IAAC – Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction
Theory and Context II Seminar

Faculty: Ricardo Devesa

                                    HUMAN MACHINES COLLABORATION


“As a future-oriented discipline, architecture ‘dries-up’ and loses intellectual vigour if it does not revitalise its constructive culture and engage with its own material roots […] With Robot we turn our attention to the physical nature of architecture. In doing so, we open up new aesthetic and functional perspectives and address the digital in architecture as a radically contemporary building culture”.

Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler and Jan Willmann. The Robotic Touch: How Robots Change Architecture. Zurich: Park Book, 2014, p.11, 381.

Branching Morphogenesis ©Jenny Sabin Studio


Because of the Digital Revolution and shifts in the contemporary production of objects, a radical change of paradigms has occurred inside the field of architecture. These changes require to develop and lead a proper theory and method that will be affecting the design and building culture.
The increase on the digital and technological capabilities are being tested in prototypes and small installations. These explorations challenge us to ask about why and for what of our designs and innovations, more than what and how they will become relevant at a larger scale of architecture and when will be assumed by the building industry.

Therefore, the seminar “Theory and context” proposes to explore the intellectual, cultural, and operational approaches to answer those questions: why and for what. Besides, its intent is to guide the student throughout a personal research to build up his own theoretical framework. To achieve these goals, each student will develop during all the year a theoretical research related with the rest of lectures, workshops and studios of the Master.

Following up the structure of the MRAC, this seminar is organized thematically under its three main topics for each term (Matter, Data, and Interactions). But at the same time, the seminar will focus on re-thinking the processes and meanings of Design, Assemblage and Making.


The main seminar goal is to establish some methodological and theoretical principles to sustain the academic research production generated during the MRAC. To achieve it, these are the academic aims:
1. To know the complexity of the different phases of the whole process of an academic investigation
2. To analyze critically texts and documents that ground the main knowledge for MRAC
3. To develop analytical judgments and reasons of value during the investigations
4. To improve the writing of academic texts
5. To know how to extract a few theoretical principles as a conclusion in any kind of research

The transverse competences that the students should get:

. To promote critical thinking
. To develop skills by means of written, oral and graphical communication
. To obtain an aptitude to find out and manipulate all kind of documentation for an investigation: bibliographical, visual and audio-visual.

Seminar structure

The structure of the seminar is organized in three terms to enable students to find guidance, as well as theoretical and instrumental tools, to follow their design studio project. This seminar will explore concurrently the basic elements of any investigation by means of three different, but complementary, approximations: the methodological steps and tools to develop it, the exemplary researches done by relevant authors, and the mentoring of their own researches by the professor, directors of the MRAC, and some other invited researchers. The program will consist on three kinds of activities during each segment:

A. Master Lessons where professor Ricardo Devesa will expose the steps and set of tools for develops an advanced research. The seven subjects are:
1. How to choose your topic: Aims of any kind of investigation.
2. How to read critically.
3. Research methodologies
4. Database where compile documents
5. How to analyse and evaluate architecture objects.
6. Writing and telling.
7. Communicating, editing and disseminating the research.

B. Lectures, Interviews, and Round-tables to exemplify some of the most advanced investigations given by external researchers. These meetings will include a brief introduction of every guests on what they deal and how they apply the research and the theory in the advanced architecture and construction and how, specially, they will affect on the topic proposed in the course. At the end, a conversation or/and an interview between guests and students will be hold.

C. Mentoring program for each student.

The contents of each format will be coordinated in order to the students could receive first a methodological frame, later an example of different protagonists who exercise the advanced architectural research. Afterwards, students will expose, correct and improve their personal research during all the academic year.