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Parametric Design in Architecture

Master's degree. Face-to-face.

Presentation

UPC School

The emergence of ICTs has led to a paradigm shift in architecture. Parametric design, digital fabrication, 3D printing and prototyping are revolutionizing the architecture of the twenty-first century, and creating new avenues for new models of sectoral development and new multidisciplinary professional profiles able to meet the challenges of this socioeconomic change.

An architectural project is a complex process, in which knowledge management must be linked to design in an operational way. Parameters are all the categories of information that affect decision-making when a project is carried out. This is the aim of parametric architecture: to go beyond geometry and the form, in order to design a system taking in all the variables/categories involved in the process. This is the potential offered by modern software tools: Grasshopper, Rhinoceros, Revit, Dynamo, BIM (Building Information Modeling), etc.; which change the design process, making architects into builders of systems and not just models.

In this context, many courses today provide a partial perspective, based on the direct application of software in numerical control machines to produce complex objects. However, this master's degree offers a comprehensive approach: it trains professionals in advanced architectural creation, focusing on efficiency in buildings and a commitment to the environment.

The Master's degree in Parametric Design in Architecture is divided into two independent postgraduate courses, which are focused dynamically on the creative process and the applied production phase. The first, Digital Design and 3D Fabrication, gives students the knowledge of parametric geometry, digital fabrication and contemporary architecture they need to develop the potential of parametric design. The course includes practical workshops on parametric software, geometry and numerical control machines, aimed at solving real problems in complex architectural design. The second, Performative Parametric Design, explores real applications through parametric design, and the behaviour of the objects designed are checked thoroughly, with the same rigour and requirements demanded of digital fabrication as those expected from traditional architecture. This module aims to create interaction and synergies between parametric design and the application of algorithms to other disciplines such as BIM, urban design, planning, construction, structures, installations, services and climate in order to obtain more efficient and sustainable results.

It's taught at the Barcelona Metropolitan School of Architecture, which has a residence for international students, as well as the latest technology in equipment and facilities. Its Model Workshop, digital laboratories and technology & innovation research teams CODA and SMIA,  as well as its involvement in the FAB-Lab Barcelona network of Digital Fabrication Centres, mean that students can explore all the possibilities of parametric design.

 


Aims

The programme aims to provide professional architects with the skills necessary to design architecture, applying the concepts and tools of parametric design.

Today, most contemporary architectural designs involve forms that are new because they have been achieved using computational techniques. This new development has led to a thirst for knowledge and a desire to imitate, which often leads to poor designs, which are inefficient and definitely not environmentally friendly.
We aim to avoid merely learning how to use parametric software, and focus above all on the design phase. For this reason, each of the two postgraduate programmes on the degree course contains a project workshop in which (as always in architectural design, even in the most traditional fields) knowledge and techniques from all fields of architecture will be applied: construction, urban planning, theory and technology.

Students completing this master's degree will have skills enabling them to work in architecture offices, bringing new skills and knowledge that will facilitate advanced architectural creation, making efficient and environmentally friendly buildings achievable based on parametric design.

Who is it for

Graduates in architecture, building engineers, quantity surveyors and/or surveyors, industrial engineers in various fields, civil engineers, and technical engineers of public works.

Professionals including consultants, planners and interior designers who have skills in the field of architectural design, building or urban planning, and other professionals wishing to refocus or supplement their skills or begin their own business project.

Content

Modules

The master's degree programme is organized into the following modules. If you don't wish to take the entire master's degree you can sign on one or several modules.

Digital Design and Fabrication 3D

Postgraduate course face-to-face. Start date: 17/10/2016. Sant Cugat del Vallès

Performative Parametric Design

Postgraduate course face-to-face. Start date: 27/02/2017. Sant Cugat del Vallès

Subjects

Parametric Geometry
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.
  • Coordinate systems and their application to CAD.
  • Analytical Geometry (Part 1): vectors, lines and planes. Solids. Examples of art, design and architecture.
  • Analytical Geometry (Part 2): the geometry of transformation. Iconic buildings that can be explained as transformations of simple solids.
  • Introduction to Differential Geometry: parametrization of curves and surfaces. A mathematical vision in CAD: free form tools. Simply constructible surfaces.
  • Introduction to resistance through form. Analysis of iconic buildings.
  • Putting knowledge into practice based on simple geometric CAD models, using visual programming and abstract algorithms, which are described mathematically as complex parametric models.
Digital Fabrication
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.
  • Linear works, describes flat cuts or engravings  with planar tools such as laser cutters or vynil cutters.
  • Superficial works, focuses in subtractive techniques with Z capacity, such as milling machines. General milling theory will be covered as well as toolpathing experimentation. We will mainly work on 3 and 4 axis, but 5 and more axis will be carefully studied.
  • Volumetric works, covers all additive techniques, focusing specifically on delta fused deposition modelling printers.
Architecture in the 21st Century. From Sing to Algorithm?
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.
  • The theoretical and historical basis of this type of architecture should help to distinguish between a mere digital design and fabrication course from what we mean by architecture - which in this case is parametric. The method used is the one used in teaching disciplines in the projects, theory and history departments.
Workshop I: Studio 1. Information and Systems
9 ECTS. 63 teaching hours.
  • Talking about architecture means talking about the projects workshop. In this area, we will not only put into practice the knowledge gained in the theoretical subjects, but the atmosphere of the workshop itself also shows how to convey specific knowledge that may not be part of the corpus of the other subjects.
Parametric Design and BIM
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.
  • BIM: Building Information Modeling. concepts, software and application.
  • PD: Parametric design. Concepts, software and application.
  • Integration of BIM and parametric design.
Algorithmics in Technology in Architecture
8 ECTS. 56 teaching hours.
  • Algorithms.
  • Basic parameters in structural calculation.
  • Tensioned construction as an example.Algorithms in structures.
  • Basic parameters in construction.
  • Digital fabrication on a large scale.
  • Basic parameters in conditioning, services and installations.
  • The algorithms of installations.
Parametric Design in Planning and Landscape
4 ECTS. 28 teaching hours.
  • Analysis and reproduction of various parameters, in which we can modify them and change them, and the city at the same time, using the perspective that they provide about the city or territory.
  • How to introduce real dynamism into the design for the city and territory.
  • What parameters we change and what they can have an impact on.
  • How we represent them in graphic form, and which design they lead to. Water, vegetable matter, infiltration/permeability, topography, infrastructure, density, uses...
  • How we can parametrize these concepts and how they can help us in design.
Workshop II: Studio 2. Postproduction and Building
9 ECTS. 63 teaching hours.
  • Practical exercises covering subjects related to the specific materiality of designs, the technology applied in the parametric design process, and new production, prefabrication and rapid prototyping processes.
  • Complex architectural systems that respond to a broader range of parameters.
Master Thesis
6 ECTS.
  • An original work/ project based on research, in which the student shows how parametric design has changed his/her skills when producing architectural designs. This research will be conducted with the assistance of a tutor and will be assessed by a jury of lecturers on the master's degree.

Management & Faculty

Academic management

  • Sastre Sastre, Ramon
    PhD in Architecture. PhD Thesis: Design and analysis of structures of bars, completely articulated, with great deformations. Professor at the Dept. of Architectural Technology I from UPC. Research member of LITA, CODA and SMIA, has developed his work and research on different subjects: Analysis and programming on architectural Technology, Computational Design Affair, Structural morphology in Architecture, Tensile structures, membranes, cables, Stereographics studies of solar radiation and illumination. He was Director of the Barcelona Metropolitan School of Architecture (2002-2005), Council membre (2004-2010) of EAAE, European Association for Architectural Education. Coordinator of the Architecture & Civil Engineering of CLUSTER (European Consortium linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research). He's lecture at abroad universities in: United Kingdom, Belgium, Turkey, Brasil, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica,

Teaching staff

  • Avila Casademont, Genis
    Has a degree in architecture from the Vallés Higher Technical School of Architecture (ETSAV), UPC 1998. Associate lecturer in the Department of Graphic Expression I at the UPC-BarcelonaTech. A member of the AR&M-Architectura: Representation and Modelling research group and co-founder member of CAIRAT, focusing particularly on specialized training in the representation of architecture and territory. An expert in 3D modelling and digital architectural representation. In 2000, he founded the professional office *.gif arquitectura.
  • Rull Bertran, Rosa Maria
    Architect. Lecturer in Projects at the Alicante Higher Polytechnic School (EPS-UA), the ESARQ-UIC, and the BAU - University of Vic. Founding partner of the studio Bailo+Rull - ADD + ARQUITECTURA
  • Santacana Juncosa, Amadeu
    Architect and lecturer at the Vallés Higher Technical School of Architecture (ETSAV) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC).
  • Sastre Sastre, Ramon
    PhD in Architecture. PhD Thesis: Design and analysis of structures of bars, completely articulated, with great deformations. Professor at the Dept. of Architectural Technology I from UPC. Research member of LITA, CODA and SMIA, has developed his work and research on different subjects: Analysis and programming on architectural Technology, Computational Design Affair, Structural morphology in Architecture, Tensile structures, membranes, cables, Stereographics studies of solar radiation and illumination. He was Director of the Barcelona Metropolitan School of Architecture (2002-2005), Council membre (2004-2010) of EAAE, European Association for Architectural Education. Coordinator of the Architecture & Civil Engineering of CLUSTER (European Consortium linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research). He's lecture at abroad universities in: United Kingdom, Belgium, Turkey, Brasil, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica,
  • Tornabell Teixidor, Pep
    A graduate in Architecture from the UPC. Doctoral student at the UPC. A researcher at CODA, the computational design equipment and light structures team at LiTA (the UPC's Laboratory of Innovation and Architecture Technology). A lecturer at the Massana College of Art and Design. CAD-BIM Manager - Chief Technology Officer (CTO) - at NIBUG, a Global Off-site Construction System. An expert in computational design, digital fabrication and BIM technology for building, specializing in industrialization and construction in wood.

General information

Credits
60 ECTS (378 teaching hours)
Start date
Classes start:17/10/2016Classes end:29/06/2017Programme ends: 28/09/2017
Timetable
Monday  16:00 to 20:00Wednesday  16:00 to 20:00Thursday  16:00 to 20:00
Taught at
ETSAV - Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura del Vallès
C. Pere Serra, 1-15
Barcelona - Sant Cugat del Vallès
Contact
Telephone: (34) 93 114 68 05
Degree
Master's degrees issued by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. To obtain this degree it is necessary to have an official or recognized university degree equivalent to a bachelor's degree or diploma. Otherwise, the Fundació Politècnica de Catalunya will only award them a a certificate of completion.

In the case of having a foreign degree check here.
Virtual Campus
The students on this Master's degree will have access to the My_Tech_Space virtual campus, an effective work and communication platform for students, lecturers and course directors and coordinators. My_Tech_Space allows students to find background material for their classes, to work in teams, ask their lecturers questions, consult their marks, etc.
Employment service
Students can access job offers in their field of specialisation on the My_Tech_Space virtual campus. Applications made from this site will be treated confidentially. Hundreds of offers appear annually of the UPC School of Professional & Executive Development Employment service .The offers range from formal contracts to work placement agreements.
Registration fee
7.200 €
See the section Discounts, loans and financial aid for possibilities of advantageous financing conditions.

Applicants are given the option of making a voluntary €5 contribution when formalising their enrolment. As part of the UPC's 0.7% Campaign, this donation will go towards meeting charitable needs in developing countries.

0.7%

Language of instruction
English
Payment of enrolment fee
The enrolment fee can be paid:
- In a single payment to be paid within the deadline specified in the letter of admission to the programme
- In two instalments:
  • 60% of the amount payable, to be paid within the deadline specified in the letter of admission to the programme
  • Remaining 40% to be paid up to 90 days at the latest after the starting date of the programme

Related entities

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