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Parametric Design in Architecture

Master's degree. Face-to-face.

Presentation

3rd EDITION
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.

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Aims

Students completing this master's degree will be able to apply 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.

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 3D Fabrication

Postgraduate course face-to-face. Start date: 15/10/2018. Sant Cugat del Vallès

Content

Subjects

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.

Parametric Design and BIM
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.

BI.1 Analysis and optimization of structural systems.

  • Beams and trusses.

  • Shells.

  • Complex systems, BESO.

BI.2 Building energy performance analysis and optimization.

  • Solar heat gains.

  • Radiation analysis.

BI.3 Interoperability with other software and ACE industry.

  • Data management.

  • Software workflow optimization.

Algorithmics in Technology in Architecture
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.

AT.1 Algorithms in Form-Finding.

  • Specific algorithms in tensile form-finding.

  • Witness software analysis and use.

AT.2 Iterative design and dynamic relaxation.

  • Iterative and recursive design.

  • Integration with dynamic relaxation.

AT3. Advanced Programming.

  • Technology in architecture algorithms coding in Python.

Parametric Design in Planning and Landscape
6 ECTS. 42 teaching hours.

PL.1 Planning.

  • Work with large datasets and represent information at a metropolitan area scale.

  • Relate information from different sources either from open data administration or social networks data mining.

  • Create graphical representation languages able to allow both the visualization and the analysis.

PL.2 Landscape.

  • Develop a park project.

  • Focus on the interrelation of different parameters regarding vegetation, irrigation, drainage.

Workshop II: Studio 2. Postproduction and Building
9 ECTS. 63 teaching hours.

S2.0 Workshop.

  • Complex modelling and analysis.

  • Nonlinear analysis.

S2.0 Project.

  • Design project of architectural light weight system.

Master Thesis
6 ECTS. 10 teaching hours.
  • 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.

Master thesis gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/148997115@N05/
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.

Academic coordination

  • 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 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). PhD from the UPC. Associate partner and researcher at CODA, computer equipment and light design structures at Laboratory of Innovation and Technology Architecture (LITA) of the UPC. He has taught parametric architecture classes at the Escola Tècnica Superior del Vallès (ETSAV, UPC). And, he has taught workshops and classes on the use of wood in the computational design at universities in Madrid, Norway, Austria and Hungary.

Teaching staff

  • 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.
  • Crespo Cabillo, Isabel
    Architect PhD. Department of Architectural Representation at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC).
  • de Noronha Lopes Dias, Tiago Luís
    Architect by the University of Porto School of Architecture (2004). Is a postgraduate (2007) and a M.Arch (2011) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). Currently, he is Associate Professor at UPC (ETSAV) and a Ph.D candidate, both in the Department of Theory and History of Architecture
  • 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.
  • Martinez Martinez, Raul
    Architect by Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura del Vallés (ETSAV). Is an adjunct lecturer at the Department of History and Theory of Architecture and Communication Techniques at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and was a visiting Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2014 and 2015.
  • 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.
  • Roorda, Jeroen
    Architect by the Delft Technical University (1998) and Master in Theory, Art, Architecture and City in the ETSAB-UPC (1999). Between 2002 and 2003 he was responsible for the classification of the file Giráldez, López Iñigo, Subías, in the historical archive of COAC. Visiting professor at the ETSAV during the 2015-16 academic year and lecturer at the IX Docomomo (2016). He has worked on projects in different architectural firms in Italy, Catalonia, the Principality of Andorra and the Netherlands. Own study since 2009.
  • 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 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). PhD from the UPC. Associate partner and researcher at CODA, computer equipment and light design structures at Laboratory of Innovation and Technology Architecture (LITA) of the UPC. He has taught parametric architecture classes at the Escola Tècnica Superior del Vallès (ETSAV, UPC). And, he has taught workshops and classes on the use of wood in the computational design at universities in Madrid, Norway, Austria and Hungary.
  • Tornabell Teixidor, Pep
    A graduate in Architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Doctoral student at the UPC. A researcher at CODA, the computational design equipment and light structures team at the UPC's Laboratory of Innovation and Architecture Technology (LITA). 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 (388 teaching hours)
Start date
Classes start:15/10/2018Classes end:03/07/2019Programme ends: 30/09/2019
Timetable
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
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 or a university qualification equivalent to an EHEA degree, diploma or degree. 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
7.500 €
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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