The Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & Biocities (MAEBB) postgraduate program is an 10-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.

Applications for on-campus programmes received after May 31st will be reviewed based on the availability of places in the master program selected. Since most places for IAAC Master programs are filled by 30th of June, we strongly recommend that you apply as soon as possible. 

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.

Edition 7th edition 6th edition
Director Vicente Guallart & Michael Salka Vicente Guallart & Michael Salka
Degree Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & Biocities I accredited by University of Lleida (UdL) – European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & Biocities II accredited by University of Lleida (UdL) – European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
Credits 90 ECTS 120 ECTS
Duration October 2024 to July 2025 (10 months) October 2024 to April 2026 (17 months)
Modality Immersive and full time Immersive and full time
Language English English
Full Tuition Fee Non-EU: 33.750€
EU: 29.700€
Spanish: 21.825€
Non-EU: 41.700€
EU: 36.300€
Spanish: 25.800€
(Tuition fee + Room + Full Board) The Full Tuition Fee includes the price of the academic programme (Non-EU citizens 23.850€, EU citizens 19.800€ & Spanish citizens 11.925€)

* Tuition fee includes a non-refundable programme enrollment fee of 3.800€

Together with the 9,900€ accommodation fee at Valldaura Labs  in shared rooms, full board, laundry, use of the washing machine, WIFI, access to the Green Fab Lab among other expenses.

The Full Tuition Fee includes the price of the academic programme (Non-EU citizens 31.800€, EU citizens 26.400€ & Spanish citizens 15.900€)

* Tuition fee includes a non-refundable programme enrollment fee of 3.800€

Together with the 9,900€ accommodation fee at Valldaura Labs  in shared rooms, full board, laundry, use of the washing machine, WIFI, access to the Green Fab Lab among other expenses.

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].

*** The Valldaura Labs has a maximum accommodation capacity of 22 students. Students will be lodged under a first come first served basis, according to when the student completes the payment.

*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 is just guaranteed for the first academic year. For the second year, students will need to find their own accommodation.

**** The Valldaura Labs has a maximum accommodation capacity of 22 students. Students will be lodged under a first come first served basis, according to when the student completes the payment.

  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 a full-scale structure. This Master is fundamentally hands-on with an emphasis on professional expertise. Every year of the Master programme will build a 1:1 building.

  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 postgraduate program welcomes students from diverse global backgrounds, encompassing both mature and emerging economies, fostering a truly international and inclusive educational community.


IAAC’s immersive Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & 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 the students of Masters in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities.


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 22@location.

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, biologists, ecologists 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

MAEBB Project - Voxel Quarantine Cabin

The Voxel project responds to the interest in promoting a new generation of green buildings using structural cross-laminated timber (CLT). It was produced during the course 2019-2020 by a team made up of students, professionals, and experts from the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) in Valldaura Labs. The Project is featured here on Arch Daily and Designboom.

MAEBB Project - Solar Green House

The 2022 Masters in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities completed their final thesis project, the Solar Greenhouse, a full-scale prototype that actively aids in the intensive food production efforts at Valldaura Labs. The Solar Greenhouse is constructed from Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) that was milled, dried, processed and pressed into laminated wooden elements on site at Valldaura.
As modern day living requires the reinterpretation of our collective societal needs, food production and its processing have become a main focus for self-sufficiency. For years, Valldaura Labs has been involved in revitalizing the agricultural potential of the historic mountain valley it is located within, combining tacit knowledge with advanced tools and agrology techniques. The Solar Greenhouse represents the next bold step towards transforming the lessons of this local condition into a more ecologically focused agricultural solution for the wider urban context. The Project is featured here on Dezeen, Designboom and Architizer.

MAEBB Project - F.L.O.R.A.

The Forest Lab for Observational Research and Analysis is a mass timber building located in the most extensive green space in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Collserola Natural Park. Measuring over 8.5 metres in height, the master thesis project sources invasive pine trees within the park through rigorous forest management and traceability procedures. All seventy trees are then cut and the wood is then processed by the master students to create CLT panels.

One key component of this final thesis was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the forest ecology surrounding the project. The F.L.O.R.A site sits on a popular walking path for boars and other mammals, as well as birds, rabbits, wild cats and a wide range of insects.

F.L.O.R.A will be used to house a researcher for a short period of time that will be studying the biodiversity of the park, furthermore will be using the new weather station introduced by F.L.O.R.A. Housing a bird simulator, bird houses, working and projection space, and bird watching spaces, the project seeks to be immersed within nature and to create an ecological interactive prototype.


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).

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 the students of the MAEBB. 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 was a chief architect (2011-2015) of Barcelona City Council with the responsibility of developing the strategic vision for the city and its major development projects.

He also co-founded and directed the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (2001-2011) where he led projects such as Media House Project (with MIT’s CBA), HyperCatalunya, or the Fab Lab House.

His professional office, Guallart Architects has developed projects widely published like the ports of Fugee and Keelung in Taiwan, or the Sociopolis neighbourhood in Valencia and now it works in projects of several scales around the world. He is developing now projects in China, Russia.

He is the author of books like Plans and Projects of Barcelona (2011-15) Geologic or The Self-Sufficient City and co-author of the Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture. His work has been exhibited at the Biennale of Venezia or NY MOMA. The American Institute of Architects organized in 2010 a solo exhibition of his work in Washington DC.

Michael Salka is Co-director of the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & Biocities (MAEBB) and Technical Director of Valldaura Labs at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC)(2022 – present), as well as a Gates Scholar PhD in Architecture candidate at the University of Cambridge (2021 – 2025). His career has harnessed environmental forces through the planning, design and construction of water infrastructures in rural Rwanda (2012 – 2014); net-zero neighborhoods and mixed-use urban infill developments in the USA (2014 – 2018); and prototypical engineered timber buildings, public spaces, and future ‘Biocities’ in Spain (2018 – present).

He has published research in peer-reviewed journals (2013 – 2022) and books such as Springer Nature’s Transforming Biocities (2023) commissioned by the European Forest Institute (EFI), alongside reports on biobased social housing for the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), while his built works have featured in popular media outlets such as The New York Times (2021). His doctorate investigates how geospatial data can inform the nature-based value chains needed to meet the massive worldwide demand for new and renovated buildings in light of global climate change and associated ecological, socio-cultural and economic crises.


Valldaura Labs Executive Director: LAIA PIFARRÉ
Coordinator: ESIN AYDEMIR

MATEUS SARTORI – MAEBB Faculty // Digital Tools
HONORATA GRZESIKOWSKA – coordinator / MAEBB Faculty/ Urban Projects Research
JONATHAN MINCHIN – Civic Ecology Strategic Advisor


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