Architectural toys at FAUP 2022/2023

One of the things I like about teaching is that even if I repeat the course every year, the results always change. Because students are always different, with different profiles, backgrounds and interests.

Despite that, this year I decided to change some things in the course, starting with the name. Now it is called "The ludic construction of architecture", paraphrasing the well-known book by Giorgio Grassi "The logical construction of architecture".

In addition, I reorganized the classes, synthesizing the subject and leaving more time to follow the work.

The result was many more candidates and works with a very high quality level.

Here some examples:

Pietro Alfano and Gábor Houchard work is inspired by the game Cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse), a collaborative drawing approach first used by surrealist artists to create bizarre and intuitive drawings. With a careful selection of images, the user can create several configurations that combine basements, facades and roofs.

Progressive Architecture - April 1966

Progressive Architecture was the later name of an American magazine on architecture, design, and drafting that began in 1920 as Pencil Points and, in 1945, changed for the final name until 1995. 

You can find all the digitalized issues here:

But the article I want to share with you is this, a real summary of 1966 about architectural toys. Enjoy!

PA-1966-04 by Marco Ginoulhiac on Scribd

Architectural toys at FAUP - 2020/2021

Another edition of my course at FAUP is over. This year I decided to change the course name for Architectural toys - A construção lúdica da Arquitectura (the ludic construction of architecture). The new name can cover more manifestations of what I call "educational project in architecture". I also reinforced and extended the field of contents because I found a deeper connection with arts, especially with the vanguards in the beginning of XX century. The new syllabus caused a little change in the student's works, now more abstract, that you can see below. Because the pandemic condition I canceled the cube exercise and we focused on the main practical or theoretical works. 

Ana Luis Fernandes Alago 


Ana Rita Santos Couto


Andrè Daniel Mendes Ferreira



Anna Lisa Senius 

Bruno Alves Guimarães


Carla Andreina Garcia Vera


Carolina da Silva Pereira


Chiara Cali'

Erika Nurmberger e Lucas Keller


Francisco Alberto Magalhães Peneda Ferreira

 Giulia Di Perna

Gustavo Kinjiro Murena


Maria Luis Coelho Nogueira


Mariana Costa Abreu



Mariana Rafaela Ramalho Araújo 


Mónica Cristina Jardim Dias

Parzival Pedro Schneider

Stéphanie Dijck Amorim da Silveira

Conversación ANIDAR

Aqui a minha conversa com Jorge Raedo no âmbito das "Concersaciones ANIDAR" da ARQA sobre Arquitectura y Nines.
Here my conversation with Jorge Raedo from ARQA's "Concersaciones ANIDAR" about Architecture and Childhood.


The first six books of Euclid's Elements by Oliver Byrne

Oliver Byrne (c. 1810-c. 1880) was an Irish author and civil engineer that wrote a considerable number of books on subjects including mathematics, geometry, and engineering. Among them, the most famous and really innovative is a very particular version of the first six books of Euclid's Elements that used coloured graphic explanations of each geometric principle.
Published in 1847 by William Pickering, the book has an extraordinary graphic and chromatic similarity with the Bauhaus design formatting. Indeed, in the whole book are used the primary colors red, yellow and blue (beside black of course). Flipping through its pages the reader hardly think that “The first six books of Euclid's Elements” by Byrne was written more than 70 years before the Bauhaus school opening.

The main aim of the book is to spread science, and the strategy is clearly graphical. In the introduction, the author say “The arts and science have become so extensive, that to facilitate their acquirement is of as much importance as to extend their boundaries. Illustration, if it does not shorten the time of study, will at least make it more agreeable”.

The interest of this book is not really the contents (even if the Euclid's Elements is one of the most important text about mathematics and geometry second only to the Bible in the number of editions and published since the first printing in 1482), but the real author’s afford in order to find the best way to show and to explain such complex and abstract concepts. 

Here the First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid on Scribd. Enjoy your reading.

Architoys new site

Architoys has a brand new site where is possible to see and purchase it's products. The company also produces custom products for other companies or institutions. If you have any idea or if you need a budged, feel free to contact the company through the form on the website. 

Visit the site at:
Follow Architoys on Instagram:

Ludic Architecture - the book

In 2017 I organized the Ludic Architecture congress at FAUP. Now I would like to share the whole book to spread it's contents. Sorry about the several languages, indeed I did not translated the entire book yet. It's one of the next steps... enjoy!

Thanks to Colexio Oficial de Arquitectos Galicia for hosting the PDF file.

Architectural Toys Course at FAUP 2017/18

One more teaching experience at FAUP in the Architectural Toys Course during the academic year 2017/18. And some more very interesting results made by the students that attended the course.

The first work is based on Aldo Rossi architecture and was developed by the student Silvia Scandola. It is a construction set made by simple and colored shapes, very close to the famous Italian architect's language. Even the box was designed as a part of the toy with nine separated spaces to pack the pieces after the use.   

The pieces

The box cover

The box interior

The second work I would like to present is by the student Lucie Adoud and is a very simple idea using the Velcro technology (few peoples know that Velcro is a patented product Several sticks made by foam and wraped by Velcro can be easily jointed creating several different geometries, structures and shapes.

The toy

An example of structure

Another example

The third toy is designed by Kathrin Benstem and it is inspired in the traditional tiled of the city of Porto. Kathrin created a toy through which it is possible to create the patterns that are used in the facades of Porto using stamps and ink. Is is very simple and easy to use and the results are always different. You can combine different stamps for different patterns. Beside that, all the toy has a vintage style that can really combine with the tiles tradition.

The toy

The stamps

Some results

The kit

The last work is by Mariana da Silva Ribeiro & Mariana Pereira Campos that created the "MagnetHouse - to build and color". The toy is based on magnetic joints between some simple volumes, made by steel sheet, and magnetic elements that simulate different materials.

The box made by the steel sheet volumes and the magnetic pieces

The volumes can create a building

The final result with the materials

LUDANTIA - I International Biennial on Architecture Education for Children and Youngsters

During three days Pontevedra, capital of Galicia (North Spain), will receive Ludantia, the first international biennial encounter on architectural education. It will be a great opportunity to join  a lot of people that, since several time, are working on this subject with different experiences and collecting high level knowledge. 
Biennial will take place in Pazo da Cultura de Pontevedra from 10 May to 17 June, 2018. From 10-12 May, will have papers with international speakers, seminars and children workshops.

Ludic Architecture - The book

After a successful event a great book!
With my scientific coordination, the book contains articles by the speakers that participated in the Ludic Architecture 2017 at FAUP:  Ana Neiva, Biagio Di Carlo, Brenda Vale, Carlos Prata, Diogo Aguiar, Elvira Leite, Fermín Blanco, Franco la Cecla, Gabriela Burkhalter, Gilles Brougère, José Lus González Fernández, Juan Bordes, Marco Ginoulhiac, Robert Vale, Rodrigo Coelho, Santiago Atrio Cerezo and Virgínio Moutinho.

A unique opportunity to read texts about this subject, the book is organized around three main chapters: objects (toys and educational objects), spaces (public, educational and collective spaces) and experiences (methodologies and testimonials).

Order by mail at AEFAUP bookshop: 

Article in Revista Internacional de Educación para la Justicia Social (RIEJS)

My article in the Revista Internacional de Educación para la Justicia Social (RIEJS)
It's written in Portuguese, but here you can read the english abstract:

"The article explores the connection between play and architectural design studio teaching. Approaching ludic a special interest is given to its practices and objects, the toys, considered capable to curry meanings and disciplinary values. Besides that, toys manipulation is, oftentimes, an action very close with the didactic of the design studio teaching. In a second moment the approach is directed to the design studio teaching and to its main traits, among which the exercise of freedom. The subject projects for an indeterminate future, this mean, in a free condition. In a third moment, the two theoretical paths cross each other and the connections between intellectual and material ludic behavior and design studio are stressed."

Ludic Architecture - IV International Encounter on Architectural Education, spaces and devices - FAUP

I must confess that I'm proud to announce that finally I'm organizing a large event about my main topic of interest: Ludic Architecture!
Indeed on 12 & 13 May 2017 I'll receive at the Faculty of Architecture of University of Porto several speakers that will present their creations, researches, creations, ideas about two main thematic blocks connecting Education and Architecture: the didactic devices and the educational spaces and activities. The devices, including toys, considered as artifacts used in the educational process in architecture. On the other hand, the consideration of the spaces and activities that frame the architectural education, as determinants to the success of learning processes in Architecture.
During two days, speakers from different professionals and academic areas, national and internationally, will address various topics of interest to architects, artists, educators and students, but also for professionals linked to the production and trade of toys and all that, somehow, are engaged into the field of education.

Save the date!

Early booking allows access to the full event at a reduced price and can be bought on the site of the event until 31.12.2016.

+ info 

"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