Shape perception is strongly influenced by the reciprocal relation between light and form. Computational applications can increase the number of design alternatives taking into account possible variations in the relation between light and form. The aim of this study is to discuss a pedagogical experience carried out with 5th semester architectural students, based on a series of exercises prior to the term project. The exercises were concerned with the relation between light and form from an aesthetical point of view and should be understood as examples for the use of computers as tools to creatively accelerate the process of design and learning. The paper is divided in five parts. The first one describes the conceptual background for the exercises, a descriptive method for the identification of light effects in architectural objects based on ideas of shape emergence. The exercises’ methodology is explained in the second part, referring to the use of computational applications in 3-dimensional modeling, material and light simulation. The methodology includes different phases: –creation of bi-dimensional compositions according to symmetry operations; –creation of a minimal living space assigning functions to spaces originated from the former composition; –analysis of the impact of light on the form and spaces created; –alteration of form and materials creating new light effects considering the functions related to the spaces. The exercises alternate work in computational environment in two and three dimensions with the use of mockups, lamps and photography. In the third part the results –student’s design steps– are described. In the fourth part the results are analyzed and some conclusions are outlined in the fifth and last part. The use of emergent forms combined with computational tools has proved to be an effective way to achieve an accelerated understanding of the impact of light on forms as demonstrated by the evolution of the students work during the term and by their final results concerning the term project.