Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Computational Design

Computational Design
Second semester
Propedeutic Introductory Module
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff

Teachers will agree appointment for turorías via e-mail.


Among the areas of knowledge that a student needs to acquire throughout their architectural studies, graphic representation plays a significant role as it is through drawing that ideas and concepts are transmitted.

During the last 15 years, information technology has changed the way in which projects are presented, in that digital media bring greater control over what is being planned. On the other hand, the development of three-dimensional plans opens up the possibility for virtual construction, with a greater capacity for experimentation as well as the exchange of information between the various agents involved in the development of a project.

Apart from graphic representation, it is possible to make a cybernetic construction of what has been planned using a computer. By means of numerical control machines, digital plans can be converted to real analogical objects, something which is radically changing the nature of architecture.

For this reason the general framework for Computer Studies courses as applied to architecture is designed to enable ESARQ students to use these new technologies, which are important tools in contemporary architecture. However, this does not pretend to forsake manual drawing, analogical and digital courses complement each other.

Pre-course requirements

Basic knowledge of the Windows operating system and of geometry


To train students and provide them with the knowledge, skills and above all judgement when it comes to knowing which tool to choose for a particular requirement of graphic spatial expression (within the 3D universe). The main objective is to provide support for the assignments of the architecture course for which spatial representation is important, such as projects, urban planning, structures, construction, etc.


  • 03 - To acquire adequate knowledge of spatial representation systems applied to architecture and urbanism .
  • 04 - To acquire knowledge and apply it to the analysis and theory of form and the laws of visual perception in architecture and urbainism.
  • 05 - To acquire adequate knowlege of metric and projective geometry applied to architecture and urbanism.
  • 06 - To acquire adequate knowledge of graphic surveying techniques in all stages, from sketching to scientific restitution.
  • 10 - To acquire adequate knowledge and apply it to the fundamentals of topography, hypsometry, mapping and terrain modification techniques in architecture and urbanism
  • 1-T - Ability to apply graphic procedures to the representation of spaces and objects.
  • 2-T - Ability to conceive and represent the visual attributes of objects and master the proportions and techniques of drawing, including digital forms

Learning outcomes

On completing the course, students will know how to create, edit and present architectural projects in digital formats, as well as being able to apply their computer knowledge to design applications.


1. Introduction

2. Cartesian space: grey scale, snap-to-grid, orthographic, etc.

3. Layers

4. Help (list, ID, area)

5. 2D geometry

6. Texts, signage, formats, templates, DWT

7. Editing

8. Output - DWF, PLT and PDF printing

9. UCS. The Z axis.

10. Scale

11. Visualisation, zooms, Dview

12. Blocks. Groups.

13. Delimiting

14. Solids, primitives, booleans

15. Hatches, images

16. Paper space

17. Introduction to render

Teaching and learning activities

In blended

 Classes are a mix of theory and its immediate practical application. The course aims to train students to be able to find solutions intuitively, taking geometry as a starting point.

Classes will be given either virtually or on-site as indicated in the schedule. Deliveries will always be made through the assigned digital platform.

Class exhibition
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 1
Class participation
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 1,5
Clase practice
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 1
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 1
Individual or group study
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 4,5

Evaluation systems and criteria

In blended

Continuous assessment, by means of regular corrections of the various set assignments during the course. Attendance is compulsory (virtual or not), in that students who fail to attend 80% of the classes will not be examined. Students must submit an “analogical” portfolio containing all of the set work printed on paper as well as a digital portfolio on a CD or DVD containing the virtual reality animations and exercises. In addition there will be a final examination. The portfolio accounts for 30% of the final mark, the examination 30%, and the final assignment 30%. The missing 10% will be related to attendance.

Evaluation methods: Computer Science

Submission of assignments + participation in the class + attendance + examination + portfolio + final assignment

  1. All of the assignments are compulsory. Failure to hand in an assignment will entail failing this subject.
  2. Participation in the class: the course format is simultaneously theoretical and practical which means that any doubts or concerns that students may have should be raised during the class.
  3. Attendance. The course content starts out with basic concepts that become more complex as the course progresses. Missing a class will mean experiencing problems during the following classes.
  4. Examination. At the end of the course there will be an examination.
  5. Final assignment. A 3D model will be delivered via digital platform.
  6. Portfolio. At the end of the course, students must hand in a portfolio in A3 format as well as sending all of the course assignments via digital platform.

Bibliography and resources

Cook, Peter. Drawing. The Motive Force of Architecture. Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Burry, Mark, Jordi Coll Grifoll, and Josep Gómez. Sagrada Familia S. XXI: Gaudí Ara/ahora/now. Barcelona: Edicions UPC, 2008.

Candela, Félix, Cueto Ruiz Funes, Juan Ignacio del, and Angustias Freijo. Félix Candela, 1910-2010. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, 2010.

Pozo, Jose Manuel, Geometría métrica y descriptiva para arquitectos. UNAV, Pamplona, 2010.

Gaudí, Antoni, and Alberto T. Estévez. Gaudí. Madrid: Susaeta, 2003.

Abbott, Edwin Abbott. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1963 (1884).

Parker, Matt. Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension: A Mathematician's Journey through Narcissistic Numbers, Optimal Dating Algorithms, at Least Two Kinds of Infinity, and More. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.

Fugier, Mary, Jerry Hambly. Rhinoceros v5.0 Training Manual (Level I and II). McNeel, 2013.










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