Master: Parametric Design in Architecture

Pre-enrolment  2015/2016 course open click here

Download PDF MaPDArch

The emergence of ICT has supposed a paradigm shift for architecture. Parametric design, digital manufacturing, 3D printing and prototyping are revolutionizing the scene of the 21st century architecture and opening doors to new models of sectoral development and new multidisciplinary professional profiles able to meet the challenges of this socio-economic change.

The architectural project is a complex process that should allow linking knowledge management with design in an operative way. We call parameters to all categories of information that affect decision-making in the development of a project. This is the goal of parametric architecture: go beyond geometry and form to design a system with all variables / categories involved in the process. This is the potential of current software tools: Grasshopper, Rhinoceros, Revit, Dynamo, etc; which allow to change the design process, transforming architects in builders of systems and not just models.

In this context, many current courses offer a partial view based on the direct application of the software on CNC machines to produce complex objects. This Master degree, however, offers a comprehensive approach:  qualifies professionals in advanced architectural creation, focused on efficiency in buildings and environmental commitment.

The Master in Parametric Design is divided into two independent post-graduate courses, dynamically focused on creative process and applied production phase. The first one, Digital Design and Fabrication, gives the student knowledge in parametric geometry, digital fabrication and contemporary architecture, all needed to develop the potential of parametric design. The course includes practical workshops on parametric software, geometry or CNC machines, aimed at solving real challenges of complex architectural design. In the second on, Performative Parametric Design, real applications will be explored by means of the parametric design and the behaviour of designed objects will be thoroughly verified, demanding digital manufacturing the same rigour and requirements we expect from traditional architectural design. In this module, we seek interaction and synergies between parametric design and implementation of the algorithmics to other disciplines such as BIM, urban design, planning, construction, structures, facilities, services or climate for more efficient and sustainable applicable results.

The Master degree is taught in the School of Architecture of el Vallès (ETSAV), offering a residence of international students as well as equipment and facilities of the latest technology necessary for this training. Its model workshop, digital laboratories and technology centre CRITT, in addition to collaboration with the Barcelona Fab Ateneus Network , ​​allow students to explore all possibilities in parametric design techniques.


Keywords: Parametric, Digital, Design, Computer Design, Architecture, Geometry, Fabrication

To whom it is addressed

To professionals with competence in the field of architectural and urban design, building construction, and also to other professionals who want to reorient or supplement their skills or start their own business project.


  • Architects
  • Civil Engineers, Building Engineers and other graduates of this sector.
  • Industrial Engineers of several specialities.
  • Regional or town planners.

  • Professionals and building agents that add value in certain specialized processes:

  • Consultants and structural analysts
  • Interior designers

  • Other professionals interested in:

  • Any subject related to architecture or construction.
  • The exercise of the architectural profession in recent decades has undergone major changes and has appeared clearly specialization and teamwork. Virtually all of these specialties are likely to use  parametric design, and at any stage of the project: Global design. Draft. Basic project. Project execution. Construction system. Design and structural analysis. Facilities. Services. Natural conditioning. Product life cycle.
    Academic structure

    Academic director: Ramon Sastre
    Coordination: ETSAV & Ramon Sastre
    Duration of studies: 1 semester + 1 semester + Master Thesis  (27+27+6 ECTS)

    Structure and syllabus

    The Master degree is organized into two four-month postgraduate courses, 16/18 weeks each, which can be taken together to obtain the Master degree, or separately. For the Master's degree it is also compulsory to register for the Master Thesis (6ECTS).
    The whole Master degree comprises 60 ECTS corresponding to 378 teaching hours and 1080 hours of personal work (estimate).
    Each annual post-graduate course is structured in a thematic module of 27 ECTS, according to the following list of subjects:


    Parametric geometry- 6 ECTS
    Professors: Dionís Boixader Ibañez, Genis Avila Casademont
    Digital fabrication- 6 ECTS
    Professors: Enrique Soriano Botella, Pep Tornabell Teixidor
    Architecture in the 21st Century. From Sign to Algorithm?- 6 ECTS
    Professors: Josep Giner Olcina, José Ángel Sanz Esquide, Raúl Martínez Martínez and Tiago Lopes Dias
    Professors: Rosa Maria Rull Bertran, Amadeu Santacana Juncosa
    Parametric Design and BIM- 6 ECTS
    Professors: Pep Tornabell Teixidor
    Algorithmics in Technology in Architecture- 8 ECTS
    Professors: Ramon Sastre Sastre, Pep Tornabell Teixidor
    Parametric Design in Planning and Landscape- 4 ECTS
    Professors: Jordi Nebot Roca, Montserrat Bonvei, Lluis Viu , Gerard Bertomeu
    Professors: Rosa Maria Rull Bertran, Amadeu Santacana Juncosa
    Professors: Rosa Maria Rull Bertran, Amadeu Santacana Juncosa
    (more information on modules and subjects)

    Competences to be accomplished by the student

    Once the students have qualified the 60 ECTS of MaPDArch they will:

    • Be fluent in Parametrics and Algorithmics
    • Acquire both a solid theoretical and technical framework and a strong set of practical parametric design skills
    • Understand digital design paradigm shift, the impact in our society and its state of the art technology
    • Become a professional in the use of software and hardware
    • Be able to lead cutting-edge architectural performance driven design teams understanding the integration of efficiency at design processes
    • Develop a critical attitude in the design itself, so that the knowledge gained will serve for a better, more sustainable and comfortable architecture 
    • Improve the competitiveness of professionals in architectural design, based on novelty, change and evolution
    • Achieve and shape a work niche, a new form of enterprise, taking advantage of the entrepreneurial nature of future professionals in parametric design


    The teachers of the Master degree will be diverse and will come mainly from the faculty who currently teaches in the Schools of Architecture at the UPC, mainly in the ETSAV. At the same time, other parametric-design professionals will be incorporated in a more general concept beyond architecture. It is intended, as it has already been shown previously, to impart a general architectural formation using parametric design, expressly avoiding partial and exclusive approaches to parametric software or digital fabrication.

    Among others, MaPDArch faculty is composed by: Genis Avila Casademont, Rosa Maria Rull Bertran, Amadeu Santacana Juncosa, Ramon Sastre Sastre, Pep Tornabell Teixidor, Dionís Boixader Ibañez, Enrique Soriano Botella, Josep Giner Olcina, José Ángel Sanz Esquide, Oriol Pons Valladares, Jordi Nebot Roca, Montserrat Bonvei, Lluis Viu , Gerard Bertomeu, Eduardo Rico


    Applicants will have access to a maximum of 25 places available each semester. An Academic Committee, formed by teachers of MaPDArch, will evaluate each application individually.

    Admission profile

    The intended audience is a student who has a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in architecture, engineering, design, etc.

    Selection criteria

    The Academic Committee will prioritize applications to MaPDArch according to the academic achievements of the candidates, professional experience and personal motivation.

    Registration calendar

    Pre-registration: from 1 June to 30 August. Non-EU candidates must take into account the time needed for processing legalization of documents issued before September enrollment abroad.

    Registration fee

    7200 €
    See the section Discounts, loans and financial aid for possibilities of advantageous financing conditions.
    0.7%0.7% 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.

    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
    Contact & information


    click here

    Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura del Vallès, ETSAV
    Pere Serra 1-15
    08173 Sant Cugat del Vallès