The Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture is a 6-month long intensive programme in the field of additive manufacturing of sustainable architecture. Between the use of advanced technology for construction and the desire to develop a holistic design approach to architecture, we engage with different areas of research that include robotic manufacturing, material research and performance-based design. The programme seeks to develop technological and architectural solutions in collaboration with Industry partners to answer the current needs and challenges of our habitat. 

The Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture is a programme of applied research. Rather than imagining an architecture for a long-term future, our aim is to apply state of the art technology to today’s construction paradigm. It is axed around the continuity of the development of a body of research long explored in the Institute together with our industry partners.

The course runs as a partially collective programme with a mixed group of researchers of IAAC’s Master second years and other specialised students with interest in 3d printing, in eco-friendly material research or in the field of housing. The course is structured in 3 phases: explorations, a series of exercises to gain knowledge into the topic followed by a design charrette and the construction of a 1:1 prototype that ambitions to be as close a possible to a real building fragment.

Degree Postgraduate Diploma in Open Thesis Fabrication by School of Professional and Executive Development at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
Edition 10th edition
Credits 45 ECTS
Duration 6 months – September 2022 to February 2023 – Full Time
Language English
Tuition Fee Non-EU: 9.500€
EU: 7.600€
Discount for PhD in related research fields
Admissions Engineering, Design or Architecture degree, Bachelor or higher degree from other related professions, PhD candidates in applied research fields.

The content of the course is structured into 3 areas of research:

STUDIO – Design and Architecture

3D printing, a digital technology, challenges a conventional design approach and requires the elaboration of new strategies partially based on the use of computation.

We develop a performance-based approach to design for 3D printed architectural solutions. Within the realms of a design project for a complex humanitarian situation, the design of buildings is the result of a complex negotiation between fulfilling climatic, structural, manufacturing and habitation purposes.

TECHNE – Robotic and Computational Technology

TECHNE research consist of an experimental and hands-on approach to Additive Manufacturing with robots. Eco-friendly material printing resides in the control of robotic technology and the mastering of its complex materiality. The program rests on a series of intensive Tecne workshops during which specific questions related to structure or climatic performance are addressed by a quick back and forth between 3D modelling, printing and analysis of the solutions.

MATTER – Matter and Craft

MATTER research is an intuitive and scientific approach to research. This is the occasion to develop knowledge in the field of eco-friendly materials such as clay, a material that has been used in construction for millennials and of which a lot of knowledge has been lost since the over-dominance of concrete in the construction industry.

Driven by a material expert, this phase of the work starts by a tactile and intuitive to material mixing, and concludes by the elaboration calibrated and customised material mix for 3D printing


Each participant will get intensive experience in large-scale 3D printing and gain the necessary knowledge that accompanies it:

  • Digital Fabrication: Robotic Fabrication, 3D printers, Extrusion technologies, Sensors
  • Digital tools: 3D modelling, parametric modelling, digital simulation, production of g-code.
  • Material research: empirical and scientific methodology in development and testing of new materials.
  • Design methodology to provide architectural and constructive solutions for additive relating design to performance.
  • Holistic strategy to provide architectural solutions that consider all aspects of construction: material, energy, economy, manufacturing, policies, users, design, climate, structure.

In past editions, the OTF programme has been the ground for collaborations with industrial partners such as the Basque research centre Tecnalia, ceramist expert Ceràmica Cumella, structural engineers Windmill. We have also been working with UN Habitat program on the development of architectural solutions for humanitarian situations.  


The programme is divided into three phases:

Phase 1 – Exploration

This 3 months long phase emphasises on the development of knowledge in the 3 above-mentioned research areas: material, 3D printing and design methodology. This phase sees the students work in small groups in short intense exercises and experiments.


Phase 2 – Prototype Design Charrette

The second phase is a collective design charette in which the group capitalises on all the learning of phase 1 in order to develop a design proposal for a 1:1 prototype as a building fragment.


Phase 3 – Prototype Construction

The third phase sees the group engage with the construction of a large prototype at 1:1 Scale. In parallel, the group will document and compile the research into a collective thesis printed document.


The Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture is aimed at architects, engineers, designers, material engineers, mechanical engineers. The course aims to specialise these people to address a new reality in construction, architecture, and the fields that relate to it, in which new technologies will largely affect the way we think and build.

After completing the Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture, the students will be apt to work within the fields of architecture and engineering providing expertise and knowledge in topics such as robotic construction, additive manufacturing, parametric design. They are also encouraged and apt to further their career within the realm of non-governmental organisations that develop housing projects in problematic humanitarian situations.

Once successfully finished, IAAC students will then join the IAAC Alumni Community, an active and dynamic network of visionary professionals spread around the world, promoting principles and applications of Advanced Architecture and exploring new academic and research initiatives, leading to award-winning practices or working for internationally acclaimed firms and institutions.


Before reading the project proposal of the Scholarship Competition 2019 for the Open Thesis Fabrication (OTF) programme, please read the general requirements and main guidelines to be followed in order to make sure that you are an eligible candidate to participate:



It is now commonly acknowledged that 3d printing is a technology that will dominate the construction industry in the coming years. While technology is in constant development it seems that the form of the architecture that will emerge is still undefined.

The Open Thesis Fabrication focuses on the use of natural materials and additive manufacturing in architecture and attempts to invent new built forms for this new realm. The launch of this call for a full scholarship takes the form of a question to which you are asked to provide your own answer.  For the OTF Scholarship Competition, we invite participants to answer the following question: What is your vision for a 3D printed architecture?


Required material

  1. Submit a single A4 sheet that can contain any type of information (text, drawings, sketches, renderings, diagrams, references…) with the aim of answering the question posed for the competition.

To apply the candidates should fill up the Scholarship Application Form at this link and upload their projects in there.



Start and end dates to be released soon.


Building Architecture Continuity

The 2019 Open Thesis Fabrication (OTF) research aims at achieving a sustainable and structurally stable construction system using km-0 robotic additive manufacturing. Building Architecture Continuity employs continuous printing and cantilever geometries to enhance the structural capacities and spatial qualities of its expected results. The tools employed in the project consist of a combination of computational methods,…

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Digital Adobe

Digital Adobe is an innovative research agenda oriented to producing architectural solutions with natural materials and additive manufacturing or 3d printing. The technology, developed in the applied research post graduate program Open Thesis Fabrication, enables to customize the form of a building on multiple scales. Tailoring, from the global form, to the resolution of the…

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TerraPerforma - 3D Printed Performative Wall The project TerraPerforma focuses on large scale 3D printing, the influence of additive manufacturing on building with a traditional material - unfired clay - and climatic performative design Mud constructions are an ancestral technique, based on the use of local material, with an ecological footprint close to zero. It is…

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Digital Urban Orchard – OTF 2015/16

Digital Urban Orchard is a research project of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, realized as part of the Open Thesis Fabrication 2015/16. The pavilion is the prototype of a new form of urban agriculture based on aquaponics: a symbiotic system where breeding fishes is combined with the soilless cultivation of plants and vegetables. The pavilion demonstrates a concept…

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Fusta Robòtica – OTF 2015

Fusta Robòtica is a research project realized as part of the Open Thesis Fabrication 2015. IaaC OTF 2015 Fusta Robòtica is an experimental project that proposes to overcome the challenges of building with Catalan wood - structurally unsound and highly deformable - through the application of parametric design and robotic fabrication processes. For the first…

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The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), based in Barcelona, has, for some time now, been exploring and investigating the potentials of additive manufacturing (3D printing) applied to the architectural field, therefore the implemented on a larger scale. In this framework, the Institute put together a team of researchers with the aim of re-elaborating…

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3DPA Co-director / MAA Senior Faculty / MaCT Studio Faculty

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Alexandre Dubor

MRAC Director / OTF Co-director / MAA, MAI, OTF Senior Faculty / Robotic Expert

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Kunaljit Chadha

MRAC Faculty Assistant / MAA Fabrication expert / OTF Fabrication expert

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3dPA, MRAC Assistant / Computational Design Expert

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3DPA Coordinator

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Co-Mida Project Manager / 3DPA Faculty

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3dPA guest Faculty, La Salle

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3dPA guest Faculty, BAC

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BAC is a multinational company working in the fields of civil engineering, building engineering, quality control laboratories, energy and environmental engineering.
Competitive in a global market, BAC forms part of a group with ICIASA, a company specialized in the Oil & Gas sector and ERH Consult, a company specialized in water treatment and energy generation. BAC has offices in 14 countries, we have also made agreements to collaborate with European structural engineering companies to develop the activity in France, Switzerland and USA, sharing the resources and knowledge for mutual benefits.
BAC has also participated in projects in various countries such as Taiwan, Angola, Rwanda, Congo, Morocco, Poland, Uruguay…
BAC pursues a leadership vocation in integral engineering services, providing optimal and innovative solutions with quality, through efficient, responsible and respectful work with people and the environment and collaborating with sustainability and continuous improvement of the environment


The family workshop CERÀMICA CUMELLA, founded in 1880 in Granollers (Barcelona), originally devoted to the manufacturing of traditional ceramics and pottery for daily use, has finally become the central core of an intense public and professional activity. Ceràmica Cumella has lately experienced a notorious increase in the industrial production of serial pieces -floorings, socles, lattices, coatings, steps, modular elements undoubtedly specific in many cases since they are ordered pieces. Cumella with the conviction of a necessary integration of technical tradition and innovative process, encouraging with a steady hand and continued research, for example, on the definition of colours and the manufacturing of the corresponding glazes, both for mechanical or manual applications; or on finding solutions on how to keep up with present technological requirement. Toni Cumella spontaneously associates craftsmanship with serial production, personalisation, adaptability, history and culture, not necessarily by this order. He sees it all as a use of concepts, techniques and processes so as to achieve a specific form of life.




For 28 years now, Santa & Cole has lived for industrial design, an art consisting of focusing on everyday objects in order to seek a better use experience, thereby leading us to reflect upon material culture. Santa& Cole generates elements of domestic and urban furniture and lighting, plant elements (living matter) and books (likewise alive). A range that is only apparently dispersed, converging upon a single concern: not to accumulate, but rather to select; not to enjoy quantity, but rather quality. Santa & Cole is organised around four core themes: 1. Strategy, Structure and Knowledge, 2. Editing Policy, 3. The Importance of Design for Santa & Cole and 4. Policy Knowledge Management.



CRICURSA was founded in 1928 with the intention of bringing form, material and processing into high technology glass bending, in order to explore the possibilities of bent glass as a decorative element. After more than 8o years of experience, it now offers architectural glass, curved and flat interior and exterior glass, and is present in many of the most famous architectural works around the world. Passionate about architecture, creativity and innovation, their aim is to continue inspiring the best engineers and architects in the world, in close collaboration with Facades and installers and all professionals, partnering CRICURSA to the efficiency and capacity to deliver ideas and concepts of the designers.




Tecnalia is a private, independent, non-profit applied research centre of international excellence. The whole team at Tecnalia has one goal: to transform knowledge into GDP, meaning wealth to improve people’s quality of life by generating business opportunities for industry. Tecnalia is committed to generating major impacts in economic terms, by means of innovation and technological development, addressed by 6 business divisions, covering economic sectors of Energy, Industry, Transportation, Construction, Health and ICT. Tecnalia has been granted over 250 patents and promoted more than 30 spin-off companies.



3D printing is WASP’s heart since a small and fast printer that materialises objects made of bio-plastic, clay, silicone and biocompatible materials, which mills wood and aluminium, makes it easy to start mini-productions and to create what you need by yourself. The aim of WASP is to build ‘zero-mile’ homes, using materials found on the surrounding area. A similar project requires that the machine be portable and features low energy consumption, since in large areas of the planet, there is no electricity at all. It must therefore be able to use renewable energies such as sun, wind and water.