Academic Structure

IAAC’s immersive Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings (MAEB) is an innovative educational format that offers interdisciplinary skills and understanding through the research on new categories of projects, technologies and solutions related with the design, prototyping, and fabrication of ecological buildings.

IAAC gives students the opportunity to create individual Studio agendas and develops Thesis Projects based on ecological design, thermodynamics applied to buildings, new fabrication techniques, material experimentation, solar technologies and more. In this way, IAAC puts together an experimental and learning environment for the training of professionals with both intellectual and applied responses to the increasing complexity and environmental pressures of contemporary urban environments.

Students have the opportunity to be part of a highly international group, including faculty members, researchers and lecturers, in which they are encouraged to develop collective decision-making processes and materialise their project ideas.

The Master develops seminars, workshops, studios and master classes along these thematics: Contemporary Theory and Practice of Ecological Architecture, Digital Fabrication, Ecology, Solar Energy and Thermodynamics, Eco-Materials, Advanced Structures and Metabolic Building Systems.


Valldaura Labs. Barcelona, Spain. 

Valldaura Labs is a living lab and center for research on self-sufficient habitats. Built around a XIX s. traditional Catalan Masia, its infrastructure aims to become a prototypical place for architecture and ecology in the post-carbon era. It aims to produce food, energy, and things. Located in Collserola park, 30 minutes away from the centre of Barcelona, the lab has an area of 130 hectares. Valldaura has a Green Fab Lab facility part of the MIT’s Fab Lab network and has a full digital fabrication facility. Also, this lab provides living space for 25 students.

This module introduces students to Valldaura Self-Sufficient Lab. It develops a deep exploration of the geographical, climatic, ecological features of the site of future prototyping and experimentation. Including spatial and quantitative data, the goal of this module is to introduce students to the local dynamics of the place. Tree species, soil composition, material cycles, radiation, wind, temperature, humidity, biota, facilities, infrastructures, will be some of the components investigated.

Duration: 1 week

Output: A series of cartographic representations.

Faculty: Jon Minchin

This module playfully develops morphological prototypes derived from heliotropic inputs explored in the previous module. These morphological prototypes respond only to external inputs, regardless of any internal configuration.  This includes radiation as a main parameter but also humidity, temperature and wind flows. These inputs are the only design inputs to start crafting form-oriented prototypes. There is no consideration of any active systems. The goal of this module is to explore design strategies where form follows heliotropic inputs. Questions of compactness, slenderness, expansivity, horizontally, fragmentation as well as the positionality (over, under, elevated, etc) are exposed to formal transformation by solar, wind and temperature inputs.

Duration: 3 weeks

Output: Catalog of heliomorphic physical models exploring variations

Faculty: Charles Waldheim / Jacobo Garcia Germán

This module develops morphological prototypes derived from thermodynamic inputs. In contrast with the previous module, this is only concerned with internal thermodynamic factors such radiation, convention, condution, regardless of any external form. The goal is to find out what are the internal forms and spaces that could be created following different thermal flows. This internal exploration with revisited devices such as as courtyards, atriums, solar chimneys, double skins, horizontal galleries, diagonal ventilation, etc..

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Catalog of thermodynamic drawings exploring variations

Faculty: Philippe Rahm/Kiel Moe

Considering only the active spatial devices this module adds another layer of transformation to the previous modules. It enhances the performativity of building prototypes by critically exploring available and new potential technological devices that could be implemented in the project. Wind turbines, solar panels, responsive facades, digital devices are some of the multiple device explorations possible to be developed and implemented in this module.

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Sectional drawings + Devices model

Faculty: Matthias Shüler / Oscar Aceves

Buildings are bundles of materials and flows that are in constantly flowing in and out of its footprint. This module explores these metabolic systems that support the daily life of buildings to projectively envision new ways of dealing with them. If most of buildings today have a linear metabolism, consuming resources, energy, water and information and generating waste products and emissions, the potentials to develop building as a circular metabolism is yet to be fully develop. By looking at water systems, foods, information, carbon emissions, waste products, the goal is to come up with feedback loops that enhance the ecological performance of buildings.

Duration: 4 weeks

Output: Devices/models/diagrams for a circular metabolism of buildings

Faculty: Nikos Katsikis/Uriel Fogué / Jon Minchin / Jochen Schreer

One of the biggest environmental impacts of buildings is its material configuration. This module explores the use of materials that are attentive to environmental impacts. For instance, the manufacturing of one cubic meter of concrete generates twenty-eight times the carbon footprint of the manufacture of a cubic meter of wood. Analyzing this aspects will be a key entry to material exploration. In addition, the research on the location of manufacturing and extraction of materials is central aspect of this module as well. An important part of the environmental impacts of materials come through the transportation from origin to destination. So a local manufacturing of a high intense carbon emission (ceramic) might be more ecological than a distant low intense carbon emission material (wood).

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Cartographies of material geographies and material systems models

Faculty: Jane Hutton/Thomas Sherman

Buildings are made of materials such as concrete, wood, ceramics but the materiality of buildings transcends the material selection itself. This module explores buildings as a material construct whose textures and materiality provides a gestalt unique to any project. Earthy, geographical, ethereal, crystalline, mossy, hairy are some of the approaches to materiality present today. This modules explores this material aspiration to create more vivid and materially exuberant building that are something more than an assembly of materials. This workshop will consist in the production of several material prototypes and sculptures.

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Sculpture/model

Faculty: Marta Domenech

After the loading of conditions for the design of ecologically positive buildings, this module explores its structural possibilities. Considering new technological advancements in manufacturing processes as well as in material innovations, this modules formalizes previous exploration in a structural scheme. This section will design, fabricate and test few structural variations of the project. The outcome of this module is a series of digitally fabricated models.

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: 1:10 models

Faculty: Khaled Saleh Pasha /Florian Foerster

An important percentage of the environmental, thermal and ecological performance of a building has to do with the façade. Historically at the center of the design concerns, today façade design is in many cases the selection of solutions from pre-given catalogs and systems. This module is intended to control the performance of a building through its wall system. By designing the material(s), the arrangement of layers, thickness and its shape, buildings could achieve a much powerful environmental, thermal and ecological performance.

Duration: 3 weeks

Output: 1:1 prototype

Faculty: Salmaan Craig/Jacob Mans/Benjamin Peek/Miquel Rodriguez

With the neoliberal flexibilization of labor regimes and perpetual motion of people between places, this module critically explores how buildings can adapt to new programmatic and functional demands. The goal of this section is to develop hybrid programs that create both functional diversity but also adaptability to new forms of social organization and need. Considering the importance of hybrid programs for buildings but also the different temporal scenarios, this module aspires to position new architectures and buildings within the needs of contemporary society.

Duration: 1 weeks

Output: Photographic essay + diagramming

Faculty: TBD

While the effort of this Master is on the design and prototyping of ecologically driven buildings, this module will address the potential site settings that could be relevant of the project. Envisioning the complete design of the project on a particular place enables to think in questions of density, urban design, landscape architecture. The goal, therefore, is to create larger systems having the eco-buildings as unit. The goal is to explore potential feedback-loops and couplings with the immediate physical environment from a urban design and landscape architecture perspectives.

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Model + drawings

Faculty: Jesus Vasallo

The last module of will consist of simulation and testing of the project itself. Through powerful means of visualization, the goal of this module is to back-up the design explorations with quantifiable data. From thermal testing, to emergy accounting, to carbon emission measurements, each project is ecologically ranked.

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Model + drawings

Faculty: David Kennedy


This seminar provides the opportunity to learn ecological principles on site. Forestry practices and regimes, ecological agriculture, permaculture are some of the environmental practices the seminars provide. Students will learn by doing some of this practices as part of the harvesting, production, and generation of material for future projects in the Master program.

This seminar provides the necessary training for students on the techniques of digital fabrication, including CNC milling, laser cutting, 3D printing but also carpentry and conventional fabrication and construction. This seminar will also cover all the necessary software instruction, including design, parametric and fabrication software.

This seminar provides de intellectual and scientific foundations for all the work on ecological buildings. This sem

The Master program hosts lectures by external experts in the multiple interrelated disciplines. The goal of this lectures is to provide students with a broad perspective on the construction of cities, development of ecological buildings, as well as the constructive techniques and systems. Additionally, students have full access to all the lecture series organized at IAAC in its 22@location.

Pre-oppening lecture by: Bjarke Ingels.

Tentative names: /Kiel Moe/ Salmaan Craig/ Khaled Pascha/ Andrew Waugh from Waugh Thistleton Architects/ Foster and Partners


This block consists of the design and development of the technical documents of a real ecological building project that will be fabricated and built during the last two months of the programme. For that to happen, students will utilise all the knowledge and expertise acquired during the previous months working as a single team of faculty and students for the design development of the project. This phase of the Master will be joined by renowned experts that will advise in a series of topics ranging from ecological material to energy technologies.

Duration: 12 weeks

Output: Model + drawings

Faculty: Daniel Ibañez, Daniela Frogheri, Vicente Guallart

During two months, students will work on the construction of an ecological building at real scale. This building will integrate all the technical and constructive elements in other to make it livable. This process will utilise parametric design techniques, advance digital fabrication and ecological design principles. Students will live the experience of building it’s one building in collaboration of professionals and local experts in a unique natural environment. The project will be part of a villa with buildings designed by local and international architects.


Duration: 12 weeks

Output: Model + drawings

Faculty: Daniel Ibañez, Daniela Frogheri, Vicente Guallart, Yang Lei


* Food is not included in the tuition fees. Students will have access to common kitchen and will be organising a shared meal service. Each student will cover his/her transportation costs.

* The programme is conceived to be an immersive experience. However, students can decide to live at Valldaura Self-Sufficient Labs or in Barcelona. Distance from Valldaura metro station to Valldaura Labs is 15 minutes by car or motorbike, 30 minutes by bike and 45 minutes walking.


EDITION: 1st edition

DIRECTOR: Daniel Ibañez & Vicente Guallart

DEGREE: Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings


DURATION: 12 months – From September 2018 to August 2019

MODALITY:  Immersive and full time


LOCATION: Barcelona, Spain.


Non EU students: 19,250€ 

EU students 14,525€


Option 1: 350€/month  – Shared double room with bathroom

Option 2: 250€/month – Atic with shared rooms and bathrooms

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

*(pending accreditation)