M. Mesa del Castillo, E. Nieto, A. Pascual

Universidad de Alicante (SPAIN)
The degree of architecture in the University of Alicante has achieved its tenth years of existence. During this time, the Department of Architectural Projects, the true core in the education of every architect, has developed a group of contemporary pedagogical tools thought to generate a proper identity in the new European University framework.

Both the increase in number of students in our School (about 1.000 students) and the new and complex demands of the European Space of Higher Education, together with the development of the new technologies for visualizing data, demand from us a new effort of description, visualization and evaluation of the results obtained during these ten years, in order to design new strategies for the future. The basis of contemporary knowledge can no longer be faced with the usual tools used in teaching architectural project. Current university webpages are organized in order to show their best face, but they don't allow you to know what really is going on, the very mistakes, or the political space the students are being grown up, for instance.

This work aims to design an interactive Atlas using Processing language to represent the evolution of architectural studies in Alicante from the beginning, to be continued throughout the future years, as a dispositive of simulation and monitorizing of its tendencies, weaknesses and hidden potentialities. In order to be able to visualize the political space our pedagogical tools implicitly propose.

Thanks to the development of computer science, there have been designed tools of high management capacity, as well as interactive and dynamic environments to explore the possibility of introducing parameters in real time on the web, in diagrams and maps.

Due to the recent apparition of user friendly programming languages for non professionals, the different sciences and disciplines have found a chance to design specific digital disposals to visualize enormous quantities of data, very difficult to read and to deal with before without the use of very expensive software and hardware.

The art of presenting visual data (InfoVis) is an applied discipline widely used in economic science, geography, risk analysis, sociological studies, graphic journalism, visual arts, corporate design, etc.
The techniques for displaying the information come from the first geographical representations and astronomical observations. Nonetheless, it was with the statistics science when more advanced models were developed to visualize and diagnose phenomena through the visual representation of them.

In this sense, processing is a programming language and an open source environment to be used in the construction of interactive software that need dynamic graphics and programmed function of database.

Therefore the aim of this research is the development of a digital tool that allow us:

- To manage our working area and our results more precisely, so as to visualize the profile of the Architect we are looking for in our Department.
- To incorporate a non-linear reading of the results and non strictly based upon the power relationship teacher/student, but one that enables to define more interesting stages for the new society of knowledge.
- to have a user friendly data base of our results capable of bringing forward personalized and critical visions of our work.
- To evaluate the results obtained by both teachers and students during the last ten years, enabling us to reconstruct our teaching tools.