In this study, we examined the perception and understanding of spatial volumes within immersive and non-immersive virtual environments by comparison with representation using conventional media. We examined the relative effectiveness of these conditions in enabling the translation to a tangible representation, through a series of design experiments. Students experienced, assessed, and analysed spatial relationships of volumes and spaces and subsequently constructed real models of these spaces. The goal of our study is to identify how designers perceive space in Virtual Environments (VEs). We explore issues of quality, accuracy and understanding of reconstructing architectural space and forms. By comparison of the same spatial performance task undertaken within a Head Mounted Display, screen-based and real 2D environment, we are able to draw some conclusions about spatial understanding in immersive VE activity.