IAAC - Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia - Barcelona

PhD Programmes

Digital fabrication presumes prefabrication and off-site production. This has vast implications on the environment and building practice as a whole, as transportation increases energy consumption and carbon footprint and logistics necessitate a building logic based on elements affecting problems of tolerances and losing structural and thermal advantages of monolithic structures while increasing costs and limiting the size of elements.


This project investigates on-site digital fabrication strategies using small-scale robots for big scale fabrication. It relies on prior research at IAAC developing new miniaturized robotic fabricators that print material in layers and are able to run on previously deposited layers achieving construction of large-scale structures. The robots have specialized building tasks and work collaboratively. The project will demonstrate the feasibility of these innovative fabrication processes and investigates new structural and thermal advantages of a printed monolithic building. It develops strategies for local materials (clay) usage reintroducing traditionally cheap material with low carbon footprint and high indoor comfort while retaining the precision and requirements of current building practice.

Expected Results:

The implementation of a printed building using small-scale collaborative robots for large-scale monolithic structures. Introduction of natural and local materials for robotic print-based fabrication.


Industry collaborations:

Planned secondments:

The planned secondments include two 4 month periods, one at Cloud 9, and one at ROK-Office.


Cloud9 will embed the project in a context for speculative projections of the application of small-scale robotically steered and print-based fabrication technologies.

ROK-Office will provide further embedded project context and expert know-how on the implementation of robotic fabrication strategies in real-world buildings.


The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia is an international centre for Education Fabrication and Research dedicated to the development of architecture capable of meeting the worldwide challenges in constructing 21st-century habitability.

Based in the [email protected] district of Barcelona, one of the world’s capitals of architecture and urbanism, IAAC is a platform for the exchange of knowledge with researchers, faculty, and students from over 60 countries.

Every year IAAC selects 100 new students from all over the world that gather at IAAC and give life to this significant laboratory for experimentation in order to envision the dwellings and the cities of our time, as well as their future. Students work simultaneously on multiple scales (city, building, manufacturing) and in different areas of expertise (self-sufficiency, digital fabrication, parametric design, new material development, interaction), pursuing their own lines of enquiry and research towards the development of an integrated set of skills with which to act effectively both in their home country and globally.

IAAC is Education, with the Master in Advanced Architecture and the Master in City & Technology giving the next generation of architects the space to imagine, test and shape the future of cities, architecture, and technology.

IAAC is Fabrication, with the Fab Lab Barcelona, the most advanced digital production laboratory in Southern Europe, a laboratory where you can build almost everything, that recently hosted Fab10, the 10th annual worldwide Fab Lab conference.

IAAC is Research, with Valldaura Labs, a self-sufficient research centre located in the Collserola Metropolitan park, 20 minutes from the centre of Barcelona, where a series of laboratories are implemented for the production and testing of Energy, Food, and Things.

And IAAC is also Barcelona, the European Capital for Innovation (2014), the city that aims to be a self-sufficient city, a fab-lab city, a smarter city. Thanks to its innovative visions, IAAC is strategically aligned to the new urban policies of the city, developed in close collaboration and mutual inspiration between the two entities.



A bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture. Mature skills in relative material sciences, computational modelling, fabrication, and programming are expected and must be demonstrated in the application.

According to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, to be eligible, each researcher must fulfil the following criteria at the time of recruitment by the host institution concerned within the time frame of this project:

1. Nationality

The researcher may be of any nationality.

2. Mobility

At the date of recruitment by the host institution, the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc…) in the country (Spain) of the host institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment under the project.

3. Qualifications and research experience

Early stage researcher means a researcher who, at the time of recruitment by the host institution, has not yet been awarded the doctorate degree and is in the first 4 years of his/her research career.

Read more about the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

Terms of Employment

The position is a Full-Time position and will refer to the Terms and Conditions of IAAC-UPC. For further information on said terms and conditions, please contact [email protected]


In order to be admitted to the Doctorate of Architectural Design it is necessary to include the following documents in the application:

2_State of the art; Research framework; proposed methodology, objectives and outcomes

3_Proposed timetable of research development for the 3 years of the research duration (starting in September 2015)

The extension of the document should not exceed 5 pages.

j) 2 reference letters including the full name of the referee, referee’s position and institution, email of the referee, and telephone contact of the referee.

If something is missing, the application shall not be considered complete, and therefore not accepted.

In order to be able to do the PhD in English, a good written and a spoken level is required for all applicants. The minimum level should be set:

• TOEFL Test (>80 iBT) certificate or equivalent is needed.

• Certificate in Advanced English (Level A o B) o Certificate of Proficiency in English.

• IELTS (mínimum rate: 7, in the Academic version or General Training).


Candidates should register in both of the following online links:

1_ http://apply.iaac.net/applications/view.php?id=28349

2_ https://preinscripcio.upc.edu/home_candidat.php?idioma=3

Please upload to links all the documents required for application (see APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS above).

3_Once having completed both online forms, please send one email to

[email protected] and [email protected]

Indicating that you have completed your pre-registration and application.

APPLICATION DEADLINE is the 17th of May 2015 at 24.00 CET

For further information about the application requirements, please contact Areti Markopoulou or Mathilde Marengo by telephone at +34 933 209 520 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria is encouraged to apply for the scholarship regardless of age, gender, race, religion or ethnicity.

Applicants will be informed by mid-June 2015 of the results of the application procedure. Some applicants may be asked to further discuss application content in a Skype interview with the relative Selection Committee.

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