This study investigates the roles of representation and construction in enhancing students'' learning in a tectonic design studio. Students of architecture use 3D CAD, physical models and drawings, either alone or in hybrid combinations in the design, development and communication of their design processes. Each of these media has intrinsic attributes that limit or enhance students'' ability to engage in issues of architecture. This can have a significant influence on students'' learning of conceptual and tectonic design, particularly in their early years of study. Tectonic design, as an element of the architectural design process that involves the designerly consideration of issues of construction, is an important skill that is integral to architectural practice. The unique problem based learning environment of the design studio offers opportunities for the development of deep learning approaches to tectonic design, however these are limited by the way students engage in representational media. This research is based on an ethnographic case study of a cohort of second year architecture students at Deakin University, Geelong, in 2002.