Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Introduction to Architectural Construction

Introduction to Architectural Construction
Second semester
Propedeutic Introductory Module
Introduction to Arquitecture
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff

Dr. Jordi Roviras

Wednesday 10:00-12:00 and Friday 10:00-12:00

Or by appointment. In order to make an appointment, please request one by writing to jroviras@uic.es


Cristina Garcia-Castelao

Wednesday 10:00-12:00

Or by appointment. In order to make an appointment, please request one by writing to criscastelao@uic.es


The course aims to increase students’ knowledge of materials. Students will be presented with the challenge of turning a concept into a reality based on the consideration of generic elements, thus introducing the requirements that generally determine any constructive experience, in this case: the terrain, the containment systems, and the paving/flooring or surface finishing of an exterior space.

The main objective of this course is to introduce the student to interventions in public spaces, learning the construction techniques necessary to mould and play with the land, creating new topographies and subsequently paving them according to what they are to be used for (garden, children’s playground, pedestrian thoroughfares, roads, etc.). At the same time, the course aims to teach students about all the basic requirements and elements involved in defining a project of this type: gradients for the correct run-off of water, water collection elements, tree wells, steps and stairways, boundaries or curbs, ground stabilization or earth containment systems, etc.

It is proposed that construction should be learnt using hand-drawing as a tool for contemplating and trying out ideas and as a learning tool for reading and assimilating construction terms.

Pre-course requirements

Pre-course requirements for this subject are minimal, given that it is the first construction subject that students will take during their academic studies. However, a basic mastery of hand-drawing is required, given that the practical sessions and the corresponding final submission of technical work should be developed by hand.


To familiarize students with construction techniques in accordance with certain requirements, materials and techniques. It is understood that a construction system should always provide an effective solution to the main demands of the architectural project.

To approach the constructive vision from the design process, revealing that all the elements produced respond to the mastery of certain systems, making students familiar with questioning themselves about how things should be done.

To introduce students to an understanding of materials from the perspective of their behaviour and their respective unions: agglomerates, couplings and aggregates.


  • 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

To provide students with the capacity to determine the most suitable construction materials in each case in order to offer a solution for paving an exterior space, an urban space and, at the same time, to be able to establish the most appropriate building method. 


- The land: uses and outcomes. Architecture of the land, territorial engineering.

- Earth retaining systems.

- Introduction to paving: boundary and curb components and water collection.

- Paving that is agglomerated and aggregated to the land. Consolidation methods.

- Paving connected to the land. Components and systems.

Teaching and learning activities

In blended

The course is structured in two main modules: the first on theory and the second on practical exercises.

The theory module concentrates on elements that demonstrate examples of paradigmatic images with a strong presence of classic practitioners of contemporary architecture. Every week the theoretical part will always involve carrying out a practical case study to solve and listening to a guest speaker who will be a specific manufacturer to present some of the materials used in creating exterior paving. The central idea is that the weekly master class on theory will always be followed by a practical exercise on what has been covered in class.

The practical section is about demonstrating the knowledge acquired during the first part of the course and extending and applying it through the technical development of the exterior spaces of the project (paving) formulated during the Planning course. This helps to give students a very hands-on way of applying what they have learnt in the construction course to their project.

Also, during the course a visit will be organized to an architectural project in progress and this will be related to intervention in an exterior space, directed by the project’s architect in person, thereby offering students the opportunity to learn in situ about the constructive process of the works and the final outcome of a project of these characteristics.

Class exhibition
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 34-T 1,5
Class participation
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 34-T 0,4
Clase practice
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 34-T 0,8
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 34-T 0,3
Individual or group study
03 04 05 06 10 1-T 2-T 34-T 3

Evaluation systems and criteria

In blended

Evaluation is based on attendance, participation in class, practical project grades (A1 for the panel and A3 for the portfolio) and the final examination grade. Students’ capacity to acquire concepts and evidence of a positive and consistent sense of logic will also be evaluated.

The main points to highlight in the evaluation criteria are as follows:

- Students attendance and participation in class is utmost important for the well functioning of the subject

- Students who attend less than 40% of classes will fail automatically

- The student’s participation in class will be assessed, especially in the practical classes on case

   studies and project development

- To pass this subject it is essential to complete the course project and sit the final exam

- Students grades under a 3/10 will not be taken into account for evaluation purposes

- All work submitted after a deadline or badly presented will not be accepted

- In the second sitting there will be a final exam which will determine the passing or failing of the subject

Bibliography and resources

 Fundamental bibliography:

  • JOSEP-LLUÍS GONZÁLEZ: "Les claus per a construir l'arquitectura". Vol 1, 2 i 3.
  • REID, D.A.G.: "Principios de Construcción". Barcelona, GG, 1980.
  • Generalitat de Catalunya "Diccionari Visual de la Construcció".
  • ASTRID ZIMMERMANN (Ed.) "Constructing Landscape. Materials, Techniques, Structural components". Editorial BIRKHAUSER.
  • TECTÓNICA nº 30 "Espacios exteriores"

Consulting bibliography:

  • Revista DETAIL (tots els exemplars en general)
  • Revista TC Cuadernos (tots els exemplars en general)
  • “Refer Paisatges”, editorial Arquia/temas
  • “Jardins insurgents”, editorial Arquia/temas
  • "Paissatge: Producte/producció", editorial arquia/temas
  • “Tratado de la construcción”, editorial Gustavo Gili. Autors: Heinrich Schmitt i Andreas Heene.
  • “Introducción a la Construcción I y II”. Monografias ETSAB 3.17 Y 3.18.
  • “Manual para el uso del adoquín cerámico”. HISPALYT-Sección adoquines

Interesting architects for this course:

  • Albert Viaplana i Helio Piñón
  • Enric Miralles i Benedetta Tagliabue
  •  Alvaro Siza
  • Eduardo Souto de Moura
  • Carlos Ferrater
  • Caruso st.John Architects
  • Aranda Pigem Vilalta (RCR arquitectes)
  • Batlle i Roig arquitectes
  • Michele & Miquel
  • Fernando Menis
  • BCQ architects


Teaching and learning material