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Parametric Design in Architecture

Master's degree. Face-to-face.

Presentation

4th EDITION
UPC School

Master’s degree Parametric Design in Architecture is an international program that seeks to teach and explore technology efficiency. MPDA is oriented to the integration of computational tools and digital manufacturing technology in building systems and architectural design. MPDA focuses in :

  • Design and optimization of lightweight building systems, mainly through form-finding processes, including tensile architecture.

  • Integration with professional workflows and industrial standards, although keeping a wide space for experimentation, research and industry oriented innovation.

  • Generation of efficient form by efficient means: guiding computational thinking and tools to the simplification of processes and material efficiency.

The architectural project is a complex process, in which knowledge management must be linked to design in an operational way. In this regard, 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. Hence the potential offered by modern software tools and programming frameworks (Grasshopper, Python), is to change the design process and turn architects into builders of systems.

This master's degree offers a comprehensive approach training professionals in advanced architectural creation,  oriented to efficiency in buildings and commitment to the environment. The course opens with practical digital and physical workshops on parametric software, geometry and numerical control machines, aimed at solving real problems in complex architectural design. The second semester, explores real applications through performance driven design aiming  to create interaction and synergies between parametric design and 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 where its Model Workshop, Digital Laboratory and Technology and Innovation Research Team CODA support students to explore all the possibilities of parametric design.



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Aims

Students completing this master's degree will be able to work in offices, bringing new skills and knowledge that will allow them to tame complex architectural creation under the new paradigm based on parametric design:

  • Increase the design topological space while building resilient flexible design models.
  • Design and analysis of building systems, including lightweight systems.
  • Build expertise on rationalizing complicated geometry into complex structured data ready to fabricate.
  • Avoid unexpected overcharges linked to design changes.
  • Work in teams on interoperability platforms.
  • Apply optimization algorithms in any design field and at different design stages.
  • Identify patterns on large datasets.

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

Subjects

Studio 1
6 ECTS. 48 teaching hours.

S1.FF Form Finding of efficient structures

  • 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.BSO  Building System Optimization

  • Analysis and parametric modelling of case study building systems.

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

Digital Fabrication
6 ECTS. 48 teaching hours.

DF.2D Machining

Planar subtractive operations with 2d cutting tools:

  • Remeshing strategies.

  • Implementation of processing techniques on complex surfaces.

  • Metrics extraction, evaluation and statistical analysis, both local and global.

DF.3D Machining

Superficial and volumetric subtractive operations with a CNC milling machine:
  • General CNC and hardware instruction.

  • Toolpath coding.

  • Analysis, experimentation and research based on a milling project with small and large machines.

Parametric Geometry
5 ECTS. 40 teaching hours.

PG.AG Analytical 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.

PG.SG Synthetic Geometry

  • Coordinate Systems. Data structures and points. Lines, curves, vectors.

  • Surfaces, solids, planes.

  • Meshes. Mesh operations. Mesh tools. Dynamic meshes.

From Sign to Algorithm
5 ECTS. 40 teaching hours.
  • Introduction to Programming focuses on the very basic principles behind computer programs execution with an initiation to the design of algorithms using the Python language in Grasshopper environment. RhinoScriptSyntax and Math libraries are presented gradually along the course.
Workshops 1
5 ECTS. 40 teaching hours.
  • Digital seminar: Geometry and visual programming Bootcamp.

  • Physical seminar: Topology and curvature with a guest expert teacher.

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

Studio 2
6 ECTS. 48 teaching hours.

S2.BS Building System Design
 

  • Intensive physical building system experimentation.

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

  • Parametrization and modelling of physical behaviour.

  • Calibration of models.

  • Structural non-linear analysis.


S2.CA Collective Assembly
  •  Database Interoperability. Work in several files.
  • Refined structural analysis.

  • Fabrication and detailing.

  • Mockups.

  • Budget and planning.




Algorithmics in Technology
5 ECTS. 40 teaching hours.

AT.AFF Algorithms in Form Finding: Force density method + true deformation

  • Algorithms in analysis: Linear and non-linear.

  • Algorithms in patterning: geodesics and patterns.

  • Other algorithms: drainage, sunlight, data manipulation.

AT.CFF Algorithms in Form finding 2

  • Algorithmic thinking.

  • Recursion in visual programming.

  • Applied programming to membrane design.

AT.APY Advanced Programming in Python

  • Introduction to Rhinocommon.

  • Object-Oriented Programming.

  • GHPython Utilities for Parametric Design.

Planning and Landscape
5 ECTS. 40 teaching hours.

PL.DP Territory

  • Reality knowledge: Analysis through Indicators detection.

  • Data acquisition strategies: Open Data Administration, Social Networks Data mining.

  • Data processing: csv, shapefile formats.

  • Data visualization techniques.

PL.LD Landscape Design

  • Cut and fill.

  • Artificial topographies.

  • Basins generation.

  • Paths optimization.

  • Drainage approximation.

  • Vegetation and irrigation.

  • Solar radiation.

Building Information
6 ECTS. 48 teaching hours.

BI.ST Structure

  • Analysis and optimization of structural systems

  • Beams and trusses

  • Shells

  • Structural Optimization

BI.NRG Energy 

  • Building energy performance analysis and optimization

  • Solar Heat Gains

  • Radiation Analysi

BI.IO Interoperability

  • Fluid workflows within a team and other ACE industry software

  • IO Data management

  • Software workflow optimization

Workshops 2
5 ECTS. 40 teaching hours.
  • Isogeometric Analysis

  • Large Deformations and Form Finding

Master Thesis
6 ECTS. 16 teaching hours.

Master thesis is dedicated to generating original work, based on research, were the student will show how parametric design has changed his/her skills to produce architectural projects. This research work will be done under assistance of a tutor, one of the professors of the master, a will be evaluated by a jury of several members, from the faculty of the master.


Master thesis gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/148997115@N05/albums
The UPC School reserves the right to modify the contents of the programme, which may vary in order to better accommodate the course objectives.

Management & Faculty

Academic management

  • Sastre Sastre, Ramon
    PhD in Architecture. PhD Thesis: Design and analysis of structures of bars, completely articulated, with great deformations. He was a professor at the Department of Architectural Technology of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (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 Escuela de Arquitectura del Vallés (UPC, from 2002 to 2005). Council member (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.
  • Bertomeu Farnós, Gerard
    Architect by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Associate partner at CODA, computer equipment and light design structures at Laboratory of Innovation and Technology Architecture (LITA) of the UPC. Special focus in data processing and computational design.
  • Soriano Botella, Enrique
    Architect by UPC BarcelonaTech. Founder of CODA Computational Design Affairs, focused in design and consultancy in several fields within geometry , construction and lightweight structures. Currently PhD candidate at the UPC and associate teacher at UPC. He has taught parametric architecture classes at the Escola d'arquitectura del Vallès (ETSAV, UPC) and he has taught workshops and classes on the use of wood in computational design at universities in Madrid, Norway, Austria and Hungary.

Academic coordination

  • Tornabell Teixidor, Pep
    Architect from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Doctorate by the UPC. Researcher at CODA, the computational design team and light structures of the UPC's Innovation and Technology Technology Laboratory (LITA). Teacher at the Superior School of Art and Massana Design. Expert in computational design, digital manufacturing and BIM technology for the construction specialized in Industrialization and construction in wood.

Teaching staff

  • Antequera Vacachavez, Angel
    Civil Enginyer by the Universidad Autónoma Gabriel Rene Moreno. Architect by the Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Master in Parametric Design in Architecture by the UPC. 11 years with gerent d'enginyeria of ANSA Consultores S.R.L., 14 years of professional experiència in treballs that involve simulation by elements finits, structures metàl·liques, concret armat i fusta dins the civil and industrial field.
  • Bertomeu Farnós, Gerard
    Architect by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Associate partner at CODA, computer equipment and light design structures at Laboratory of Innovation and Technology Architecture (LITA) of the UPC. Special focus in data processing and computational design.
  • Boixader Ibañez, Dionis
    PhD in Mathematics at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Associate Professor at UPC-ETSAV
  • Calatayud Souweine, Daniel
    Architect. Research Professor. Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning (UPC). Author of eleven articles in scientific journals, nine book chapters and twelve papers in national and international conferences on issues of sustainable urban design, sustainable building, urban metabolism and climate change. Faculty member's participation in the Solar Decathlon ETSAV 2010.
  • Grace Martin, Alison
    Independent researcher studying natural structures and complex patterns in nature and applying the findings to design and construction concepts. She runs courses in UK and European universities on experimental methods in form-finding, and especially in weaving techniques, topology and materials geometry. She studied at Exeter College of Art and St. Martin's College of Art and Design, graduating in Graphic Design in 1979.
  • Lienhard, Julian Andreas
    He completed his doctorate summa cum laude with his dissertation on bending-active structures at the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart. His scientific interest in the principles of lightweight structures goes along with various real¬ized building- experimental structures and prototypes along his academic and professional career. In 2008, Julian co-founded the engineering and design practice studioLD now str.ucture GmbH. Previously, he worked as a Structural Engineer at Knippers- Helbig and SL-Rasch in Stuttgart.
  • Quintero Avila, Juan Pablo
    Architect and Venezuelan designer based in Barcelona, pioneer in the use of emerging processes of digital manufacture applied to design and architecture. He is the founder of Medio Design, a studio-workshop dedicated to the development of non-standard projects through mixed processes that include both traditional manufacturing techniques and new manufacturing tools.
  • Sastre Sastre, Ramon
    PhD in Architecture. PhD Thesis: Design and analysis of structures of bars, completely articulated, with great deformations. He was a professor at the Department of Architectural Technology of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (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 Escuela de Arquitectura del Vallés (UPC, from 2002 to 2005). Council member (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.
  • Soriano Botella, Enrique
    Architect by UPC BarcelonaTech. Founder of CODA Computational Design Affairs, focused in design and consultancy in several fields within geometry , construction and lightweight structures. Currently PhD candidate at the UPC and associate teacher at UPC. He has taught parametric architecture classes at the Escola d'arquitectura del Vallès (ETSAV, UPC) and he has taught workshops and classes on the use of wood in computational design at universities in Madrid, Norway, Austria and Hungary.
  • Tornabell Teixidor, Pep
    Architect from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Doctorate by the UPC. Researcher at CODA, the computational design team and light structures of the UPC's Innovation and Technology Technology Laboratory (LITA). Teacher at the Superior School of Art and Massana Design. Expert in computational design, digital manufacturing and BIM technology for the construction specialized in Industrialization and construction in wood.

General information

Credits
60 ECTS (448 teaching hours)
Start date
Classes start:14/10/2019Classes end:02/07/2020Programme ends: 24/09/2020
Timetable
Monday  16:00 to 20:00Tuesday  16:00 to 20:00Wednesday  16:00 to 20:00Thursday  16:00 to 20:00
  • Occasionally some Mondays the schedule of classes will be from 16 to 21h.
  • Exceptionally conferences will be held on some Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning.

Taught at
ETSAV - Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura del Vallès
C/ Pere Serra, 1-15
Sant Cugat del Vallès
Contact
Telephone: (34) 93 112 08 62
Degree
Special master's degree issued by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Issued pursuant to art. 34.1 of Organic Law 4/2007 of 12 April, amending Organic Law 6/2001 of 21 December, concerning Universities. To obtain it, is necessary to have an official university qualification. Otherwise, the student will receive a certificate of completion of the programme issued by the Fundació Politècnica de Catalunya.

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
8.500 €
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

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