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Construction & Technology is a “practical” leg of the Master, helping students to develop their housing projects with the current techniques for building structures, industrialization, construction details, and building systems. The module will take a total of 40 hours, divided in 9 days with 3 sessions per day of around 1.5 hours each.

The aim of this module is to understand buildings as entities based on the interplay of three physical realms: structure, envelope and services, connected by one technique: industrialization. A presentation during the first 1.5 hours every day will deepen on how design affects – and is affected by – each of the physical realms and technique. After that, a discussion on current references in housing projects will follow, and finally students will be asked to present their own design proposals for a review under the selected topic of each day.

At the end of the module students will have incorporated a number of construction techniques to their pack of design experience, and will have understood design and construction as one continuous process. Design is not possible without construction, and vice-versa, if our buildings are supposed to be real architecture. Similarly, students will develop a culture of construction beside their evolving culture of design.




Lessons will take place every day from 4:00pm to 9:00pm, in three intervals of 1.5 hours each.




The three realms and the technique will be presented together with a selection of ideas – a sort of current trends underpinning the design and construction of collective housing in the 21st century. Those ideas will be discussed by means of references – relevant built examples; some contemporary, others from the 20th century.


1. Introduction – housing technique: Looking from within: housing details


2. Building envelope: Housing and envelope: trends and current practice; Panel, rain screen, EIFS, windows, and their interfaces


3. Structure: Structural decisions for collective housing; Steel, precast and in-situ concrete, timber structures


4. Energy: MEP, services and sustainability Services in housing: Why? What for? How?; Energy demand and energy generation. The project of services


5. Industrialization in housing: Worldwide panoramic view of industrialization applied to housing; Technology transfer applied to architecture




Module coordinator: Ignacio Fernández Solla

Building Envelope: Ignacio Fernandez SollaArup Spain

Energy & Services: Archie CampbellArup Spain

Industrialization: Diego García-Setién – GaSSz Architects Associates

Structure: David Rutter – Arup Spain


Lessons will take place from 4:00pm to 9:00pm in three intervals.

Outline of a typical session:

1. Presentation on the subject of the day; 1.5h

2. Discussion on recent solutions applied to housing projects; 1h

3. Workshop with students to discuss their design proposals under the topic of the day; 2h




Students, working in 6 teams of three or two persons, are invited to develop their proposal for a housing project in detail as the module progresses. Every team is invited to select a project from three collective housing projects presented to them during the first session.

As a result of the above, every two teams will share the same housing project to develop during the module. Teams are invited to modify the project by assuming it will be built in a different location: for every project one team will select a cold & rich location, and the other a hot and poor area. All locations will in any case be different from the original one. Please do not modify the architectural volume or its distribution, since that is not relevant for this module. The intention is to have a basic container that will be “re-redesigned” by the team in terms of building envelope, industrialization techniques, structure and services as the module sessions progress.

Teams are invited to advance a solution for each topic (façade, structure, services) before the sessions, and present it during the last two hours of every session. The lecturers will select a number of projects (3 to 5 per session) and critique them in a workshop format. The team will then make adjustments to their project and move on to the next topic.

In addition, students are asked to read the assigned material and to participate openly in discussions.

At the end of the module students will submit the current state of their housing project for a final review and grading. Grading criteria will consider:


Research and design – 50%. Based on:

− Identifies design objectives correctly;

− Identifies relevant & valid information to support decision-making;

− Generates a valid analysis of alternatives;

− Identifies relevant constraints (economic, environmental, safety sustainability, etc.);

− Generates valid conclusions/decisions.

Team work – 25%. Based on:

− Peer evaluation;

− Observations of group meetings;

Communication – 25%. Based on:

− Written / drawn messages;

− Visual and oral presentation.



Definition of collective housing

Multifamily housing applies to projects with at least five dwelling units in a single building with common structural elements. Projects include apartments, condominiums, townhouses and other residential complexes within all market thresholds – affordable housing, market-rate and luxury.

Shapes include row (or terraced or town) housing, infill apartment buildings, linear blocks, square blocks (street, courtyard or solar oriented), stepped blocks (varying height, terraces), up to single and multi-towers.


Construction etymology

Etymology of build (v):

Late Old English byldan "construct a house," verb form of bold "house," from Proto-Germanic *buthlam (source also of Old Saxon bodl, Old Frisian bodel "building, house"), from PIE *bhu- "to dwell," from root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow" (see be). Rare in Old English; in Middle English it won out over more common Old English timbran (see timber).

Etymology of construction (n.)

Late 14c., from Old French construction or directly from Latin constructionem (nominative constructio), from construct-, past participle stem of construere "pile up together, accumulate; build, make, erect," from com- "together" (see com-) + struere "to pile up"

Collective housing is the current typology nearest to the old meaning of construction or building: to pile up together / to grow a dwelling…


Ideas to share

• Industrialization: construction as progress thinking.

• Construction 4.0 and housing: additive manufacturing (pile up), robotization, IoT, big data, total design in a digital world.

• The act of building together / cooperative housing.

• Top of the coin: Wellbeing – air quality – acoustic quality – natural light – natural ventilation – fitness – comfort – mind – nourishment. Bottom of the coin: Resilience – safety – fire resistance – evacuation.

• Urban farming – green housing – vertical farming – water storage – green envelopes.

• Circular economy – renovation vs new housing – life cycle processes.

• Near zero energy communities – passive housing – energy generation.

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