Barcelona: Self-Sufficiency Workshop
In April 2018, students of the international Master’s programme ‘Prototyping Future Cities’spent a part of their second semester in Barcelona at the workshop ‘Self-sufficient City’, a joint project of Shukhov Lab of the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism and Valldaura Labs.
How to build a home, which would be in completeharmony with our planet? The essential materials to bring it to life are recycled and sustainable materials, which rely on clean energy and renewable resources. To provide sustainable environment with clean air, we have to change the way we generate and use energy. Barcelona is a leader in the smart city movement. As a self-sufficient city with productive neighborhoods, it hasexperts who integrate both top-down and bottom-up approaches to urban development.
The workshop was held as part of the ‘City Project. Buildings’ course and was dedicated to energy usage. Students learnt what energy is, how it functions, how to assess the potential for energy reduction by determining use in buildings, as well as how to measure the potentialfor renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, solar and biomass. The lectures were delivered by leading experts in energy, water, wooden construction and brick architecture, including: Jonathan Minchin (UK), Firas Safiyeddeen (Lebanon), Elena Mitrofanova (Russia), Joachim Englert (Germany), Guillaume Tyessie(France), Guillem Camprodon (Spain) and Honorata Grzesilkowska (Poland).
The workshop gave us a holistic view of current trends in architecture and building technologies. The specialists shared with us analytical approaches for building optimization in regards to power generation and consumption. The congresson ecological buildings was of particular interest, especially the issues covered by Daniel Ibanez about metabolic processes in buildings.
Michael Omona, PFC Student
Invited guests from theInstitute for Advanced Architecture of Cataloniapresented their projects in eco-friendly architecture and urban design. To have the whole image of how the theory works in practice, students visited the TersaRecycling Plantwhere energy is produced from recycled materials and distributed to nearby buildings; and water disposal where rainwater is collected, cleaned and drained into the sea.
In addition, there were cultural activities such as an 11km walk with the former chief architect of Barcelona and Shukhov Lab head Vicente Guallart, from urban farming to smart public spaces, as well as a visit to the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona.
The most useful part concerned the historical aspects of cities and smart city implementations. This overall experience is actually very valuable as it addresses a lot of questions raised in our syllabus during this semester. As an experience to acquire knowledge, it has helped us a lot in progressing and formulating ideas for the project “Advanced Housing Prototype”, which we presented at the Moscow Urban Forum 2018.
Neeraj Mazumder, PFC Student
Valldaura Labs is a project promoted by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia for the creation of a self-sufficient habitat research centre. Located in the Collserola Natural Park, in the heart of the metropolitan area of Barcelona, it has laboratories for the production of energy, food and other goods, as well as develops projects and academic programmes in association with leading research centres around the world.
The Valldaura experience “helped” us to design a self-sufficient block for 1,000 people, where these aspects are integrated. Combining such layers are necessary for sustainability. After the internship, it became clear how to integrate all layers into a whole system, which can ensure metabolic processes in a building. I gained more complex knowledge about energy, water, food and material issues. I considered this topic even before joining the Master’s programme, but in a moresimplified version – energy efficiency of a building as a whole, and management of water resources within a complex.
Anna Budnikova, PFC Student