Spatial intelligence is highly important to architects. It is not something you’re inherently gifted at or just born with it—it is a skill you can improve through practice. As the old saying goes, practice means improvement. Luckily, we can increase our spatial intelligence with these nine enjoyable and easy activities:
The one who thinks ahead always has an advantage in this popular board game. To win this game, you must visualise different moves and what possible steps you and your opponent can do it—all without moving a single piece. This takes a lot of practice, but it is a good skill you can use in times when you need to compare before coming up to a decision.
Use spatial vocabulary
Instead of saying here or there to describe a place, try providing more specific descriptions, such as “on the uppermost right of the paper” or “the third box from your left”. Use words like above, alongside, behind, beneath, beyond, down, further along, in the back, in front, near, nearby, on top of, to the left, to the right, under, up, and upon.
Visualising the spaces for others is a good way of increasing your spatial intelligence. If you have children, practice with them in order to increase their spatial intelligence as well.
Play with LEGO
LEGO is the most famous toy to introduce spatial education to the kids. As an adult, there is nothing more fun than holding these modular blocks again and coming up with creative ways of putting them together. Who knows, the design you can come up with might be the inspiration for your new project, the buildings of the future.
Build a memory palace
Space and memory are connected to each other, hence, strengthening your memory can increase your spatial intelligence. To improve both skills, build your own memory palace (or house, or city, whichever you like). Mentally walk through series of spaces you created and try to remember the things in that space and how it's all related to one another. With time and practice, you can build a memory palace. If you do, you have better memory and spatial skills and more exciting memory competitions to share.
Create a mental map of the city
Similar to building a memory palace, you should use your own knowledge to know your city or locality. Challenge yourself and construct your own routes instead of activating wayfinding apps like Google Maps, GPS systems, or Waze.
Play video games
Grab your phone, computer, or your game controllers because games can increase your spatial intelligence. The game Empty, according to ArchiDaily was designed to test a person’s spatial perception. Another popular game called Minecraft also garnered the attention of architects and designers because it allows you to experiment with the aesthetics of a structure beyond the rules of Physics. Try these games out during your free time!
Solving any kind of puzzle is a great way to train your spatial intelligence. If you and your phone are inseparable, try downloading apps that exercise your brain. An app called Lumosity also improves your spatial reasoning. You should also try solving a Rubik's cube once in a while.
Pilot a drone
While the industry uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones for business, some people fly them for leisure. If you’re more of an outdoor person, you can fly a drone instead of play a video game. Piloting a flying object using a few joystick not as easy as it looks. There are a lot of factors that affects the flight of the drone, hence you need to manoeuvre and orient it real-time.
Of course, you can’t leave sketching out of the picture. As architects, we draw and doodle when we’re bored. Level up this hobby by drawing 3D geometrical images in different angles and perspectives. You can also try sketching your own apartment, the office, or your memory palace. Draw and sketch without pressure. Just have fun and let your creative juices flow.
Dewar, Gwen. “Spatial Intelligence in Children: Why Training Matters,” 2011-2016.
Lohman, David F. “Spatial Ability, and G,” July 8, 1993.