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Regular version of the site

GSU Students Went to Barcelona for ‘Self-sufficient city’ Workshop

Within the course ‘City project. Buildings’ students of the master program ‘Prototyping future cities’ visited Barcelona in April 2018

In April 2018 students of the international master program ‘Prototyping future cities’ spent a part of the second semester in Barcelona on the workshop ‘Self-sufficient city’, joint project of Shukhov Lab of the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism and Valldaura Labs.
How to build a house which will be in a complete harmony with the planet? The essentials 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 modify the way we generate and use energy. Barcelona is leading in smart city movement. Being a self-sufficient city with productive neighbourhoods, it is has experts who integrate the top-down and the bottom-up approaches to urban development.

Self-sufficient city workshop in Barcelona

The workshop was held within the ‘City project. Buildings’ course and was dedicated to the energy use. Students learnt what energy is, how it functions, how to assess the potential for energy reduction by determining the energy use in buildings and how to measure potential for renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, solar and biomass. The lectures were delivered by the leading experts in energy, water, wooden construction and brick architecture Jonathan Minchin (United Kingdom), Firas Safiyeddeen (Lebanon), Elena Mitrofanofa (Russia), Joachim Englert (Germany), Guillaume Tyessie (France), Guillem Camprodon (Spain), and Honorata Grzesilkowska (Poland).

The workshop gave us holistic view of the current trends in architecture and building. Specialists shared with us analytical approaches for building optimization regarding power generation and consumption. The congress on ecological buildings was of particular interest, especially the aspects covered by Daniel Ibanez about the metabolic processes in buildings.

Michael Omona, PFC student

Jochen Schreer, expert on the cycle of water

There were invited guests from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia who presented their projects in the field of eco-friendly architecture and urban design. To have the whole image of how the theory works in practice, students visited Tersa trash recycling plant where energy is produced from recycled materials and distributed to the buildings nearby; and water disposal where the rainwater is collected, cleaned, and drained into the sea.

Apart from all the above, there were cultural activities such as 11km walk with the former chief architect of Barcelona and Shukhov Lab head Vicente Guallart from urban farming to smart public spaces and a visit to the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona.

The most useful part was about the historical aspects of the city and also current smart city implementations. This overall experience is actually very valuable as it addresses a lot of questions to our syllabus during this semester. It being a knowledge acquiring experience has helped us a lot in progressing and formulating ideas for  the project ‘Advanced Housing Prototype’ which we presented on the Moscow Urban Forum 2018.

Neeraj, PFC student

The program of the study trip to Barcelona

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 things, and develops projects and academic programmes in association with leading research centres around the world.

Valldaura experience ‘helps’ us to design a self-sufficient block for 1000 people, where these aspects are integrated and intersection of the layers are necessary for sustainability. After the internship, it became clear how to integrate all the layers into a whole system to ensure the metabolic processes in the building. I gained more complex knowledge in energy, water, food, matter issues. I considered this topic even before the master program, but in more simplified version – energy efficiency of the building in whole and management of water resources within the complex.

Anna Budnikova, PFC student