The Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings is an 11-month immersive academic programme with an emphasis on using a practice-oriented approach to train professionals with advanced expertise in the design and construction of ecological buildings. The programme takes place in Valldaura Labs, in Barcelona, Spain.

During the first six months in Barcelona, students will embark on a series of intensive and cumulative modules and workshops that will tackle all the fields interrelated with the design and construction of advanced ecological buildings, including material, thermal and metabolic building systems.

After developing the aforementioned skills, students will collectively create the design concept, strategies, fabrication techniques and blueprints for an ecological building prototype, which they will build during the last three months of the programme.

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

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

Context and agenda

Current discourses on sustainability and design do not yet adequately frame questions of energy and ecology. Whether you consider how building design overlooks landscapes and urbanisation interdependencies, or how incomplete interpretations of ecological processes could otherwise better support buildings, 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 to achieve a more ambitious and comprehensive approach of energy and ecology for the built environment.

Following up on the urban research conducted by IAAC in the last several years in fields such as Solar Housings, Eco neighbourhoods, Internet of Energy, Hydrogrid, and Digital Fabrication, the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings is orientated towards 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 example, 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 looks and potential retrofitting of matter and energy across this 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 located in the forest, its fabrication infrastructure and the potentials of its surrounding territories.

The curriculum

The curriculum of the programme is diverse: from short workshops with leading experts to module courses, regular seminars and lectures, and 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 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 orientated towards engineers, architects, artists, makers, 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, the former chief architect of the city of Barcelona, one of the world’s leading cities for architecture. Barcelona is constantly developing a signature design and the construction of its advanced buildings and environments is recognised worldwide.

Programme principles

  1. Immersive Education: This Master offers a unique immersive education experience at Valldaura Labs. Sleeping, eating, socialising, studying, prototyping, designing, and building all happens at this unique location.
  2. Learning by Doing: Students learn based on their own experience and through hands-on building full-scale prototypes. This Master is fundamentally hands-on with an emphasis on professional expertise. Every year of the Master program will build a 1:1 building prototype.
  3. Multidisciplinary Education: Students will have access to courses and workshops from all disciplines around buildings.
  4. Connected Education: Students collaborate with other academic design centres and institutions that are developing similar projects.
  5. Recording Process: Each student registers and documents all the knowledge generated by the Master programme in a unique and open online platform.
  6. International community: This Master programme is oriented towards students both from mature economies, such as Europe or North America, as well as emergent economies such as China, India or Latin America.

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 centre 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.

The programme is structured as it follows:

  • M1 - Context Module
  • M2 - Heliotropic Module
  • M3 - Energy and Thermodynamic
  • M4 - Eco-Devices Module
  • M5 - Metabolic Building Systems I, II, III, IV
  • M6 - Material Systems and Material Geographies
  • M7 - Materiality
  • M8 - Structures & Fabrication
  • M9 - Wall and Façade Design & Fabrication
  • M10 - Hybrid building programming
  • M11 - Extended Building: On Landscape Architecture for Ecological Buildings
  • M12 - Performance Testing

Seminars Structure

  • S1 - Environment
  • S1 - Environment
  • S2 - Techniques
  • S3 - Readings
  • S4 - Lectures

Project & Real-Scale Construction Structure

  • P1 - Project
  • C1 - Construction

Student profile

The Master programme is oriented towards engineers, architects, artists, makers, designers, and graduates from 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.

Program taught in:

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Last updated March 21, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
11 months
28,350 EUR
(Non-EU: 28.350€ / EU: 24.500€)
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