IAAC - Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
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IaaC Research - Students Research - Self Sufficient Building

Self Sufficient Building 2013-14

Directors: Enric Ruiz Geli, Mireia Luzàrraga

Tutors: Maria Kupstova, Dori Sadan

Architecture goes beyond buildings. A building is a concentration of activities in a particular location which should be responsive to concrete cultural, social, economic and technological conditions. In the 21st century, the buildings are more than

machines for dwelling in. They should be living organisms, capable of interacting with their environment, following the principles of ecology or biology rather than those of mere construction. In effect, a building should be like a tree, which is able to rooting itself in a particular place, generating its own energy, interacting with the natural networks around it and creating complex ecosystems and landscapes together with other trees.

The Self-Sufficient Buildings group works on scales that range from the macro-building to the individual home developing principles and techniques that serve to organize the materialization of programmatic nodes of activity based on natural rules and principles. As a result, the building goes beyond being a mere interface for the economic activities it houses to being an environment that stimulates its inhabitants and functions as an active part of the ecosystem in which it is inserted.

Buildings also need to respond to specific cultural conditions, and the multicultural global vision that the IaaC represents allows can be applied, via debate and research, to architecture projects anywhere in the world. This group devotes special attention to housing and the new forms of social organization of our time, by way of buildings with shared spaces, or macrobuildings that incorporate all the functions of a city. This group is working to introduce innovative techniques such as local energy generation, the development of self-suffi cient buildings, the incorporation of hydrogen into the building and the use of new materials, responding to each situation with ad-hoc techniques and principles.

Self Sufficient Building 2012-2013

Faculty: Enric Ruiz Geli, Mireia Luzàrraga


Nowadays, architecture causes 40% of the CO2 emissions and it is one of the main causes of the global warming. Our aim is, following the ideas of Jeremy Rifkin, to turn this number around and project buildings as power plants, smart buildings that will provide use with the energy we need, and be an activists of the Third Industrial Revolution.

In orther to achieve this we will follow the thesys of bringing nature to the cities. We will study natural behaviours in order to be more efficient in terms of energy saving, and apply them to our buildings.

We will bring fauna and vegetation to the cities in order to have a better standard of living and to reduce CO2 emissions and our echological footprint.

Our projects will be placed in two different urban voids in Barcelona, one of them in the seashore, and another one in Poblenou.

We will work on them as socialactivists, we will regenerate the areas by introducing mixed use programs, and by implementing urban agriculture to the district.

At the same time, we will be travelling to the most beautiful and biodiverse Natural Reserves in Europe, and bringing all the knowledge we aquire to the city (Timanfaya, Urdaibai and Cap de Creus). By travelling to these privileged areas, we will be concerned about our fragil balance in the world, and have Environmental Energy Experiences towards Empathy (EEE towards E).

Back in the studio we will translate and blend all these environments to particles. Particles make no distinction between objects and products, buildings and landscape, sea and mountain, but understands reality, and therefore the architectural project, as performing particles, thus entering into an empathetic understanding of a society in which human beings and

Nature speak a common language, that of Particles Architecture.

The natural environment for working with particles surpasses proprietary software, and introduces environments that are more generic. They are managed by the use of free programming environments (Processing) through intelligent behaviour over time, thus progressing from the exterior morphology of the project to the performance of its parts or internal composition.

Introductory Studio 2012-13



By Nuri Choi, Zeynep Birgunol, Elif Gongur, Roopa Sharma, and Youssef Hassan Rashdan.

The approach of the project focuses in a behavioral and sociological transformation; throughout a series of one-on-one surveys and live experiments, data was extracted from users to map out .activities and behaviors.

The thesis was based on how to provide the users with tools to reach their needs, how to design mechanisms to let the user choose rather than imposing a solution.

The current state of the street is a static place filled with readymade elements. If every user had the choice to create their own need the street would become a dynamic pulsating mesh of activities, a self-made street.

Self Sufficient Building 2011 - 2012

Facuty: Javier Peña and Rodrigo Rubio
Assistant: Oriol Carrasco
Technical Experts: Guillem Camprodon, Spyros Stravoravdis, Luis Fraguada

The self-sufficient buildings and blocks are the new paradigm for the cities construction. In Europe they will be mandatory from 2020. But for constructing buildings and blocks that are self sufficient we have to create new methods of architectural thinking in which the (metabolism) of the buildings (production and management of matter and energy cycles, water and waste, information, etc) is designed in a form that is intergraded with the natural structure and their function.

The objective of the Self-Sufficient Buildings Studio is to develop autonomous buildings, self-sufficient structures at a block scale following this metabolic idea. From the big numbers of the block energy balance until the small scale of the domestic strategies.

Each team will choose a different environmental research-line (higrothermics, geothermics, windflows or sunlight cycles) and a different BCN block to generate a network of specialized case-studies. Blocks will be chosen out of the 22@ neighborhood, area that is already in a process of transformation, so that we could work in real cases, both functionally and environmentally. We will develop a prototypes catalog of urban re-generation for dense cities.

Self Sufficient Building 2011 - 2012 Project Archive

Self Sufficient Building 2010 - 2011

Faculty: Vicente Guallart, Javier Peña, Rodrigo Rubio
Guest Tutors:
Josep Pique, Director 22@
Artur Serra, Anthropologist
Luis Gordo, Acciona

The objective of the Self Sufficient Buildings Studio is to develop projects of self-sufficient buildings and city blocks.

The self-sufficient buildings and blocks are the new paradigm for the cities construction. In Europe they will be obligatory from 2020. But for constructing buildings and blocks that are self-sufficient we have to create new methods of architectural design in which the "metabolism" of the buildings (including the production and management of energy, water etc) is designed in a form that is intergraded with the natural structure and their function.

In the case of Barcelona different blocks are chosen out of the neighborhood 22@, blocks that are already in the process of transformation, so that we could work in real cases, both functionally and environmentally, so that we can develop prototypes of urban re-generation for dense cities.

The design process includes:
-Environmental analysis – and analysis of the natural site
-Functional analysis "Environmental Design Solutions macro-micro design solutions using parametric software"

The final presentation will be a model of a building in 1:100, which will focus on the production efforts of the research done from the beginning of the studio. For the development of the studio, different experts related with urban buildings and especially with barrio 22@ are invited to be part of this studio.

Self Sufficient Building 2009 - 2010

Faculty: Willy Muller
Assistant: Maite Bravo

Self Sufficient Building 2008 - 2009

Faculty: Vicente Guallart
Assistants: Areti Markopoulou, Luis E. Fraguada

Self Sufficient Building 2007 - 2008

Faculty: Willy Müller
Assistant: Berardo Matalucci