Parametric Design in Architecture

Master's degree. Face-to-face.


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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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.


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
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(388 teaching hours)

Start date:
Classes start:15/10/2018 Classes end:03/07/2019Programme ends: 30/09/2019
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:
7.500 €

Language of instruction:

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

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