Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Design Studio I

Design Studio I
First semester
Project Planning Module
Projects 1
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Spanish

Teaching staff

Students have the right to mentorship interviews with the teacher, after a mutually agreed appointment. If possible during class breaks or at the end.

Borja Ferrater:   bfa_uic@uic.es          

Ignasi Gutiérrez: ignasigf@uic.es 

Estel Ortega:   eortega@uic.es


DESIGN STUDIO I will be focusing in the study of “HOUSING” design. Understanding it as the central axis of our individual and social life, through the development of a residential project.
Therefore, we will be considering new family programs, approaching to new social contexts that are becoming more frequent, as well as the importance of the place and its surroundings as an essential part of the project.
On the same line, we will be researching around new ways of inhabiting, proposing new forms of living, and understanding new social contexts as well as exploring new relationships between housing and other uses.
This first semester of your second year, will emphasize the acquisition of new tools to design but also learn how to represent and communicate housing Architecture throughout the development of an individual project by the student.
Professors with wide experience on the field of Housing.
  • Dr. Borja Ferrater
  • M. Arch María Barcina
  • M. Arch Ignasi Gutiérrez

Beyond the fact that you will be developing an exercise according to the following contents exposed hereunder, we will also put special attention to reinforce your communication skills. Those skills will be expressed in many ways: Oral, Written, Graphical and even those related to Model making

Your capacity to explain the project mainly through your drawings and other representation tools will reinforce and prepare you to integrate yourselves in an increasingly competitive professional environment.

Design Workshops will involve all the group with the goal of encouraging an open debate between students. This will strengthen students to defend their project with their own arguments, and will allow students to reinforce their intentions as well as develop a certain intellectual maturity towards their own decisions.

We will put special emphasis in both Punctuality and regular assistance, and we will be quite strict with those that do not comply with the established deadlines and the contents of your submissions.

As usual in all Design Courses at our School, there will be a specific blog of the Studio class. We will be posting there some additional contents to our course as well as useful information and news related to our course.


Pre-course requirements

The amount and dynamics of the course it is indeed very intensive, for which it is necessary that the student counts with great capacity of work but most importantly self-organization.

On the other hand, students must have a learning spirit that encourages them to work and research. We promote students to do their own research and look for their own references, counting as well with references recommended by teachers, through the study of the recommended bibliography.

During the initial stages of the course teachers will provide a series of individual exercises to help students learn the basic measures in architecture. Specially those related to the field of Housing.

Second Year Design Studio does not particularly require any previous technical skills besides knowing the basics of descriptive geometry that you learned during your first year and being familiarized with the basic tools of representation in architecture: Plan, Elevation and Cross Sections drawings.


Also, this course pretends to incorporate the knowledge acquired in the different courses of the school, understanding that knowledge shall be treated transversally throughout your career.

Students will be able to transmit the idea behinds their project, explain their main concepts as well as its spatial structure and organization, all them in relation to the program, circulations, light, integration to its surroundings as well as the main strategy and the organization of the process.

It is for such reason that professors will also evaluate the level of precision in the representation of floor plans, cross sections, elevations, architectural models, infographics and all the range of possible representation tools at their disposal.

This course is oriented towards housing and so it is essential to acquire skills such as knowing how to design and efficiently organize a house, in accordance with the different proposed programs. But it is also crucial that beyond that, students also is capable of showing their technical representation abilities and communication strategy.

Therefore, in addition to the satisfactory evolution of your work, we will acknowledge students that have been able to understand the different dimensions of housing, the different systems of aggregation, as well as being aware of the importance to design spaces for its good habitability and accessibility.

It is of vital importance that students will succeed by reaching their capacity to address the complexity of the different conditions raised during the course. We will evaluate both the conceptual development of the project as well as the rigor and discipline in which the the work is organized and represented.


The ability to conceive, put into practice and develop: sketches, preliminary designs, basic execution projects and projects in urban contexts.

The ability to: draw up and understand project programmes, intervention, restoration, conservation and rehabilitation of heritage, removal of physical barriers, cities for everyone, exercise architectural criticism, find solutions for passive environmental conditioning (insulation, energy control and performance). 

The capacity to: design and execute urban roads and public spaces and to understand and apply urban planning ordinances and regulations.

Sufficient knowledge of: theories of form, symbolism, composition and architectural typologies; history of architecture; understanding of social needs, quality of life and habitability and how to solve them; the environment, sustainability and the conservation of material and energy resources; local architectural traditions; social, economic, environmental, technical and urban foundations; the relationship between cultural patterns and the responsibilities of the architect.

Class exhibition
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Class participation
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Clase practice
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Individual or group study
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Learning outcomes

The aim is that students learn to think for themselves, extracting logical, feasible and creative conclusions from their own thought processes, determination and personal ambitions. THEIR OWN IDEAS: defining their ideas clearly, logically and precisely using both graphic and technical language which is at the same time communicative and creative. DEVELOPING THEIR OWN TECHNICAL AND GRAPHIC STYLE.


The specific project and locations and the exact working programme for each week will be given in class.

The materialization of the idea will also be an important element. The sustainability and constructive and sensorial properties of the materials chosen for the concept will be another aspect to take into consideration.

Finally, it is worth underlining that the project will need to be developed with a constructive awareness: the exercise will entail a coherent and consistent transition between the concept and the constructive idea. Therefore this will require a clear definition of the main constructive and structural elements that will support the architectural formalization of the project and hence materialize the conceptual idea. Other factors to take into account will be the time, energy and resources dedicated to the construction and maintenance of the building and any possible deconstruction in the future.

Teaching and learning activities

In person

General structure of the course

Times: FRIDAY, from 09.30 to 14.00

09.30-10.00: questions reltated to the previous class, weekly references and specific reading matter. Answers in person and on paper (10 minutes), students will hang their work on the walls (pin-up), and there will be a public correction of selected works with an emphasis on the best projects (20 minutes). Attendance record every day at 09.30.

10.00-11.00: Theory class: the professors will provide ideas and examples for learning the theoretical, technical and graphic foundations for the correct documentation and presentation of projects (30-60 minutes).

10.30-14.00: Personal workshop (desk crits) with the assigned professors (between 3 and 4 hours). Around 12:00 the will be a break of about 30 min.

Class exhibition
34-T 35-T 36-T 37 38-T 39-T 40 41-T 42 43-T 44-T 45-T 46 47-T 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 60 61 62 0,6
Class participation
34-T 35-T 36-T 37 38-T 39-T 40 41-T 42 43-T 44-T 45-T 46 47-T 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 60 61 62 0,6
Clase practice
34-T 35-T 36-T 37 38-T 39-T 40 41-T 42 43-T 44-T 45-T 46 47-T 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 60 61 62 0,65
34-T 35-T 36-T 37 38-T 39-T 40 41-T 42 43-T 44-T 45-T 46 47-T 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 61 62 0,65
Individual or group study
34-T 35-T 36-T 37 38-T 39-T 40 41-T 42 43-T 44-T 45-T 46 47-T 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 60 61 62 2,5

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person


The course is structured into theory classes throughout the semester and a series of assignments and partial and final submissions during the course.

Classes will start every Friday at 09.30 and end at 14.00. During the first four weeks they will involve both theory and practical sessions, focused on analysing the aspects that will help students with their project development. These sessions will be held first thing so they can serve as a reference for the corrections made later on during the morning.

Lectures and personal theory sessions will alternate with public sessions so it is extremely important that students attend the entire class to get the greatest benefit from both their own and other students’ presentations. An attendance record will be taken every morning at 09.30 and students who miss more than 20% of classes (2 classes) will fail automatically. 

All students will be guaranteed the chance to make their presentation but the order and length of time will be determined by the professors, giving precedence to ideas that have entailed the most effort or hours of work, and grouping similar projects into shared correction sessions. For this reason it is very important that students attend from early morning to ensure their right to present their ideas.

Model work will be an important part of the course, whether this is practice work or the definitive submission, and models should be presented in accordance with the established schedule, which will vary in scale.

To pass the course, students will need to complete the full course, attending class every day, and submit all the required assignments on time and in the correct format. Any work submitted late or with the wrong contents or format will not be accepted.

Bibliography and resources


Neufert, Ernst “El Arte de proyectar en Arquitectura”. Ed. Gustavo Gili. 2013

Neufert, Ernst “Architect’s data”. John Willey & Sons Ltd. 2012

Frederick, Mathew “101 Cosas Que Aprendí En La Escuela De Arquitectura”. Ed. Abada. 2016

Frederick, Mathew “101 I learned in Architecture School” MIT Press. 2007



  • Habraken, N.J. “El diseño de soportes”. Ed. Gustavo Gili.
  • Ferrater, Borja. "Synchronizing Geometry" Ed. Actar 2006
  • Rybczynski, Witold. La casa: “historia de una idea”. Ed. Nerea, Madrid, 1989
  • Paricio, Ignacio. Sust, Xavier. La vivienda contemporánea. Programa y tecnología. ITEC, 1998
  • Allison, Peter. La flexibilidad de los sistemas móviles y modulares. Artículo en a+t. nº12
  • Xavier Monteys. L’arquitectura dels anys 50 a Barcelona. Catalogo exposición. Edicions ETSAB.
  • González, Xavier. Vivienda y flexibilidad. Artículo en a+t. nº12.
  • Paricio, Ignacio. Fumadó, Joan Lluís. El tendido de las instalaciones. Ed. Bisagra, 1999.
  • Friederike Schneider (ed.). Atlas de plantas, Ed. Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 1997. Birkhäuser Verlag Ag., Basilea, Suïssa, 1994
  • Díaz, C. Ravetllat, P.J.. Habitatge i Tipus en l’Arquitectura Catalana. Barcelona. Publicacions del COAC, 1989.
  • Sherwood, Roger. Vivienda: Prototipos del Movimiento Moderno. Ed. Gustavo Gili, 1983.
  • Goldfinger, Myron. Arquitectura popular mediterránea. Ed. Gustavo Gili, 1995.
  • Smithson, Alison. AS in DS. Lars Müller Publishers, 2001.
  • Fuertes, Pere. Monteys, Xavier. Casa Collage. Ed. Gustavo Gili, 2002.
  • Enrique Steegmann, José Acebillo. Las medidas en arquitectura. Publicaciones del COAC.
  • Alvar Aalto. ”Del umbral a la sala de estar”. Artículo. En contacto con Alvar Aalto.

Teaching and learning material