The Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) postgraduate program is an 11-month immersive academic program focused on learning how to design and build a new generation of buildings and cities to respond to the planet’s emerging climate challenges.

The program is carried out in Valldaura Labs, in Barcelona, a 135 He property located in the Collserola forest. Here, students will live and work surrounded  by nature while using the most advanced technologies and design techniques in the pursuit of what is also IAAC’s long term initiative, to create self-sufficient and ecological environments.




During the first six months in the program, students are comprehensively trained in the principles of design and construction of advanced ecological buildings through a series of focused and intense modules, which include material production, thermal and metabolic building systems, ecological structures and façade systems and much more.

After developing the necessary skills and a holistic understanding of advanced and ecological design, students collectively draft and build a full scale ecological building prototype.

Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (1-year Program)
Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (2-year Program)
Edition  3rd edition 1st edition
Director Daniel Ibañez & Vicente Guallart Daniel Ibañez & Vicente Guallart
Degree Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities accredited by School of Professional and Executive Development at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities accredited by School of Professional and Executive Development at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
Credits 90 ECTS 120 ECTS
Duration 11 months – From October 2021 to August 2022 18 months – From October 2021 to March 2023
Modality Immersive and full time Immersive and full time
Language English English
Full Tuition Fee Non-EU: 28.350€

EU: 24.500€

Non-EU: 41.800€

EU: 36.250€

(Tuition fee + Room + Full Board) 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 Labs. The Full Tuition Fee includes the price of the academic programme (Non-EU citizens 27.800€ & EU citizens 22.250€) 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 Labs.
Additional information *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].

*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].

*** Accommodation during September 2021 entails alterations and is not included in the price. Please get in contact with the Admissions Coordinator at [email protected]

  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 programme 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.


IAAC’s immersive Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) 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:

Valldaura Labs Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings

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: Javier Garcia German

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, convection, conduction, 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 courtyards, atriums, solar chimneys, double skins, horizontal galleries, diagonal ventilation, etc..

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Catalog of thermodynamic drawings exploring variations

Faculty: Javier Garcia German

Considering only the active spatial devices this module adds another layer of transformation to the previous modules. It enhances the performance 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 the buildings today have a linear metabolism, consuming resources, energy, water and information and generating waste products and emissions, the potentials to develop the building as a circular metabolism is yet to be fully developed. 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. Analysing these aspects will be a key entry to material exploration. In addition, the research on the location of manufacturing and extraction of materials is the 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: Miquel Rodriguez

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 module explores this material aspiration to create more vivid and materially exuberant building that is 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 formalises the 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: Elena Orte and Guillermo Sevillano

An important percentage of the environmental, thermal and ecological performance of a building has to do with the façade. Historically at the centre of the design concerns, today façade design is in many cases the selection of solutions from pre-given catalogues 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: Miquel Rodriguez

With the neoliberal flexibilization of labour 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 in the design and prototyping of ecologically driven buildings, this module will address the potential site settings that could be relevant to the project. Envisioning the complete design of the project in 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 a unit. The goal is to explore potential feedback-loops and couplings with the immediate physical environment from an urban design and landscape architecture perspectives.

Duration: 2 weeks

Output: Model + drawings

Faculty: Honorata Grzesikowska

The last module will consist of simulation and testing of the project itself. Through powerful means of visualisation, 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: Guillem Camprodron


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 these practices as part of the harvesting, production, and generation of material for future projects in the Master programme.

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 the intellectual and scientific foundation for all the related research, design and development of projects in the MAEBB programme. These readings range from conceptual and theory readings which support the premise of the Master to precedent studies, construction strategies and innovative materials related to the execution of projects.

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

Pre-opening 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 on 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 with 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


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.

MAEB Solar House

Fab Lab House by IAAC


IAAC has a close relationship with the community of architecture in Barcelona and Europe, and its recommendations are heard in most cases for the development of architectural practices or collaborations by our students. Specifically for the development of the MAEBB, the IAAC has agreements to carry out practices (following the selection criteria of each company) with:

Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings - Accommodation

Fab Lab House by IAAC


Our scholarship competition has now finished and we’re unable to accept any more scholarship applications for this year. If you would like to find out when the competition is reopening, please subscribe to our newsletter where we will make the announcement.


The theme of the scholarship offered by the MAEBB is focused on the dissemination of any topic related to “Advanced Ecological Architecture” through audiovisual media platforms.

The MAEBB programme is pleased to grant 3 scholarships to those students who can contribute to disseminate in a short film (between 2 – 10 minutes) the new ecological principles of the cities of the future using a creative approach. You can present a vision, an idea, a social initiative or a proposal about the world to come using original material or archive images.

The audiovisual project submitted must be original and expressly produced for this call. We want to offer scholarships to students who can contribute during the master programme to film the educational projects that are developed within theMaster in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) in IAAC’s Valldaura Labs.


The documents to be submitted are:

  1. Declaration of interest to study theMaster in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB).
  2. A written essay explaining the idea behind your short film (maximum 800 words).
  3. Audiovisual document (short film).


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.



The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia will release the name of the winners on its official website.


Valldaura offers accommodation for a total of 23 students. The programme is conceived to be an immersive experience. However, students can decide whether to live in Valldaura Labs or in Barcelona itself. Distance from the closest metro station to Valldaura Labs is 10 minutes by car or motorbike, 25 minutes by bike and 45 minutes walking.


Vicente Guallart

IAAC Founder / Valldaura Labs Director / MAEBB Co-Director / Director / Board of Trustees Member

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Daniel Ibañez

MAEBB Co-Director / MMTD Director / Board of Trustees Member / MMTD Narratives Faculty

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Laia Pifarré

Operations Manager at Valldaura Labs

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Technical Coordinator of Valldaura Labs

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Honorata Grzesikowska coordinator / MAEBB Faculty/ Urban Projects Research

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Jonathan Minchin

Ecological interactions - fab lab Barcelona // MAEBB Faculty / MDEF Faculty

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Elena Orte and Guillermo Sevillano

MAEBB Faculty / MMTD Project Faculty / Suma Architectura

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Oscar Aceves

MAEBB Faculty / Energy

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Jochen Scheerer

MAEBB Faculty / Water

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Guillem Camprodon

Sense making - Fab Lab Barcelona / MAEBB Faculty / MaCT Theory Guest Faculty / MDEF Faculty

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Marta Domènech

MAEBB Faculty / MAP 13

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David López

MAEBB Faculty / MAP 13

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