Master’s programme Prototyping Future Cities

The two-year interdisciplinary Master's programme at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

Programme takes place in the Shukhov Lab for Prototyping Future Cities located in the centre of Moscow.

What will the cities of the future be like? What skills will be required of professionals to build a smart city? How can we combine technological innovation, urban design, business models, strategy and societal concerns? The international Master’s programme ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ offers integrated education with a multidisciplinary approach in relation to city projects, various technologies and urban studies, thereby offering students a holistic approach to urban expansion and regeneration. It is intended to create a new type of professional, who is capable of developing any kind of project in order to foster urban transformation. This programme is overseen by international experts and Russian scholars, who are focused on an agenda for smart city development and teaching you how to understand the city in all of its aspects, as well as solve urban problems by relying on the latest technologies.

Prototype project methodology

Students will learn how to develop prototype projects applicable at any urban aspect, starting with their capacity to analyze data, to integrate appropriate technology and to design proposals that will change the current reality. The prototype projects will also include the proposal of an economical model that is managed appropriately. Project = Analysis + Technology + Design + Fabrication + Implementation Project prototyping in Shukhov Lab for prototyping future cities


The research and development agenda of the international Master’s programme ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ includes five key educational layers: City Project, Technology, Information, Management and Culture. The programme consists of compulsory disciplines, research activities, international workshops and internships. It focuses on digital fabrication, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), urban design, social innovations and smart urban technologies. The programme also focuses on the various layers of urban reality – urban facilities, buildings and the city as a whole. Its curriculum is formed in accordance with contemporary requirements for training specialists in smart city development.

What Skills Will I Acquire?

The curriculum of the Master’s programme and its educational approach provide students with the ability to develop hard and soft skills, which can add value to their CV and ensure successful career development.

Tech Hard Skills

– computer aided design: raster, vector, 3d design, parametric design, game engines and simulations;
– laser and vinyl cutting: materials, marking, engraving, folding and press-fit constructions;
– 3d printing: principles, processes, machines and software and scales;
– cncmilling: materials, scales;
– electronics design, fabrication and programming;
– multi-axisindustrial robots: scanning, milling and printing;
– many optional skills: city sensoring, data visualization, drones operation and 3d;
– scanning, projection mapping, augmented reality and computer vision.

Soft Skills

– public presentation;
– critical writing;
– hands-on;
– strategic thinking;
– decision-making;
– adaptability;
– problem-solving;
– multitasking.

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What are the Career Opportunities after Graduation?

After finishing the programme, students can find work as:

City managers, who can understand the full potential of information technologies in order to optimize the efficiency of their cities, and are capable of implementing new principles that can improve a city’s performance;

Architects, who understand the city in all of its aspects and are capable of engaging in urban design;

Private sector specialists, who are engaged in developing, maintaining and/or managing a city and its urban services and products, and who are also capable of integrating IT developments into work processes;

IT experts, who can understand the performance of a city with the end goal of developing new applications, which can be implemented on a city-wide scale.


National Research University - Higher School of Economics

Consistently ranked as one of Russia’s top universities, the Higher School of Economics is a leader in Russian education and one of the preeminent economics and social sciences universities in eastern Europe and Eurasia. Having rapidly grown into a well-renowned research university over two decades, HSE sets itself apart with its international presence and cooperation.
HSE faculty, researchers, and students represent over 50 countries, and are dedicated to maintaining the highest academic standards.
Students will have all of the privileges and advantages of studying at HSE, including access to dormitories, library, discounts and all HSE facilities.

Shukhov Lab

The international Master’s programme ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ is offered at Shukhov Lab at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow. Shukhov Lab is a member of the FAB LAB global network of laboratories. Its research is focused on experimental urban design. In addition, fabrication of emerging prototypes is a key feature of the Master’s programme. At Shukhov Lab, students have full-time access to such technological resources as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, etc. Here, young innovators develop the most adventurous and boldest architectural and design ideas, while also working closely with leading experts on a daily basis.

The laboratory, named after the famous Russian engineer who worked in the building for more than 20 years and located in the heart of Moscow, only 10 minutes walk from the Kremlin.


The programme is open to architects, designers, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs and graduates from any discipline related to urban sciences. We are looking for students interested in city management and related technologies. The skills acquired during the Master programme will provide graduates with a wide variety of career opportunities, including in large technological or design companies, city administrations or their own innovative businesses.


Academic Supervisor

The programme is directed by Vicente Guallart, former Chief Architect of Barcelona, co-founder of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and founder of Guallart
Architects, and a leading global figure in relation to projects and theories for new forms of urbanity in the Digital Age.

Guest Professors

Alexey Novikov


Daniel Ibanez


Oscar Acevez

Architecture, Professor

Jochen Schreer

Expert on Water Cycles, IAAC

Carlo Ratti

MIT Senseable City Lab

Mitchell Joachim

New York University

Christian Fröhlich

HSE School of Sociology

Bruno Moser

Foster + Partners

Victor Attila Albert

HSE School of Political Science

Thomas Ermacora

Fab Lab London

Greg Lynn

UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture

See Tutors

Ivan Mitrofanov

Ivan Mitrofanov

Leading Expert, Shukhov Lab, Engineer
Degree in Information and Computer Science
Moscow State University of Forest
Course: Technology

Elena Mitrofanova

Elena Mitrofanova

Leading Expert at Shukhov Lab, architect
MA in Advanced Architecture
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Course: City Project

Nadya Khort

Nadya Khort

Head, Shukhov Lab
MA in Urban Planning, HSE Graduate School of Urbanism
Course: Readings on Urbanity

Andrey Yelbaev

Andrey Yelbaev

Project Leader at Strelka KB, architect
MA in Architecture and Digital Media, University of Westminster
Course: City Project: Things

Egor Kotov

Egor Kotov

Research Fellow at Centre for Advanced Data Analysis,
HSE Graduate School of Urbanism

MA in Urban and Rural Planning, University of Aberdeen

Course: Mapping Economy

Andrei Ptitsyn

Andrei Ptitsyn

Deputy Director at Synesis
PhD in Economics, assistant professor at Moscow State University, SUNY Canton (USA), University of Pittsburgh (USA), Xing Wei College (China)
Course: New Business Models

Vadim Smakhtin

Vadim Smakhtin

CTO, Partner at Habidatum, software engineer

MA of Engineering, Samara State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering
Course: Research Seminar Technology

Konstantin Glazkov

Konstantin Glazkov

Tutor at HSE Faculty of Social Sciences
MA in Urban Planning, HSE Graduate School of Urbanism
Course: Readings on Urbanity

Alisa Barannikova

Alisa Barannikova

City analyst, tutor at Moscow Architecture School MARCH
MA in Sociology, University of Manchester
Course: City protocol

Beno Juarez

Beno Juarez

President at FAB LAB Peru
Degree in Architect National University of Engineering, Lima
Course: City Project: Things, Impact Analysis

Ksenia Mayorova

Ksenia Mayorova

Junior Research Fellow at HSE Graduate School of Urbanism
MA in Urban Planning, HSE Graduate School of Urbanism
Degree in Philosophy, Moscow State University
Course: Readings on Urbanity

Alexandra Zapolskaya

Alexandra Zapolskaya

Degree in Sociology, Moscow State University
Course: Recording Sociology

Alexander Ostrogorsky

Alexander Ostrogorsky

Tutor and Curator of Public Program at MARCH Architecture School, journalist
Degree in Art, Moscow State University
Courses: History of Urbanism


International Field Trip

International field trips are an important component of studies, whereby young innovators have an opportunity to learn about the most recent research and projects in smart city development, new technologies and self-sufficient buildings from leading world experts.
2018 – ‘Self-sufficient city’ work- shop, Barcelona
2019 – ‘Self-Sufficient Housing’ workshop, Copenhagen


Moscow, with its population of over 14 million people, is one of the biggest global metropolises with its own great tradition in architecture and technology. Moscow is a focal point of urbanism in Russia and CIS countries. As a global player in city development, it is home to the Moscow Urban Forum, an annual international event bringing together leading experts in urbanism from all over the globe. At present, the Russian capital is establishing a new urban agenda, as well as implementing world-class projects such as the ZIL industrial area, Zaryadye Park and many others. Architects and engineers from Russia are very eager to develop and promote Moscow as a mobile city with a comfortable urban environment.

Russia has a great tradition in a wide range of technological spheres. It is the country that made the first satellite and sent the first human being into space. And this tradition is still alive in Moscow, with the city’s experts making important contributions to physics, mathematics and digital technologies.

The Russian capital has a very vibrant cultural scene, featuring such attractions as the Garage Museum, the Multimedia Art Museum of Moscow, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and many more. The city hosts a wide range of concerts, performances and other cultural events, and is packed with restaurants, museums, theatres, galleries and parks that are active throughout the year.


  • Application Deadline

    14 July, 2019 (for international applicants)

  • Application Deadline

    14 August, 2019 (for applicants from Russia)

  • Programme start

    11 September, 2019

Quick facts

  • Field of Study

    Urban Studies and Development

  • Duration

    2 years Full-time Programme

  • Language of Instruction


  • Tutition Fee

    450 000 RUB a year

  • Scholarship

    Enrollees who apply before 14 April 2019 and receive more than 70 points for their application portfolio will be given a 20% discount on the tuition fee.

How to apply

To apply for the ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ Master programme, please fill out and submit the online application form (for applicants from the Russian Federation) or HSE online application form (for international applicants).

Step 1. Prepare Your Application (Portfolio)

– copy/scan of your valid passport;
– certified copy of your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree;
– certified copy of your transcript /list of grades;
– two letters of recommendation;
– resume / curriculum vitae;
– motivation letter.
All documents should be prepared in English.Evaluation of the portfolio will be based on the Admission Requirements

Step 2. Submit Your Application Online at the HSE online application form

To start the process of enrollment, you must register by submitting an application for a login and password. In your Personal Account, you select Master’s programme ‘Prototyping future cities’ and apply for it. The whole process takes place online, no need to send anything by mail. It is enough to attach a file with the document to the application! Just make sure the file is saved in PDF or JPEG format (maximum size is 15 MB).

Step 3. Application Evaluation

Be sure to read the Admission Requirements for the Master’s programme, because it is the experience and achievements that can distinguish you in the eyes of the commission and give you the opportunity to study at the Shukhov Lab, HSE Laboratory for Experimental Urban Design.

The interview with the Programme’s Curator or/and Academic Supervisor will be held if candidates meet the minimum requirements based on a portfolio review. When submitting an application for participation in the selection, correctly specify the contact details and the Skype name! Programme’ s manager will email you to set a and and time for the interview.

Step 4. Collect your Documents

After you are accepted to the international Master’s programme ‘Prototyping future cities’, you need to collect the necessary documents.

Step 5. Arrival and Enrollment

Before you start studying, you have to do some more important things:
Complete the preparation of documents and upload them to the “Consent to study” section in the Personal Account.
Legalize the received documents on education (diploma + transcript)
Complete the process of recognition of your academic credentials
Apply for a visa
Check-in to the dormitory in the corresponding section of your Personal Account
Come to Shukhov Lab for the Welcome Ceremony
The Welcome Ceremony usually takes place in Shukhov Lab several days before the start of the programme. At this event, every student will make a presentation about his/her background and receive a student ID card and a welcome pack. The date and time of the Welcome Ceremony isnotified by the programme manager in advance.

Should you have any questions regarding the application process, please feel free to contact master programme manager Alexandra Tikhonova at [email protected]


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