IAAC - Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia - Barcelona

Visiting Schools

Imagine working with leading architecture and design experts and innovators to complete a real-world design project. Study with the latest thinkers and practitioners to gain an understanding of architecture and design within an emerging global context. Pursue hands-on design work in a state-of-the-art studio using the latest technology to address an aspect of the current global environmental crisis and observe 2,000 years of architectural history up close at historical and current architectural sites throughout Spain – all with CIEE.

Programme Overview

Study abroad in Barcelona and you’ll:

CIEE Global Architecture and Design


At the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), you’ll create projects that push the limits of what’s possible with technology today. You’ll design projects that optimise, conserve, or reuse natural and built resources, provide healthful environments, and reduce the environmental impact of the build environment through carbon-neutral design, bioclimatic design, and energy efficiency.


Attend open lectures and design critique sessions conducted by IAAC professors, visiting lecturers, and other teaching staff. These lectures and sessions build on material covered during excursions and coursework. Local architects, historians, and researchers also occasionally speak to the class, bringing a real-world connection to subjects being discussed. Plus, you’ll be virtually connected to your peers and faculty at our other Global Architecture and Design programmes in Berlin and Prague, so you can view all global lectures and workshops.


Come together and create. Join local architecture students to explore creative uses of technology for experimental and practical purposes. Learn-by-doing research integrates methods used in design, programming, and the social sciences to produce projects prototypes and products that will define the outer limits of what is possible to do imaginatively with technology today. You’ll also share knowledge, develop projects, and debate common questions with students on our other Global Architecture and Design programmes.


See how designs translate from the page to real life during visits to local studios and architectural projects under construction. You’ll also travel to historical sites like the Moorish palace of the Alhambra in Granada or the Jürgen Meyer’s Metropol Parasol, a contemporary addition in Seville. Enjoy an overnight trip to a site of major historic and architectural significance in locations that may include Madrid, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Sevilla, Granada, or Bilbao/San Sebastian. And travel to one of the other CIEE Global Architecture and Design cities – Berlin or Prague – in the middle of the semester to meet and collaborate with peers studying there.


We believe in the power of collaboration. That’s why we developed this programme in partnership with LEED-certified, award-winning architect and urban designer Maria Aiolova, our Academic Director for CIEE Architecture and Design programmes. Maria is an award-winning educator, architect, and urban designer based in New York City. She is co-founder of Terreform ONE and chair of the ONE Lab NY School for Design and Science.

cie berlin in barcelona

Meet the staff

Magda Bernaus – CIEE Barcelona

Center Director

Magda Bernaus is the Center Director, and she has worked with CIEE since 2006. She She holds a degree in Tourism Management (Escola de Turisme – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and worked in the tourism industry for several years. She also holds an Art History degree from the Universitat de Barcelona, where she is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on medieval architectural spaces of commerce. She has extensive experience developing and teaching courses at the university level, both for local and international students. She has collaborated as a researcher and assistant curator with several cultural insititutions in Barcelona, including the Museu Nacional de Catalunya and Museu d’Història de la Ciutat. She is an active member of a state-funded research team based at the Universitat de Barcelona (Magna Ars) and she has published articles, contributed to books and participated in conferences in her areas of expertise.

Mathilde Marengo, PhD – IAAC

Studio Faculty

Mathilde Marengo is an Australian – French – Italian PhD Architect whose research focuses on the Contemporary Urban Phenomenon, its integration with technology, and its speculative implications on the future of our planet – or the next. She is currently the Head of Studies and Faculty at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia’s Advanced Architecture Group, as well as being a PhD Supervisor within the InnoChain EU research project. Mathilde has been at IAAC since 2013, where, until 2015, she was in charge of Communication & Publications, and was Academic Coordinator from 2015 till early 2017. She won a research grant co-financed by Compagnia di San Paolo for the “Atlante Med-Net”project, and in support for the development of her PhD research, developed both at the PhD School of Architecture and Design at the University of Genoa, XXVI cycle, and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. She obtained her International PhD title in April 2014, with “Multi City Coast. The evolving forms and structures of the Mediterranean multi-city. New models of urban thinking and perspective.”

During her academic career she collaborated on several research projects investigating territorial and contemporary urban transformations such as ‘LUNGOILMARE: continuità, modificazione e permanenze. Un’ipotesi di sviluppo per 25km di fronte mare del Ponente Ligure’, scientific coordinator Prof. Arch. Franz Prati; research group coordinators: Prof. Arch. Mosè Ricci, Arch. Gianluca Peluffo; and “The Eco_Univercity Genoa Project”, scientific coordinators Prof. Mosè Ricci with Prof. Joerg Schroeder, Università di Genova, Technische Universitaet Munchen. She was also a part of the Inter-University Research team for the PRIN 2010-2011 managed by Ministry of Education, University and Research (Ministero dell’Università, dell’Istruzione e della Ricerca) RECYCLE research project, focusing on urban recycling as the generator for new infrastructure and creativity in urban contexts. Her work has been published internationally, as well as exhibited, among others: Venice Biennale, Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale, Beijing Design Week, MAXXI Rome.

Alex Mademochoritis – IAAC

Academic Coordinator

Alex Mademochoritis is a Greek-French Architectural Designer and Master in City and Technology researcher, whose focus is on projects that produce creative and radical applications of new technologies in the urban environment, as well as spatial and material experimentations that push the known technological and architectural limits. His interests lie in what will most affect the future of humanity: the internet, sustainable energy, the permanent extension of life beyond Earth, artificial intelligence and genetics. He is currently the coordinator of the Master in City and Technology programme at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). In 2014 he was the architectural assistant of the Head Architect at the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens and in 2015 he collaborated with the Architectural Association’s Design + Make programme for the construction of the robotically fabricated Wood Chip Barn project.

During his academic career he participated in several research projects related with information and communication technologies in the urban environments such as IAAC’s “SUPERBARRIO” a video game that is designed to allow citizens to make proposals for their city and “FabHood” a digital platform for the FabCity movement that aims to create a new information network for the circulation of materials inside a city. He has also participated in the publication of architectural research such as “From Now to Then: Between Man-Kind and Robot-Kind” in collaboration with IAAC and The Why Factory, as well as “Cinematic Architecture: Cinematic Concepts and the Architectural Praxis” with scientific coordinator Prof. Arch. Angelos I. Psilopoulos at the Technological Educational Institute of Athens.

Jordi Vivaldi – IAAC

Seminar Faculty

Born in Barcelona, Jordi received his degree in Architecture from the ETSAB and in 2013 he received a Master’s Degree in Advanced Architecture at IAAC. Currently he is finishing his degree in Philosophy at UNED and developing his PhD at the Institute of Urban Design in Innsbruck tutored by Peter Trummer. After working in the urban agency Barcelona Regional for almost two years, he is currently involved as faculty and researcher in several academic projects at IAAC, especially in the fields of Theory and Urban Design.

Rodrigo Aguirre – IAAC

Workshop Faculty

Rodrigo Aguirre is a Nicaraguan architect specialised in the fields of parametric tooling, digital fabrication and manufacturing. He obtained his bachelor in architecture at UAM (American University) in Managua, Nicaragua and completed the two year master in advanced architecture at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Barcelona, Spain.

His ongoing collaboration with the Institute’s REsearch + DEvelopment department and IAAC special projects has involved advanced form finding and computational methods related to generative design. He is a principal member of the computational faculty, and has acted as studio instructor for the masters programmes in 2014. His work as a “Tallerista” has led to his involvement with workshops related to the translation of computational protocols to fabrication of physical prototypes. From 2013-15 he has coordinated international workshops in Brazil and Nicaragua related to digital tooling, and participated as faculty in multi-scalar design workshops in Egypt and China, the latter of which focused on the production of 1:1 scale construction.

Rodrigo has also been involved with the last three editions of IAAC’s Global Summer School (GSS), acting as a tutor in 2012-13, and coordinator of the affiliated Global School in St.Petersburg, Russia during the 2014 session. He continues his involvement in the 2015 edition as a coordinator, tutor and manager of communications and digital media.

For more information on CIEE Global Architecture & Design, visit: www.ciee.org/study-abroad/spain/barcelona/global-architecture/