching it without overwhelming students? Last Monday, once again, it was a real pleasure to meet my students, try to imagine what their expectations are, and launch a new studio to try to make them live the best possible learning experience. I must admit that I was looking for the students’ records at the university’s website (their photos and names) while trying to imagine what they would be like… but nothing is as rewarding as meeting them in the classroom.

Current circumstances are claiming social distancing, and Spanish universities impose many sanitary measures to prevent any outbreak of COVID 19: everyone must have their fixed workspace, conveniently separated more than 1.5 m, masks are mandatory both in the classroom and all campus areas (even outside!).

The studio’s first day is usually based on mutual introductions (round of short questions) and some activity to break the ice. In previous years, the ‘Architectural Pictionary‘ had worked perfectly (and the students had raised high sugar level with the candy jar), but this time, something had to be devised without contact, without paper, with absolutely nothing physical to share.

I proposed an architectural adaptation of the well-known game Heads Up. We did an outdoor session (yes, on the campus lawn), where the students played in pairs receiving the specific card that their partner was ‘supposedly’ wearing on their heads. We played with two series of cards: ‘Famous Buildings’ and ‘Famous Architects’ (paying special attention to an equal number of female and male architects).

“Am I a building? Am I located in Spain? Am I very big?”
“Am I an architect? Am I a female architect? Am I alive?…”

And we had a lot of fun…




Welcome to Design Studio 3!

This blog aims to collect the contents, reflections and results of new teaching experiences.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, I will be responsible for teaching one of the 3rd-year Design Studio groups of the Architecture School of Valencia (Universitat Politècnica de València). I have been teaching Architectural Design for 20 years now, and I have done it in all bachelor and master levels and under many different conditions. This time, as in the two previous years (Design Studio 5 2018-2019 and 2019-2020) I will be teaching in English, according to an innovative teaching program within an internationalized context, and for a group composed equally of foreign and local students.

I want to express a warm welcome to my students and dedicate this blog’s content to them. I extend this welcome to other students of architecture and to all who pass through here and take a look.

Come in… Yes, we are open!