Elisava Masters Beyond

Master in Design for Resilience

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How can design improve people’s lives from a resilience-based approach? How can innovation help our products, services, cities, and environment resist and endure the challenges they need to face healthily and consciously?

What is resilient design, then?
→ It is adaptive and accepts uncertainty.
→ It is absorptive and robust. It anticipates potential future crises.
→ It is accurate and evidence-based.
→ It is iterative and innovative.
→ It is inclusive, leaving no one behind.
→ It fosters empathy, curiosity and humility.

Be a resilient designer with us.


Amaia Celaya
Carmen Malvar
ECTS credits
60 ECTS (400 hours)
September – July
Three afternoons/week

The Master in Design for Resilience is backed up by Elisava, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, an institution with 60 years of experience sharing knowledge to design and transform the world. The school develops projects to generate and transfer knowledge, address present and future challenges and foster change.

Elisava is a space to become a professional with the skills needed to design products, services, and environments to create a more environmentally responsible, inclusive, and community-focused society.

Amaia Celaya
Expert consultant (United Nations and European Commission)

Amaia is an urban and climate resilience expert with more that 20 years of experience as an architect, urban planner and designer. Since 2016, she has been working for UN-Habitat in cities from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.  

Carmen Malvar
Professor (Elisava) and Founder (Atelier Malvar + Tusch) 

Carmen develops her expertise in design and brand consulting in her studio, where she is Head Manager. She holds a B.S in Design at the School of Arts and Crafts of Santiago de Compostela and Architect by Pratt Institute New York. She worked as the head architect of Zara (INDITEX), designing the construction stores of the fashion firm worldwide. She has also participated as project manager in the globalization of different brands such as Camper, Mango, Tous and Desigual.  

Sébastien Thomas
Co-Director of the Resilience Knowledge Center (OXFAM INTERMÓN) 

Sébastien is the Head of the Resilience and Livelihoods Unit in Oxfam Intermón. As an advocate for Climate Justice, he has worked as a project manager for food security and livelihood in countries such as Congo, Rwanda and Kosovo.  

Master in Design for Resilience

Nicola Tollin
Executive Director (RESURBE, International Program on Urban Resilience) 

Nicola is professor with special responsibilities in Urban Resilience at the University of Southern Denmark. Executive Director of RESURBE, International Program on Urban Resilience. He has 20 years of international experience in research, capacity-building, education on sustainable development, resilience, climate change, circular economy and innovation focusing on cities and regions. He has coordinated/participated in over 70 research, education and urban development projects worldwide, including 13 EU funded, in several countries including Colombia, Philippines, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil.  

LOBELIA by IsardSAT team 

Lobelia is a team formed by experts in earth observation, data and climate projections to assess vulnerabilities, risks and opportunities associated with different climate scenarios for cases and regions of interest. Created as the downstream-services unit of isardSAT, a Barcelona-based group founded in order to extent the knowledge of the earth through remote sensing.  

Jordi Morató
Coordinator Chair on Sustainability (UNESCO)  

Jordi is doctor in microbiology with 20 years of experience in research, education and management of sustainable human development projects related to resources, circular economy and participatory community development. 

Master Resilience Design Elisava

Mònica Sans
Programme Director (Awasuka) 

Mònica is dedicated to improving the habitat in rural Nepal by empowering them with habitat-related technical skills to enable them to achieve “safer homes”. Freelance musician and architect, she is interested in music as a channel for the dissemination of healthy habits in rural communities. She works also as producer of Chance Project.  

Greta Tresserra
Founder (BambooHUB)

Greta is an architect and urban planner who graduated from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and specialized in sustainable development. Hand in hand with the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ), she began in 2011 using bamboo as a construction material. Since then, she has been promoting worldwide its use in all forms, both through built projects and from the academy. Twelve years of international career, in Germany, Kenya or Colombia.

Daniel Lewis
Advisor (UN) 

Daniel is a consultant and advisor at the UN and other academic organizations in the UK, Turkey, Burma, Australia and Canada. He has managed the global portfolio of Disaster and Conflict Work for UN-Habitat from 2002 to 2017

Master Resilience Design Elisava

Team n’UNDO 

n’UNDO is a group of architects that re-architecture intervening in the territory and the city from no construction, minimizing, reusing, and dismantling. They received several EUROPAN 16 Prizes and attended architecture summits, such as the Biennale de Venezia or the Oslo Architecture Triennale.  

Master Design for Resilience
ESA, European Space Agency

Your role as a designer is undergoing significant changes. You are now part of a choral process that seeks to transform our world into a better place for everyone.

Managing uncertainty and risk, turning critical situations into opportunities, must be incorporated into the analysis of sustainable aspects linked to the planet, people and economic prosperity that leaves no one behind.

We will all need to start thinking about the real needs of our society, proposing new formulas from knowledge of our field and making them tangible through commitment and passion.

Master in Design for Resilience

“Resilience” is the capacity of a living being to adapt to a disturbing agent or adverse situation. It comes from the Latin word resilio, which means “to turn back”, “to jump back”, “to stand out”, “to bounce back”.

What would happen in our world if we were aware of the risks we could face as a society? We would turn back our heads and start analysing how we got here.

In what way would we change our way of being and doing if we incorporated the uncertainty that surrounds us into our lives and our work? We would jump back into action, conscious of everything at stake.

Has a critical mindset finally awakened in us after the global economic crisis of 2007 and the biological crisis of COVID in 2019? We are, as a global society, starting to bounce back. And designers have the possibility of standing out as real change-makers.

Resilience equation

A resilient design is an equation: P + P + P + R. The three Ps stand for People, Planet and Prosperity or, in other words, social, environmental and financial. This derives from the logical framework of the 1987 concept of sustainability. The R, on the other hand, stands for Risk. 

Applied to design, the resilience equation results in the concepts we will work on during the Master and develop in your projects.

→ An adaptive and accepting of uncertainty resilient design will change, evolve and adjust, turning crisis into opportunity. Have you ever thought of Nature-based solutions? 

→ An absorptive and robust resilient design anticipates potential future impacts while finding different ways of achieving their goals in a negative situation. How can we, as designers, manage the design process in the face of difficulties? ?

→ An accurate and evidence-based resilient design will gather the relevant data and ensure its traceability. How can we measure what we don’t know or improve what we don’t count? 

→ An iterative and innovative resilient design fosters innovation through a learning process that generates profound and positive changes and transformations. Have you heard about the concept of circularity, and can you come up with ideas that make it feasible?  

→ An inclusive, resilient design leaves no one behind, focusing on people in vulnerable situations and incorporating traditional and local knowledge and practices into new technologies. How can we, as designers, help the global social divide?

The qualities of a resilient designer are curiosity, empathy, and humility: The curiosity about the environment and the changing reality that surrounds us, the humility to understand ourselves as part of a large-scale systemic process, full of small incremental changes, and the empathy to embrace a pioneering approach that incorporates different needs and sensitivities.

Reviste, Joaquín Acevedo (Elisava Alumni)

A story of regeneration

Reviste was born to answer an ever-growing problem in the construction industry: the lack of adequate waste management, in this case, in Chile. 

Their intention is to contribute to reducing the generation of waste on construction sites  –resources that end up wasted in illegal landfills– and the enormous carbon footprint of high-rise building projects. 

They have managed to raise awareness on this issue, both in the end client and the industry, to make them part of the solution and create a sustainable and resilient development culture, and they did it by making it part of social regeneration: working with the Education and Work Centres of Gendarmería de Chile, thus creating a circular and collaborative economy model.

At Reviste, they agree with the proposal of the Master because to overcome the greatest challenge of our generation it is necessary to have a resilient mentality in public policies, architecture, retail and products, communication, urban planning, etc. so that these and other disciplines converge in terms of design.

Master in Design for Resilience
Reviste, Joaquín Acevedo (Elisava Alumni)

Re-utilisation of materials and giving them a new life, thus reducing the over consumption that burdens our planet is at the core of projects like Reviste. In his co-founder, Joaquín Acevedo, own words:

“The waste for the real estate companies is material for us, so we collect it after a waste segregation strategy in collaboration with construction and real estate companies, which after a production process, results in recovered wood cladding, which returns in a new presentation as interior or exterior design for the properties, thus generating a sustainable process”.

Master in Design for Resilience
Reviste, Joaquín Acevedo (Elisava Alumni)
Awasuka Programm 2020, Mònica Sans Duran

The Awasuka Programme

Awasuka is a knowledge platform that promotes various projects and activities in Nepal. It seeks to coordinate and make cooperation possible between like-minded programs, entities and organisations. The platform fosters wellbeing and community-oriented and resilient-based solutions. Their projects have covered the construction of seismic resistance housing, waste management and clean water initiatives, smokeless kitchens to prevent health issues and death in the population, and artistic and historic conservation.

During its projects, the programme’s teams working in the field discovered a much more severe problem than earthquake-vulnerable houses: indoor air pollution caused by inadequate cooking facilities and techniques. In 2019, Awasuka shifted its efforts to installing smokeless kitchens to improve public health in rural Nepal with the added benefits of having reduced poverty, promoting gender equality and making climate action possible.

Master Design Resilience

Málaga: a new strategy by n’UNDO 

The city of Málaga is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing technological hubs in Europe. The beautiful weather, thriving cultural life and communications infrastructures with the rest of the continent and the world have made it immensely attractive for international companies to open their headquarters there. For a city already stretched out because of seasonal tourism, an approach to the problem of urban sprawl and to promote sustainable urban development was needed. The plan to enhance a sustainable urban development begins by studying the city’s void spaces and proposing: 

→ Decarbonisation, taking into account the density, compactness and complexity of the city, and having the idea of highlighting its proximity.

→ Renaturalisation, consisting of  the conservation of its key assets, the integration of all of them, and making an impact on the society.

Check it out in this link.

Team n’UNDO 

Kalmar: prioritising the environment by n’UNDO 

In Sweden, the city of Kalmar needed intervention on economic, social, environmental and cultural sustainability levels that allowed the construction of new residential and livable areas, prioritising the conservation of the environment and the territory. This urban development was based on 

→ “No construction”: respect for the territory and areas of high environmental value that constitute the identity of Kalmar; and consolidating and protecting the existing landscapes and voids through a restructuring of communications.

→ Minimum impact: taking into account the energetic, environmental and visual impact of new constructions. Intensive urban planning model and complexity and enrichment of the social fabric through the diversification of uses and typologies.

→ Reuse, review, and optimise existing spaces and infrastructures and the proposal for polycentric development to create new urban centres.

Master Design for Resilience

The use of resilient materials and design strategies is in the current climate crisis situation,  indisputable. Bamboo is an ideal material: ideal for reforestation after processes of erosion, fires or after human action; it helps to regulate watercourses, mitigating periods of flooding or drought thanks to its osmotic capacity; it is easily and quickly accessible anywhere in the world, cost-effective and it has water, air and soil purifying properties. With all this said, we can come to the conclusion that designing with bamboo means producing resilient solutions.

With this course you will acquire the necessary knowledge to design with bamboo and how to apply it in multiple fields: from technical advice (to architects, engineers, etc.), to international consultancy, teaching, industry, or even entrepreneurship.

Master Design for Resilience

In this Bamboo Design and Bamboo Architecture workshop we are going to work with different construction systems:

Scalable: basic structures may be added, both horizontally and vertically.
Versatile: adaptable to various needs (functionalities and sizes).
Replicable: simple and universal concepts, applicable to many contexts.
→ Self-buildable: simple and graphical assembly and disassembly (IKEA type).
Participatory: interrelation during the construction process and community use.
Economical: optimising the use of time and resources for a fair price.
→ Transportable: lightweight and size-optimised.
Reusable: dismountable, storable and reusable.
Biodegradable: closing their life cycle in a sustainable way.
Durable: quality materials and finishes for a medium-long life cycle.
Sustainable: bamboo is the greatest carbon-sequestration capable material.
→ Accessible: sensory and functional diversity is taken into account.
Customisable: the design should allow for easy customisation by users.
Creative: designs can be combined with each other in an infinite number of ways.

Resilient cities after COVID-19: the need for green infrastructure. Amaia Celaya

Nature based solutions and transformation of the environment. Urban innovative actions projects

Urban areas have multiple interconnected challenges related to employment, migration, demography, water and soil pollution. Still, they are also engines of new ideas and solutions, dynamic places where changes happen on a larger scale and at a fast pace. To answer the increasingly complex challenges the 359 million people who live in cities, towns and suburbs in Europe face, we need to go beyond traditional policies and services and be bold and innovative.

Master Design Resilience

50 Litre Home

The 50 Litre Home Coalition (50L Home) is a global platform addressing two of the world’s most pressing global challenges: water security and climate change. Inspired by Cape Town’s response to a major drought and the looming prospect of a ‘Day-Zero’ in 2017 and 2018 –the day the city would be forced to turn off water service to all of its citizens–, 50L Home’s ambition is to mobilise public-private collaboration and innovation to transform residential buildings into efficient net zero systems. How to make 50L of daily water use per person feel like 500? How to make sure leaders’ decisions to promote resource efficiency can also reduce the embodied and operational GHG emissions in buildings? 

Master Design Resilience

Barcelona nominated as a global centre of urban resilience by Fernando Casado Cañeque for El País.

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