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Master in Advanced Architecture - Computational Design & Digital Fabrication

Institut d'Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya (IAAC)

  • Location Barcelona, Spain
  • Degree Type Master
  • Start Date Request info
  • Duration 9 months
  • Application Deadline Request info
  • Language English
  • Attendance On Campus
  • Dedication Full-time
  • Pace Instructor-paced
  • Tuition fees 18750 €

Program description

IAAC’s Master in Advanced Architecture (1 or 2-year program) is a programme to revolutionize current architectural approaches and methods training professionals to become changemakers in the arena of architecture and the built environment.

Based on a “Learning by Doing” and a “Design by Research” methodology the programme trains professionals capable to critically think out of the box and materialize novel architectural solutions for the current and future challenges related to the environment, society and to the linear and homogeneous approach in design and building.

Following a multidisciplinary and multiscalar approach, the programme presents an academic structure, unique in the world, where students can create their own customized study agenda according to their interests and their future career aspirations.

Applications for 2020/2021 academic year are still open, due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19. APPLY NOW

MAA01

Master in Advanced Architecture accredited by School of Professional and Executive Development at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Edition - 20th edition; Credits - 75 ECTS; Duration - 9 Months – From October 2020 to June 2021 // Full Time; Language - English; Tuition Fee - Non-EU: 18.750€ / EU: 15.000€; Admission - Architecture degree, Bachelor or higher degree from other related professions.

Context & Agenda

The digital revolution coupled with the unforeseen environmental, economical and social challenges our world faces today, urge architecture to shake much of the traditions and basis upon which it operated for the last decades, if not centuries. Design​ combined with multidisciplinary ​science​ are the two powerful tools for architecture to revolutionarily innovate, and therefore bring a positive impact and change to the built environment. The programme offers a diversity of high-end content in Design Studios ranging from urban scale to buildings, materials and wearable devices.

The seminars and workshops offered by the programme aim to enhance the technical, computational and digital fabrication skills of new professionals, able to work in the architectural field, learning from advancements from computer science, advanced manufacturing, synthetic biology, or material science and ecology.

Research lines

In its perspective of multidisciplinarity and transcalarity, MAA is organised in an open academic structure that combines mandatory and elective courses around different main research lines:

Research Lines for MAA01 and MAA02 (first year)

  • RS1: X-URBAN DESIGN, directed by Willy Müller.
  • RS2: SELF-SUFFICIENT BUILDINGS, directed by Edouard Cabay.
  • RS3: DIGITAL MATTER, directed by Areti Markopoulou.
  • RS4: ADVANCED INTERACTION, directed by Luis Fraguada.

Academic structure

The Master in Advanced Architecture is articulated in three different programmes: MAA01, MAA01+OTF and MAA02. During the first year (October 2020 – June 2021) the students enrolled in the programmes will work together in a common educational platform, with a common organisation and academic structure. After the completion of MAA01, students enrolled in MAA01+OTF or MAA02 will follow two different organisations and academic structures.

MAA02 combines the first year Master with a second year of investigation to develop a Thesis Project. During the second year of the Master in Advanced Architecture, students have the opportunity of working hand in hand with a series of renowned experts in various fields, to develop an in-depth individual research agenda. Students propose a thesis project, to be developed throughout the year, and are allocated with an Individual Thesis Advisor who specialized in relation to the topic proposed.

MAA+OTF combines MAA01 with the Postgraduate Programme in 3D Printing Architecture (OTF), which is a 6-month long intensive programme in the field of additive manufacturing of sustainable architecture.

Master in Advanced Architecture – MAA01 (1-year Program)

Within the current global context of rapid change, integrated with the potentials of digital technologies, IAAC’s Master in Advanced Architecture (MAA) is committed to the generation of new ideas and applications for Urban Design, Self Sufficiency, Digital Manufacturing Techniques and Advanced Interaction.

In this context IAAC works with a multidisciplinary approach, facing the challenges posed by our environment and the future development of cities, architecture and buildings, through a virtuous combination of technology, biology, computational design, digital and robotic fabrication, pushing innovation beyond the boundaries of a more traditional architectural approach.

Term 1 // Duration 3 months: from October to December

The 10-week introductory term provides a common grounding of knowledge and skills to incoming MAA students. It is a formative platform structured with an Introductory Design Studio aiming to offer the necessary skills for the ideation, development and application of novel research projects.

Additionally, there are four complementary seminars focusing on enhancing intellectual and technical skills in critical thinking, parametric design, digital fabrication and physical computing.

The first term serves as a base, anticipating challenges and ideas that will appear during the programme, in relation to self sufficiency, design complexity, innovative forms of planning and contemporary culture. A toolbox of both theoretical and practical skills for further research work.

  • Introductory Studio (8 ECTS credits).
  • Mandatory Seminar Programming and Physical Computing (3 ECTS credits).
  • Mandatory Seminar Advanced Architecture Concepts & Theory (3 ECTS credits).
  • Mandatory Seminar Digital Fabrication (3 ECTS credits).
  • Mandatory Seminar Computational Design (3 ECTS credits).

Term 2 // Duration 3 months: from January to March

The second term format is an Open Educational Structure where students can customise their curriculum, according to their specific academic interests and future career aspirations, choosing:

  • One out of four Research Studios.
  • One out of three two-term seminars.
  • One out of four one-term seminars.

Additionally, all students follow one mandatory seminar in computational design in order to continue developing their parametric design skills.

  • RS Research Design Studio (I-IV) (10 ECTS credits).
  • Mandatory seminar Computational Design II (3ECTS).
  • Elective Seminar Two-term Seminar // Chosen out of 3 Options (3 ECTS credits).
  • Elective Seminar One-term Seminar // Chosen out of 3 Options (4 ECTS credits).

Please note: The distribution of students for the Research Studios and Seminars of Term 2 is done according to several criteria listed in IAAC terms and conditions.

Term 3 // Duration 3 months: from April to June

The third term is structured similarly as the second term. During the term, students continue with their chosen Research Studio, as well as the two-term seminar. Additionally, they choose one out of four one-term seminars, which offer diverse skills with respect to those in the second term. Also in this term, all students follow one mandatory seminar in computational design in order to continue developing their parametric design skills.

  • Research Design Studio Chosen out of 4 Options (10 ECTS credits).
  • Mandatory seminar Computational Design II (3ECTS).
  • Elective Seminar Two-term Seminar // Chosen out of 3 Options (3 ECTS credits).
  • Elective Seminar One-term Seminar // Chosen out of 4 Options (3 ECTS credits).

Please note: The distribution of students for the Seminars of the Third Term is done according to several listed in IAAC terms and conditions.

Final Project

The fourth phase focuses on the necessary production of final drawings, prototypes and audiovisual material for the completion of the Development Studio Project of Term 3 (13 ECTS credits). During this period, students are developing the final prototypes, as well as a final written document, related to the Research and Development Studio that have been developed in the previous two terms.

All Terms

IAAC is organising Lecture Series along the academic year, counting on international invited experts on the fields of Design, Architecture and Technology. The Lecture Series is transversal to the IAAC educational programmes and students participation is mandatory as it is a transversal platform for widening knowledge, generate debates and network with other students and experts around the world. Lecture Series is credited with 2 ECTS.

Student profile

Candidates for the Master in Advanced Architecture are architects, engineers and designers from all over the world curious about how the world is changing and committed to driving this change.

Therefore the programme is oriented at graduates who wish to commit and develop their design research skills in the context of new forms of practice within architecture and urbanism, ranging from large-scale environments to tectonic details and material properties.

Once successfully finished the master, IAAC students will join the IAAC Alumni Community. This is today is an active and dynamic network of visionary professionals distributed around the world, promoting principles and applications of Advanced Architecture, exploring new academic and research initiatives, leading award-winning practices or working for internationally acclaimed firms and institutions.


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