Digital Architecture is an architectural field that involves the use of digital media and tools in the design process and fabrication. It is a trend that greatly influences and benefits the architecture and design industry by leading to new forms of non-standard architecture. It emphasizes computer modelling, programming, simulation, and imaging to create both digital forms and physical structures. This helps to delimit the architects and their ideas as digital modelling, computational analysis, and building automation can easily be performed using various programs and technologies. 

Complex forms such as fluid building designs or parametric facades can easily be created through digital software such as Rhino and Grasshopper. 

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Tree-structure Canopy ©a3lab

There are many colleges and universities around the world that offer courses in this distinct field and equip students and professionals with the knowledge and skills for the future of architecture. 

Here are 10 colleges from around the world that offer a Master’s degree in Digital Architecture, in no particular order of preference.  

1. The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London 

Program: Architectural Computation MSc/ MRes
Duration: 1 Year (Full-Time), 2 Years (Part-Time)

Offered at one of the world’s top-ranked architecture schools, the course focuses on the skills to create generative and responsive forms through digital programmes and computation. It also encourages students to create innovative architectural solutions for the future through programming skills. At the end of the course, student work is showcased at an exhibition at the school. 

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Architectural Computation ©Bartlett School of Architecture

For more information regarding the course, visit:https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/architecture/programmes/postgraduate/architectural-computation-mscmres

2. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

Program: Master of Advanced Architectural Design
Duration: 2 Years

The Master’s program aims to create hands-on opportunities for students for experimentation and speculation in the field of digital architecture design and research. The main focus of the 4-semester course is on core strengths such as materiality + construction, architectural robotics, computational design, and ecological thinking. The curriculum consists of three areas: Studio, Research/Project, and Selectives/Electives and makes great use of the in-house Design Fabrication Laboratory. 

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Master of Advanced Architectural Design ©Carnegie Mellon University

For more information regarding the course, visit: https://soa.cmu.edu/maad

3. Architectural Association School of Architecture, London

Program: Emergent Technologies and Design – MSc/ MArch
Duration: 1 Year (MSc), 1 Year and 4 Months (MArch)

The EmTech programme focuses on the critical intersection of computational design and fabrication. The 1-year programme has two phases: the Studio and the Dissertation, both of which are supported by design research and methodologies in the field of digital architecture. Experimentation through computational design, analysis through simulation, and generation of prototypes are the basis of the studio design processes. 

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Emergent Technologies and Design ©Architectural Association School of Architecture

For more information regarding the course, visit: https://emtech.aaschool.ac.uk/

4. Weitzman School of Design, Philadelphia

Program: Advanced Architectural Design (MSD – AAD)
Duration: Three Semesters

The course structure moves from design research to fabrication with a focus on innovation and materials in digital architecture design. The MSD-AAD program starts with a 10-day workshop in design technique followed by design theory and studio. Material production, large-scale fabrication, construction processes, and aesthetics are also integrated into advanced digital modeling techniques. 

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Advanced Architectural Design ©Weitzman School of Design

For more information regarding the course, visit: https://www.penn-weitzman-aad.com/

5. Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women, Pune, India

Program: Master’s in Digital Architecture
Duration: 2 Years (Full Time)

Affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University and recognized by the Council of Architecture, this M.Arch programme covers parametric software, digital design, and fabrication, material research, robotic interface, and theories in Digital Architecture. The course is designed while keeping the changing architecture profession in mind and includes product design, building typology, urban design, and a research-based thesis for the four semesters.

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Student Work – Master’s in Digital Architecture ©Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women

For more information regarding the course, visit:https://www.bnca.ac.in/admissions/program/masters-in-digital-architecture/

6. Nottingham Trent University, England

Program: Digital Architecture and Construction
Duration: 1 Year (Full Time)

Computational design, BIM, parametric modelling, and building performance analysis are some of the key aspects of this master’s course. It focuses on both digital and theoretical skills regarding methodology and reasoning behind existing or emerging software and technology in the field of digital architecture and design. Identification of technical problems and digital opportunities in the built environment is also covered in the course. 

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Digital Architecture and Construction ©Nottingham Trent University

For more information regarding the course, visit:https://www.ntu.ac.uk/course/architecture-design-and-the-built-environment/pg/msc-digital-architecture-and-construction

7. Stanford University, California

Program: Parametric Design and Optimization
Duration: 1 Year

The advanced architecture programme, taught at one of the world’s leading private universities, emphasizes tools and techniques in digital architecture, parametric modeling, and computer-aided design optimization. Rapid generation and evaluation of parametric building designs is the main focus of the course. The modules include modeling platforms such as Revit/FormIt and Rhino with visual scripting languages such as Dynamo, Grasshopper, and DesignScript. 

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Parametric Design and Optimization ©Stanford University

For more information regarding the course, visit:https://online.stanford.edu/courses/cee220c-parametric-design-and-optimization

8. NMIMS Balwant Sheth School of Architecture

Program: Master in Architecture (Advance Architecture Design)
Duration: 2 Years (Full Time)

The 2-year programme aims to train students and professionals in innovative design strategies and advanced design experimentation. The course structure involves advanced design studios, interactive seminars, and international study visits. Along with the teachings of digital architecture, various multidisciplinary electives such as performative building skins and advanced fabrication techniques are also offered to the students.

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Master in Architecture (Advanced Architecture Design) ©NMIMS Balwant Sheth School of Architecture

For more information regarding the course, visit:https://architecture.nmims.edu/master-of-architecture.php

9. Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

Program: Master’s Degree in Parametric Design in Architecture
Duration: 9 Months

MPDA is taught at the Barcelona Metropolitan School of Architecture where students get access to its model workshop, digital laboratory, and CODA (Computational Design Affairs) research team. The programme is designed to offer an insight into solving problems in complex architecture design through software workshops, exploring real-life design applications, focusing on efficient building design, and design of lightweight building systems. 

The course structure involves the study of computational tools and digital manufacturing technology used in architecture and design along with other disciplines such as BIM (Building Information Modelling). 

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Master’s Degree in Parametric Design in Architecture ©Polytechnic University of Catalonia

For more information regarding the course, visit: https://www.mpda.upc.edu/

10. University of Kent, Canterbury, England

Program: Bio-Digital Architecture – MSc
Duration: 1 Year (Full Time), 2 Years (Part-Time)

Focused on both core and advanced skills in digital architecture, the MSc programme includes computational analysis of design problems, a theoretical basis of Computer-aided design (CAD), and the use of software by the students to generate and design space and form. The course also leverages the application of biological theory to enhance architectural thinking and perspective of the built environment of the students. 

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Bio-Digital Architecture ©University of Kent

For more information regarding the course, visit:  https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/2720/bio-digital-architecture

Author

An avid learner and reading enthusiast, Urja Jindal is a practicing Junior Architect who is currently exploring her interest in Architectural Journalism. She believes that people are the best audiences to the buildings around them and sees architecture as a medium that has the most power to change their environment.

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