Digital Design and 3D Fabrication

Postgraduate course. Face-to-face.


UPC School
This postgraduate course is also part of the training track for the master's degree Parametric Design in Architecture.


Parametric Geometry
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.

PG. 1 Foundations of architectural geometry

  • 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.

PG. 2 Introduction to programming

  • Programming in Python inside Grasshopper framework with GHpython applied to geometry (loops, conditionals, functions, recursion).
Digital Fabrication
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.

DF. 1 Introduction.

- Matter, machine, information.

DF.2 Machining.

- Rationalization of geometry for planar subtractive operations with numerical 2d cutting tools (laser, die cutters).

  • Rationalization: fabrication based remeshing. Strategies: Developable strips, PQ meshes, triangular strips, curved folding.

  • Mesh fabrication assessment and statistical analysis.

  • Fabrication optimization: nesting, joints.

- Superficial and volumetric subtractive operations with 3d tools (CNC milling machine). Mill tips, milling materials, toolpath. Analysis, experimentation and research.

  • General CNC and hardware instruction.

  • Toolpath coding.

  • Milling project with small and large machine.
Architecture in the 21st Century. From Sign 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.

S1.0 Workshops.

  • Digital seminar: geometry bootcamp.

  • Physical seminar: topology and curvature.

  • Digital seminar: topology workshop: foundations of remeshing..

  • Digital seminar: optimization and evolutionary multi-criteria optimization.

S1.1 Form finding.

  • Form active and bending active strategies: implementation, simulation and analysis.

  • Form active: springs, catenary, funicular, trusses, tensile.

  • Bending active: compliant mechanisms, hinges, rods, planks, shells.

  • Complex modelling: hybrid systems.

S1.2 Building systems optimization.

  • Analysis and parametric modelling of case study building systems.

  • Building system adaptation to arbitrary surface and proposal of geometrical and constructive optimization.

The UPC School reserves the right to modify the contents of the programme, which may vary in order to better accommodate the course objectives.
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(189 teaching hours)

Start date:
Start date:15/10/2018 End date:20/02/2019
Monday  16:00 to 20:00Tuesday  16:00 to 20:00Wednesday  16:00 to 20:00
Taught at:
ETSAV - Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura del Vallès
C/ Pere Serra, 1-15
Sant Cugat del Vallès

Registration fee:
3.950 €

Language of instruction:

Registration open until the beginning of the course or until end of vacancies.

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