"The Cube" exercise at 2016/17 Architectural Toys course

One more year, one more "the cube" exercise...
Also this year my students faced this exercise with several interesting results. It's amazing how different can be the cube shape and how many materials can be used in order to create it. Every year it is a surprise! Here some examples:

Brice Petitdidier
Cesar Kimenez
Fabiana Contessoto
Fraçois Perre
Heike Raab​e
João Cunha
Júlio Dinis
Camille Klein
 Mónica Castellanos
 Salomé Torossian
Ana Pazos
Clàudia Usón Delso
Coralie Bertrand
Csongor Egyed
Hugo Gómez
Javier Blasco
Joana Tomaz
Lucie Červená
Margarita Konorova
Maria Constanza Trespalacios Vilches
Marta Manca
Marta Pimenta
Mathieu Laporte
Márton Kőműves
Michael Hafner
Miguel Alves​​
Patricia Parra
Renan Antiqueira
Rodrigo Alves
Victória Baggio de Freitas
Zeeshan Elahi Aziz
Zoé Duvauchel

Juguetes de construcción (Escuela de la arquitectura moderna)


Juan Bordes ©
From 18.02.2016 to 15.05.2016at Circulos Belas Artes in Madrid you can visit the exhibition Juguetes de construcción where you can see a part of the great architectural toy collection of the spanish sculptor and professor Juan Bordes. 
From the site: "Esta exposición analiza, a través de planos, bocetos, apuntes y objetos, el influjo de los juguetes de construcción en la historia de la arquitectura moderna. Existe, en opinión del educador suizo Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), una cierta pulsión infantil por la construcción, por la imitación de edificios con materiales cotidianos. De ahí la fascinación especial, en los niños, hacia los juegos de construcción. Estos comenzaron a fabricarse como derivación de los bloques que desde finales del siglo XVIII se utilizaban para enseñar matemáticas, geometría y dibujo; para visualizar operaciones abstractas.
Los fabricantes advirtieron las extraordinarias posibilidades de  estos nuevos juguetes y comenzaron a producir variantes en madera y cartón, y posteriormente en piedra, metal y plástico. Fue el pedagogo alemán Frederich Froebel (1782–1852) quien introdujo estos juegos en su elaborado programa docente de las escuelas infantiles, en la medida en que ayudaban a explorar en profundidad el razonamiento espacial, el pensamiento analítico y el diseño creativo."


More information here

Future + Toy Design Workshop at UABB - Urbanism\Architecture Bi-city Biennale Shenzhen


Conference poster
In June I have been in Shenzhen working on an agreement between the FAUP and A+E Design, a local architectural office. The main idea was creating traineeships program for FAUP students who could travel to China and spend six mouths working in very different professional framework. 
The agreement is almost done, the first group of students will travel to Shenzhen in March 2016 and I must confess that I'm very proud because I consider this agreement as a big step for new relationships between the Faculty of Architecture of Porto and other foreign institutions putting the FAUP in the leading world framework of schools. 
Meanwhile I was there, during a meeting at the Shenzhen Center for Design, they invited me to organize a toy design workshop during the opening week of UABB (Urbanism\Architecture Bi-city Biennale Shenzhen). When I got back to Porto I soon start working on this idea and I thought that it would be better to deeply involve the Faculty in the UABB. So from September to December I organized the FAUP participation to the Biennale and 2 conferences  besides the toy design workshop (here the link to the course presentation)... three really crazy months, for sure, but finally everything was done!

The chinese experience was absolutely amazing, from every point of view. Professionally, for sure, it is always a great experience because when we lecture in a different cultural environment, we really learn a lot. But also from the personal point of view it was highly enriching because I met good friends in a fantastic human ambiance. 


Starting with a "long" lecture in order to introduce the students to the main aspects of toy design, the course continued during five days. During this week participants developed their own prototypes and, on Wednesday, we organized a visit to two spaces: a wooden workshop and a toy factory near Shenzhen (near Shenzhen means something like 2,5 hours by car...). A very good experience for the students that finally realized how dolls are made. 


Finally, on friday, we organized a final presentation and each participant presented hits own toys to the audience by a powerpoint presentation. 

Some ideas and models in the very beginning

Some prototypes
Other prototypes

"The Cube" exercise at 2015/16 Architectural Toys course

Also this year I challenged my student in order to face the cube exercise and the results were amazing. I believe, more and more, that this kind of works are fundamental for students that are still far from the real production of the objects. Indeed they very rarely touch and feel the real material and the connection with wood, steel or concrete is limited to a certain patter in Autocad or a texture in some other 3D software.
Also this time the the main rule was that the solid produced should be inscribed or circumscribed in a cube, in other words the cube must be "readable" into the solid. The unique change that I introduced this year is reducing the cube size. Last year was 20 cm and this year was 15, this because the space the all cubes occupy in my office...