Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings


The Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings is a 12-month immersive academic programme focused on training professionals in the field of advanced design and construction of ecological, sustainable and self-sufficient buildings. The master’s course takes place at the Valldaura Labs, the IAAC campus in the Collserola Natural Park, in the natural heart of Barcelona.

During the first semester in Barcelona, students follow a syllabus made up of modules and intensive workshops that tackle all the fields linked to the design and construction of advanced ecological buildings. In these workshops, research is carried out on materials, thermic and metabolic construction systems, while other skills are developed that deepen design strategies, manufacturing techniques and the preparation of blueprints for a prototype of an ecological building. This will be the final project that will be carried out and during the last three months of the programme. 

Valldaura Campus


Current discourses on sustainability and design do not yet adequately frame questions of energy and ecology. Whether you consider how building design overlooks landscape and urbanisation interdependencies; or incomplete interpretations of the ecological processes that could otherwise better support building, urbanisation, and life today; or how the material choices in buildings are governed by stylistic abstract notions instead of something ecologically more powerful, the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings aims for a more ambitious and comprehensive approach of energy and ecology for the built environment.

Following up the urban research carried out by IAAC in the last years in fields like Solar Housings, Eco neighbourhoods, Internet of Energy, Hydrogrid, Digital Fabrication, the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings is oriented in training professionals in the design, prototyping, and fabrication of buildings as ecological and thermodynamic systems. This framework of thinking and operating couples both small and large-scale processes: from the material to the geographical scales. For instance, the design of urban wood buildings has far-reaching effects on forestry practices or global carbon cycles. How designers might better characterise the exchanges and feedback loops and potential retrofitting of matter and energy across these multiple spatial and temporal scales are central to the pedagogy of this Master. This approach is necessary for a more thermodynamically forceful and ecologically powerful design practice for the future.

The MAEB allows students to examine material and energy issues – broadly defined, from the material to the geographical – across disciplines and scales, taking full advantage of the unique location of Valldaura Self-Sufficient Labs, IAAC’s fabrication lab in the forest, its fabrication infrastructure and the potentials of its surrounding territory.

The curriculum of the programme is diverse: from short workshops with leading experts to module courses, regular seminars and lectures, and to a year-long project with an emphasis on real scale prototyping. The Master addresses the question of the design as a comprehensive, intellectual and applied project in which prototyping and fabrication processes are a central pedagogic component emphasising the role of the architect as a hands-on applied maker.

Each Master Candidate will develop technological and fabrication seminars, ecological and thermal analytical frameworks and real-scale prototypes to have a unique expertise in the development of ecological and thermodynamic buildings. The Master will also provide a unique opportunity to create a real size building prototype as the final Master project. From the material to the territory the Master in Ecological Buildings foresees the design, development, and implementation of a new wave of buildings, prototypes, technologies and design solutions of true ecological value that can be extended systematically to be part of the next urban future.

The Master programme is oriented to engineers, architects, artist, makers and designers, and graduates in any discipline related to the crafting of the built environment. The programme will be developed with the collaboration of companies and industry, leading experts from around the world with the goal of forming new professionals interested in leading the design of ecological buildings worldwide.

The programme is led by Vicente Guallart, former chief architect of Barcelona city, which is one of the world’s best cities for architecture, constantly developing a signature design and construction of advanced buildings and environments recognised worldwide. 


  1. Immersive Learning Experience: This programme offers a unique educational experience in which students not only will be studying, prototyping and designing projects, but also sleeping, eating and socialising together in a unique location surrounded by magical landscapes.
  2. Hands-on Approach: Students learn through an experiential learning philosophy and by 1:1 building prototypes on a large scale basis. This master’s programme is fundamentally practical, with an emphasis on strengthening professional experience. 
  3. Transversal Skills: Students will participate in multidisciplinary courses and workshops in which they will gain transversal knowledge on the design and construction of sustainable and self-sufficient buildings.
  4. Networking: The students cooperate with experts, innovation centres and other academic institutions that develop projects similar to those carried out in Valldaura Labs. 
  5. Sharing Knowledge: Each student records and documents in a shared, open and online platform all the knowledge produced throughout the course.
  6. Internationally Oriented: This master’s programme is aimed at students from around the world willing to learn pioneering skills in sustainable architecture and ecological building to be implemented in both emerging and consolidated economies.
Edition 2nd edition
Director Daniel Ibañez & Vicente Guallart
Degree Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings
Credits 90 ECTS
Duration 11 months – From September 2019 to August 2020
Modality Immersive and full time
Language English
Full Tuition Fee

(Tuition fee + Room + Full Board)

Non-EU: 28.350€

EU: 24.500€

Additional information The Full Tuition Fee includes the price of the academic programme (Non-EU citizens 19.250€ & EU citizens 15.400€) together with other fees such as accommodation in shared rooms, full board, laundry, use of the washing machine, WIFI, access to the Green Fab Lab and expenses at Valldaura Self-Sufficient Labs.*Transportation and other services not mentioned are not included.

** Non-resident options are available for applicants already based in Barcelona, please get in contact with the Admissions Coordinator at [email protected]

Admission Architecture, Engineering, Design, Bachelor or higher degree from other related professions