This paper presents some challenges of teaching computational geometry to architectural students, and proposes a multi-level pedagogical scheme introducing associative geometry and parametric modelling/design into architectural design education. It reports on two pedagogical experiences: one held in the context of a spatial geometry course in the first year of education, and another one, in a digital design studio with third-year architectural students. More specifically, it discusses the impact on design exploration of a library of interactive referents models introduced into the architectural studio. Situated in the'performance'paradigm of digital design methods, they allow for design object explorations based on modification of architecturally meaningful features (structural, environmental, functional, etc.). The form of a design object can thus'follow'function, structure, or even sustainability. The digital methods and the design knowledge transferred by the interactive models, together with their visual nature, are found to amplify the processes of'seeing-as'and the'reflective conversation with the situation'considered essential for creative design.