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1. Advanced Studies Program in Computation applied to Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design

The expression of the architecture of a particular time always reflects the context of the time, including the available technology. Today, computational resources are already instruments used in most design environments. However, to a certain extent, they are used merely as facilitators of processes acquired and tested over time. The advanced program in design and computation is intended to go one step forward by promoting the use of computation in architecture as a means for expanding intuition and awareness, thereby enhancing the capacity of the Architect to relate to and act on the surrounding world in a more intelligent and holistic way.


1. Advanced Studies Program in Computation applied to Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design
2. Organization and partnerships
3. Typology
4. ECTS credits allocated and its justification
5. Relationship with the branches of knowledge in which FAULisboa possesses scientific skills
6. Courses of 1st and 2nd cycle in the area proposed for the course
7. Justification and objectives
8. Recipients and conditions of access, evaluation and scheduling
9. Plan of study and program
10. Courses program (synthetic content)
11. Proposal for faculty and external collaborations
12. Laboratory Resources
13. Tuition
14. Application Deadline
15. Response time to Applications
16. Enrollment
17. Classes Calendar

Coordinator: José P. Duarte

Scientific Committee:
José P. Duarte, FA/ULisboa
Luís Mateus, FA/ULisboa
José Nuno Beirão, FA/ULisboa
Victor Ferreira, FA/ULisboa
Joaquim Jorge, IST/ULisboa
António Leitão, IST/ULisboa
Paulo Bártolo, IPL
Helena Bártolo, IPL
George Stiny, MIT
Terry Knight, MIT
Gabriela Celani, Unicamp

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2. Organization and partnerships

The Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon (FAULisboa) was the first school of its kind in Portugal and one of the first schools in Europe to invest in new technologies, creating its Computer Center in 1986. Therefore FAUL holds today significant knowledge capital and accumulated experience in the application of computational methods to design processes in the context of Architecture, Urbanism and Design. Such capital is embodied by an expert faculty, cutting-edge equipment and facilities in this area, as well as and the fundamental research and applied development, which is translated into fundamental and applied research projects and into a large number of publications in international conferences and journals.
The Advanced Studies Course in Computation Applied to Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (CEA-CAAUD) is proposed within this framework, under the conviction that it fills a gap in providing training to architecture and urban planning agents which, by the nature of their disciplinary action, seek to expand their knowledge, integrating such tools and procedures.
Advanced Studies Course is organized by FAUL and relies on the support of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) and Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (IPL) in some specific areas such as programming, virtual reality, advanced scanning and digital manufacturing, and of MIT with whom there is a tradition of collaboration for many years.

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3. Typology

CEA-CAAUD operates in two semesters, corresponding to a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 60 ECTS credits. A close relationship is intended with the doctoral programs of FAUL, enabling the student to join one of those doctoral programs after its completion. To this effect, the student needs only to perform the courses Research Methodologies (1st semester) and Thesis Project Seminar (2nd semester)in the following year.
In each half of the Course, the student must choose four to six courses from those offered as optional.

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4. ECTS credits allocated and its justification

The allocation of ECTS credits is based on the estimated workload for each course, in line with the criteria established by Decree-Law No. 42/05 of 22/02.
Each course is worth 5 ECTS credits, corresponding to an amount of semi-annual work (workload) 140 hours, including contact 21 hours.

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5. Relationship with the branches of knowledge in which FAULisboa possesses scientific skills

CEA-CAAUD corresponds to a 3rd cycle educational offer, which comes as a logical sequence of the 1st and 2nd cycle, now enhanced with the recent curriculum revision. In these courses of study, fundamental issues of 2D and 3D modelling are discussed, in a perspective oriented to design, manufacturing and construction. This offer is diverse and covers all undergraduate and master's degrees.
In the following table the existing courses for 1st and 2nd cycle are listed, in the scientific field proposed for this specialization course.

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6. Courses of 1st and 2nd cycle in the area proposed for the course

Courses Programs Sem. Weekly hours/ typology
Digital Representation Systems in Architecture MiARQ; MiARQ-Int; MiARQ-Urb 3h / TP
Modelling and three-dimensional visualization in architecture MiARQ; MiARQ-Int; MiARQ-Urb 3h / TP
Geometric and Generative Modeling MiARQ 3h / TP
Digital Representation Systems in Design Lic. Design 3h / TP
Digital Representation Systems in Fashion Design Lic. Design Moda 3h / TP
Parametric Modelling and Digital Prototyping in Design Lic. Design 3h / TP
Parametric Modelling and Digital Prototyping in Fashion Design Lic. Design de Moda 3h / TP
Complements of mathematics and statistics MiARQ; MiAQR-Int; MiARQ-Urb 3h / TP


In this context, the CEA-CAAUD deepens the topics taught in those courses, introduces new themes, and translates into a set of courses covering general areas applicable to any of the above mentioned branches, such as: Shape Grammars, Programming, Fundamentals Mathematics for Computation, Virtual Reality, Digital Design and Fabrication, Simmulation, animation; majority areas devoted to architecture such as: BIM, 3D scanning; or areas mostly targeted to urban planning: GIS, Space Syntax and Parametric Urban Design.

7. Justification and objectives

Nowadays, an inertia remains in professional practice, avoiding at all costs modifying tested professional practices and validated by everyday use, in detriment of new ways of doing, emphasized by the constant and rapid evolution of technologies and processes, and the effort required by constant updating. ASC-CAAUD fills a gap in the training panorama of architects, urban planners and designers in the current context, in which design processes tend to increasingly rely on digital tools and computational methods, facilitating and streamlining the acquisition of a set of knowledge and processes, with direct application in professional practice and in cooperation with the industry.
The set of courses provided by CEA-CAAUD allows its students to fill in these gaps in areas applicable to FAULisboa-specific scientific fields, including Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, customizing their training according to their specific interests. The range of courses offered covers a vast spectrum of the state of the art in the field of digital tools and computational methods, essential to forming a competitive advantage in a market saturated with architects and designers with a traditional training. CEA-CAAUD aims at combining tradition with innovation, giving their students the knowledge that enables them to increase the insertion potential in the labour market, while contributing to the economic development of the country.
In the current context, in which computer aided design has become common practice among professionals, and IT tools and processes continue to evolve, a gradual transition to the parametric design is taking place, opening up new application areas, automating tasks and revolutionizing established areas. In parallel, technological evolution of machine tools has rendered the practice of rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing increasingly accessible, enabling physically produce parts, components and modules at affordable costs, with direct application in construction.
The digital processes have the potential to revolutionize and support, from conceptual phase to implementation, and are essential for:
i) the constant demand for construction rationalization; ii) simulation and analysis of buildings and urban areas; iii) maximize comfort, quality and energy and environmental efficiency; iv) minimize costs; v) expedite surveys at various scales; vi) structure and analyse data; vii) virtual display of built environments, in real-time or for multimedia applications.
The knowledge provided in this course grants professionals with the ability to enhance their professional practice, enabling the collection and use of a multitude of data, which is currently at their disposal, but remain underutilized. By being able to process that data, through the support of digital tools, it becomes an invaluable resource, enhancing the production of a more informed and sustainable project, supporting its implementation in an effective and innovative way.

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8. Recipients and conditions of access, evaluation and scheduling

a) recipients and access conditions:
CEA-CAAUD is directed at Masters, Licensed (pre-Bologna) in Architecture, Urban Design, Design, Engineering, Archaeology, as well as in related fields.
Candidates from other areas of training may be accepted after positive curriculum assessment by the Program’s Scientific Committee.
Minimum number of students for the course to run: 16.
Maximum number of registrations: 26.
Method of selection: The selection will consist on curricular appreciation. At the Scientific Committee's discretion, individual interviews may be held.
b) evaluation:
The general philosophy of ASC-CAAUD is "learn by doing" and "hands on", meaning an emphasis on practical work, always accompanied by provided theoretical support adapted to the ongoing practice. Specifically, each course will define its own modes, components, weightings for evaluation and ranking, which will always be expressed quantitatively within a range of 0 to 20.
After graduation, the average shall be calculated in proportion to the ECTS credits for each course.
c) duration, working hours (weekly total), course timing:
CEA-CAAUD lasts for one academic year (two semesters) and a deadline for completion of 4 academic semester after admission, after which time the registration expiration date, and the student may only require certificate to courses actually completed .
Students will freely choose 4-6 courses per semester, from a range of 6 units offered per semester. The minimum number of students in a course is 6 students to justify their teaching.
Each semester lasts for 14 weeks, and each course consists of 1.5 hours of weekly contact, adding up to a semi-annual workload of 140 hours. Thus the weekly contact teaching time is 6 hours, and there may be extra class monitoring to be agreed with the teachers.
In total, the ASC-CAAUD corresponds to a workload total of 1120 hours, of which 168 are contact hours if the student is enrolled in 40 ECTS.
In both semesters, reviews will occur at the time intended for this purpose in accordance with the academic calendar of FAULisboa.

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9. Plan of study and program

All units of the CEA-CAAUD are offered in a free election mode according to the deepening needs felt of each student. In this sense, the curriculum follows a loose structure which may be different from student to student. The only restriction is that the courses should be held in the semester in which they are offered.

Scientific areas of FAULisboa with participation in CEA-CAAUD

Research Area Designation
A Architecture
U Urban Planning
TAUD Technologies of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design
DCV Drawing and Visual Communication


Scientific areas of IST with participation in CEA-CAAUD

Research Area Designation
Inf Computers


Scientific areas of IPL with participation in CEA-CAAUD

Research Area Designation
E Engineering


Curriculum of the CEA-CAAUD

1st Semester Research Area ECTS Weekly hours
Option 1 - 5 1,5
Option 2 - 5 1,5
Option 3 - 5 1,5
Option 4 - 5 1,5
  Total 1st semester 40 6
2º semestre      
Option 5 - 5 1,5
Option 6 - 5 1,5
Option 7 - 5 1,5
Option 8 - 5 1,5
  Total 2nd semester 40 6


Optative table in 1st semester

Designation Research Area ECTS Weekly hours
Shape Grammars CVD/A 5 1,5
3D Digitization CVD 5 1,5
Space Syntax U 5 1,5
SIG U 5 1,5
BIM A 5 1,5
Programming Computers 5 1,5
3D Scanning Close Range (*) E 5 (1)


 Optional table in 2nd semeter

Designation Research Area ECTS Weekly hours
Digital Design and Fabrication A 5 1,5
Mathematics Bases for Computing TAUD 5 1,5
Simulation TAUD 5 1,5
Computer Animation CVD 5 1,5
Parametric Urban Design U 5 1,5
Virtual Reality Computers 5 1,5
Advanced Digital Manufacturing (*) 5 (1)


(*) The subjects of 3D Scanning close range and Advanced Digital Fabrication will be taught at the Center for Rapid and Sustainable Product Development - IPL in condensed form (1 or 2 weeks) and after the end of each semester. Therefore, it is recommended that students have done the preceding courses of 3D Digitization (1st semester) and Digital Design and Fabrication (2nd semester).

In addition to the courses expressed in these tables, the CEA-CAAUD also includes masterful lectures by visiting professors, including MIT, who will also participate in the discussion of student work.

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10. Courses program (synthetic content)

1st Semester

Shape grammars

(1) Introduction to shape grammars: theory and applications in architecture, urbanism and design;
(2) Shape grammars in education;
(3) Form, shape analysis, shape computation, transformations in Euclidean space, algebras;
(4) Spatial relations, rules, labels, derivation, recursion, parameterization;
(5) Color and weight grammars;
(6) Compound grammars;
(7) Descriptive grammars;
(8) Applications in architecture, urbanism and design;
(9) Critics of the theory, analogies with Chomsky grammars and Turing machines;
(10) Stylistic transformations;
(11) 2D grammars interpreters;
(12) 3D grammars interpreters.
Classes will be supported by a series of readings and the development of small practical exercises on selected themes.

Course record pdf icon

3D Digitization

1. The 3D Digitization in the context of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design:
2. geometric transformations (scale, rotation, translation)
3. Data acquisition systems;
4. Three-dimensional reconstruction from multiple images (automatic photogrammetry):
5. 3D Laser Scanning:
6. geometry reconstruction techniques
7. Workflows: data acquisition> Data> 3D reconstruction> 2D modeling / 3D> architectural analysis.
The teaching / learning methodology will include the selection of a study object, using a selection of learned techniques, according to an objective previously stated by the student.

Discipline record pdf icon


Space Syntax

The curricular unit is structured in two modules: a theoretical and a practical. 1. Theory Module (analysis and theory): Introduction (basic concepts presentation – space syntax, space, spatial configuration);
Introduction to spatial representation techniques (convex space maps, axial line maps, justified graphs, isovists, visibility graph analyses, segment maps); Spatial Analysis: measures (topological distance – depth, total depth, connectivity, control, integration, choice, axial length), scattergrams. Urban Theory (urban space structural regularity, syntactic intelligibility, local area effect, natural movement, movement economy); Case studies: national and international examples (projects, processes, tools). 2. Practical Module Procedures for axial map creation (cartographic sources, axial line drawing strategies, representation problems, line resolution versus the scale of analyses); Analyses and validation of a complex model (objectives, tools and data packages, empirical data integration, statistical analyses, multi-variable models); Hierarchy of centralities in the existing urban grid and impact of proposals for altering the grid (objectives, diagnostic, identification of existing centralities, proposal impact); Visibility graph analyses map creation of a concrete area (map base creation, analyses resolution, using agents, empirical data integration); Practical application of the pedestrian and vehicle survey methodologies: gate method, moving method, snapshot, “

Discipline record pdf icon


Introduction to GIS

1. Models and spatial modeling of geographic phenomena and concepts of geographic information.
2. Geographic Information Systems for analyzing complex phenomena.
3. Training in GIS software (ArcGIS).
4. Structuring projects in GIS oriented for doctoral dissertation.
5. Digital documents to organize and disseminate the concepts and the techniques acquired.

Discipline record pdf icon



1. Using Archicad with existing design elements and representations, enabling automating listing and measurement of imported drawings.
2. Exploring sets of information: automatic sheet numbering and naming, using hyerarchic subsets. Producing area and feature schedules, structuring schedules in Excel, inserting structured data in layout sheets.
3. Contingencies of final plotting, pen sets, clarity of layout design and information.
4. Further developing data structuring on a database.
5. Developing design intentions with descriptive assessment of spaces and integration of collections of real objects

Ficha da Disciplina pdf icon



1. Programming. Languages: Syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
2. Language elements: numbers, functions, identifiers.
3. Control structures: invocation and selection.
4. Data structures: coordinates, coordinate systems.
5. Geometric modeling.
6. Recursion.
7. State and randomness.
8. Lists.
9. Constructive Solid Geometry.
10. Higher-order functions.
11. Parametric representation.
The assessment will include a written examination and the realization of a project.

Discipline record pdf icon


Close Range 3D scanning

1. active 3D scanning techniques in architecture, urbanism and design
2. laser triangulation Principles
3. Fundamentals of structured projection of white light
4. Calibration of active 3D scanning systems
5. 3D passive scanning techniques in architecture, urbanism and design
6. human visual perception
7. Photogrammetry
8. Computer vision
9. Calibration in photogrammetry and computer vision
10. Advanced calibration techniques (self-calibration)
11. Correspondence between points and 3D structure (binocular stereopsis and 3D motion)
12. Digital formats (3D points, STL, IGES)
13. color and texture acquisition methods
14. Advanced Concept BioCAD
15. Integration of advanced 3D scanning with additive manufacturing.
16. Applications in architecture, urbanism and design
The methodology of teaching / learning will consist of conducting work using one or more advanced 3D scanning techniques towards getting a 3D computer model through one of two ways:
1. adding color / texture to the 3D computer model;
2. obtaining a physical prototype from the 3D computer model.

2nd Semester

Design and Digital Fabrication

This course (UC) introduces an algorithmic perspective on the act of designing in architecture, design and urbanism. Theories are shown for computing with shapes, as well as the key techniques for their production. The subjects covered include generative systems - parametric design, shape grammars and others - and computer-aided manufacturing - subtractive systems , additive systems, cutting systems and others. The basic concepts of programming are taught through visual programming using Grasshopper (GH) under the application Rhinoceros.
For practical framework, a design exercise is developed for the application of acquired knowledge. Such exercise allows the approach to different project scales – from object to the urban scale, through the building. The main objective is to understand the potential of computational tools to solve some specific problems of design in creative fields and exploring new potentials in manufacturing.
The first part of the program focuses on the acquisition of knowledge in parametric programming in the construction of models for manufacturing. The second part of the program is for the exploration of issues related to digital manufacturing tectonics focusing on the adequacy of models to available manufacturing techniques.

Discipline record pdf icon


Mathematical Bases for Computation

1. Introduction;
2. Linear Programming;
3. geometric optimization models;
4. Topological optimization models;
5. Applications and examples

Discipline record pdf icon

 Tools for Analysis and Simulation

1. Presentation of various types of analytical tools. Computer Support for thermal, acoustic, lighting and ventilation.
2. Exert a critical and active user attitude towards IT tools in general and for sustainable design in particular.

Discipline record pdf icon


Computer Animation

1 - Basic Principles: film techniques and syntax
2 - Virtual Animation Studio and its Filming
3 - MAXScript 3.0
4 - Nature and Human Figure
5 – Flash: 2D Animation and Interactivity
6 - Adobe Premiere: key concepts Assembly

Discipline record pdf icon


Parametric Urban Design

Introduction to the concept of CIM (City Information Modeling) and urban design patterns. Development of principles of integration between geographic databases and a parametric platform for urban design. Advanced concepts of parametric design using the integrated handling of geometry and data. Algorithmic approach to urban design. The programming concepts are taught through visual programming interface Grasshopper (GH) on Rhinoceros application.
Generation of urban design scenarios and their appreciation by calculating properties or indicators of urban plans calculated based on the generated geometry and data.
The ultimate aim is for students to develop a set of scenarios for a specific problem of urban design, for which they will also present the calculation of properties that will allow the assessment and objective evaluation of these solutions.

Discipline record pdf icon


Virtual environments for architecture

1. Introduction to Virtual Environments
2. Continuum between Real Virtuality and Virtual Reality;
3. Visualization and Interaction Devices and Environments;
4. Modeling systems for architecture;
5. Construction of Virtual Models;
6. Geometric Primitives;
7. Lighting models and graphical representation;
8. Animation;
9. Interaction and Interaction devices;
10. Developer Tools;
11. Developer Tools
12-14. Screenwriting and Interaction;
Classes will be supported by readings of articles, books and practical work. The evaluation shall include a project.

Advanced Digital Manufacturing

1. Introduction to additive manufacturing as biomimetic production process
2. automatic assembly concept, rapid prototyping and custom fabrication
3. Relevance of additive manufacturing in architecture, urbanism and design
4. Classification of additive manufacturing processes
5. Description of the main additive manufacturing processes commercially available or under development: operating principles, materials, principal advantages and limitations, application examples
6. Design for additive manufacturing
7. Integration of additive manufacturing techniques with other support techniques for the conceptual product development: scanning systems and virtual sculpture
8. The additive manufacturing in the national context
Within this course, students will perform experimental work using the main techniques of additive manufacturing: Stereolithography, extrusion, 3D printing, selective laser sintering
All courses are optional, and students should get a minimum of 40 ECTS.

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11. Proposal for faculty and external collaborations

The faculty of ASC-CAAUD is mostly composed of teachers FAUL, also counting on IST faculty for collaboration.

Proposal for faculty

1st Semester Name of teachers
Shape Grammars Luís Romão / José Pinto Duarte, FA
3D Digitization Luís Mateus / Victor Ferreira, FA
Space Syntax Francisco Serdoura / Victor Ferreira, FA
Introduction to GIS Cristina Henriques, FA
BIM Francisco Agostinho, FA
Programming António Leitão, IST
Close Range 3D scanning Paulo Bártolo / Helena Bártolo, IPL


2nd Semester Name of teachers
Design and Digital Fabrication José Nuno Beirão / Pedro Januário, FA
Mathematical Bases for Computation Jorge Ribeiro / Susanha Rosado Ganhão, FA
Tools for Analysis and Simulation Luís Romão, FA
Media and Communication Carlos Figueiredo, FA
Parametric Urban Design José Nuno Beirão / José Pinto Duarte, FA
Virtual Environments Joaquim Jorge, IST
Advanced Digital Manufacturing Paulo Bártolo / Helena Bártolo, IPL


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12. Laboratory Resources

The course relies on cutting edge laboratory resources installed in the participating institutions, in particular the Rapid Prototyping Laboratory and 3D Scanning Lab FA, Virtual Reality Laboratory of IST and the Centre for the Rapid Development and Sustainable Product IPL.

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13. Tuition

Between 2000 (40 ECTS) and 3000 euros (60 ECTS) according to ECTS.

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14. Application Deadline

March 1 - September 6

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15. Response time to Applications

April-September 10

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16. Enrollment

1st semester: 12-12 September
2nd semester: 27-31 January

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17. Classes Calendar

The dates below are provided as a reference. The exact dates may vary slightly each year according to the academic calendar of FA, which is available on the school’s Web site.

1st semester

Start of classes: September 16
End of classes: December 21
Exam period: 9 to 22 January

2nd semester

Start of classes: February 3
End of classes: May 17
Exam period: May 22 to June 4
Final exam period: 19 to 30 June

Possibility of credit scoring, if the student is accepted into an FA doctoral program (DP) within a 5-years horizon: to be approved by the Scientific Committee of the DP

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