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GELI, Enric Ruiz

Media-ICT - 2/2

Series: Lecture and Book Launch
Date: Tuesday 1 March 2011
Time: 18:00
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 57 mins

When the public design competition for the Media-ICT project was announced, at Cloud 9 we thought this building was in ALIGNMENT with our knowledge.

We were extremely interested in this digital city model based on ICT (information and communication technology), with the idea of a city where what matters is knowledge, added value and patents, in short, where the objective is for your architecture to be in sync with your own values.

This project transpired after VillaNurbs, Spek, Aviario Zoo Marino Bcn, Media-House, Forest, and other projects that involved concepts such as: digital manufacturing processes, ubiquitous technology, cloud computing, off grid, self sufficient energy, distributed intelligence …

22@ is an experimental district with a powerful, distributed and accessible, energy load. Part of the Districlima network, where new business values are intangible.

It is NOT based on the availability of natural resources such as water, oil, gas, sugar, silk nor do real estate values come into the equation. The companies have SOFT values such as broadcasting rights (Mediapro), patents (Indra), intelligence (T-systems), programming (Cisco) and interaction (such as Reactable by Sergi Jorda, from Universitat PompeuFabra), it is a district – in the words of Artur Serra from I2CAT and the 22@ team– that represents a Living Lab.

And finally, in the words of the magazine Wired and Leonardo from MITPress, 22@ is SOFT, and today SOFT is HARD.

Media-ICT’s architecture is an environment where SOFT becomes HARD. 

22@ is a city model where residential zones and clean new industry coexist: this program really appealed to us as its use is three-fold.

The ground floor is open-plan and has a multi-media museum, Internet awareness workshops, as well as the UOC institutes that are the fruit of this fabric; it is a place where the convention hall is a shared space.

These new companies, such as Barcelona Activa, will occupy these small offices.

The upper floors will be an incubator for young companies; they will also provide a landing space for foreign companies.

Media-ICT incubates and fosters exchange.

We felt that this should not be a public or private building or a corporate or company-oriented building, it should not be academic or businesslike, but it should be a hybrid program

Experts call this type of model GGG - Global Green Growth.

This is a large building based on the idea of sharing, where all the green spaces are shared. Before, one way or another, you had to have those spaces available, now you can share them, the building has some 15% dedicated to shared spaces.

(see Floor Plans)

This is a distinct possibility in this city, where the urban experimentation of compact density as conveyed by Oriol Clos, the head architect.

Media-ICT is a Parametric Design application

As architects of parametric architecture, what should we do?.

We think in terms of modules: the structure is a 5 m x 14.7 m module; false roofs are 30 cm modules; raised floors are 50 cm modules; everything is connected and related: the 150 cm glass façade module is joined to the floor, to the module, with the 150 cm fluorescent module, the 300 cm radius façade sensors and so on and so forth.

We have studied the program for the building and its possible floor plans using Autocad software linked to Excel and a script programmed in Cloud 9.

In this way we optimise:
> 36 m evacuation distances in case of fire.
> the maximum area of the program with natural lighting, X.
> the flexibility of floor distribution, 7,26.
> the ratio of m2 distributed with regard to constructed m2.

For example, we study the minimum impact of the vertical communication cores in terms of the m2 of the distributed program (such cores are generally between 18-20% of the total surface area).

This is a building with a low ratio; we stand at 8%, which means that there is 10% available and you have more meters to be used by the people (almost 2.000 m2), which is just like gaining a floor.

You enter the data and Excel constructs the building.

At the end, it is Excel that creates this extremely dense information byte that includes everything.

The result is a very COMPACT, very dense and very efficient element. Media-ICT is NOT a CUBE but an information BYTE: 40x40x40m.

References: Ford Foundation in New York, by Kevin Roche

(see diagrams)


We presented the project to the Quality Committee of Barcelona City Council and one of their questions was: “Architecture is often connected to certain physical, vegetable and animal states. If this is the case, what animal does this architectural structure represent? It was an interesting question...

Naturally, the jellyfish came to mind, as it is an organism, a system, but within it there are several bodies, there are several individuals.

It is a program that creates a system and a structural typology.

We have been in the Maravillas Gymnasium by Alejandro de la Sota.

This is our background, it is our starting point.

In the 22@ district there have always been these metallic structures, and when they are constructed on the streets, they have been expressed outwards.

We wanted to convey these structures as knowledge platforms expressed outwards, creating a sense of dialogue with the city.

Other examples are the Chocolate Factory and the AEG Turbine Factory by Peter Behrens, who began with architecture and structure, but ended up creating the SYSTEM.

With Agustí Obiol of Boma we discussed

“What is a structure like in a DIGITAL environment?”

“It is not about gravity, or mass, or tectonics, it is about connectivity, links - it is TENSILE, with ties”.

Our construction is built from the top and moves downwards, becoming transparent, anti-gravitational, and almost liquid at the bottom.

Thus, its impact on the street is minimal, about 8% mass with respect to the 1500 m2 floor surface area.

We decided to invest 40% of the construction budget in the structure of the building (instead of the normal 25% or 30%)

An inhabitable truss, which is similar to living surrounded by the NETWORK, a network, a structure that supports the building but comprises TRANSLUCENT spaces, flexible spaces, open spaces.

If we take into account that the structure is a suspended structure and the pillars are not 50x50 pillars, but 12x12 or 15x15...

This voltage cable network is distributed with large 14x5m dimensions.

The ground floor does not have pillars; public space invades the building with 36m x 40m of free space.

(see Pictures)


A public architectural structure dedicated to public space in line with a Situationist perception.


A distributed not centralized structure.

Distributed computing, distributed networks...

Centralized networks cause breakdowns, distributed networks do NOT.

There are 18 different sections of tubes to optimize the kilos of steel.

There are 120 types of “FLOWERS” to solve the complexity issue.

Therefore, it is not a calculation of a “peak” stress point nor is it based on a standard solution; there is no unique steel solution for the entire structure, but hundreds of distributed calculations for all points, and bars.

In other words, everything is nonstandard (such as the Pompidou Centre exposition, curetted by Frédéric Migayrou).

(see Diagrams)

Is this a shock?

The industry is ready for this digital revolution.

Cloud 9, together with Boma, have designed this structure to be built using CADCAM digital processes.

We work in 3D with Rhyno, 3D Max and MicroStation, and they work in 3D with CAD.

The economics must be sustainable. We can only build complex Gaudí-like structures with very fast software and manufacturing components.

We constructed the building from the bottom up, while they elevated it and then put it in place.

It seems that we are winning the battle against gravity.

The system was the deserved winner of the 2009 EUROPEAN AWARD FOR STEEL STRUCTURES, of the ECCS (European Convention for Construction Steel work).

This process is called CAD-CAM, we are CAD-CAM process architects.

A light element that unifies the whole structure...

Jeremy Rifkin argues in his third industrial revolution that if construction is the main cause of climate change, let’s also make construction the solution to the problem: instead of a problem, it becomes the solution.

With this objective, we can convert buildings into power plants, into energy factories, that are OFF GRID, that are not in the network and that are fully self-sufficient.

Here, in the Media-ICT, at a conceptual level, we take a look at certain elements, such as bioluminescent painting.

What we do is to treat the entire tensile digital structure with this bioluminescent paint.

This makes the framework visible, but it does not consume, it is self-sufficient.

This year’s edition of the Nobel Prize in Physics is also dedicated to bioluminescence.

The collaborative work of Cloud 9 with Euroquimica has led to this innovation, this patent that is compatible with achieving class RF-120 resistance.

My wish for the CONSTRUCTION is to think, believe that the Media-ICT is on a par with the balance and complexity that we have learnt from Gaudí’s

La Pedrera.

But we will leave this to the experts such as Daniel Giralt Miracle so that they can make judgments and criticize.

Our work process to create these skins has been program-structure-skin.

And this skin is an expression of energy.

If we think about Gaudí’s La Pedrera, it is a construction system that projects a landscape towards the city.

It is the building that must have a dialogue with the city.

We need solutions. How do we find these solutions?

Let’s take a scientific look at urban landscape, let’s make it a performance, let’s make it performative, with energy as its script. This is the project.

This is Media-ICT: meeting energy criteria through beautiful, performative, communicative, urban landscape, which is educational, opening people’s eyes, so that they are aware of key problems such as energy.




The mayor, in his speech the other day, talked to us about green cities.

If we consider Jeremy Rifkin’s theory, buildings represent 35-40% of the climate change problem.

As architects, we are the main cause of climate change... So we need to take it seriously...

In the European Union there is talk of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. Some 20% of our building’s energy will be clean energy with regard to what we consume.

Media-ICT targets an achieves:

1-20% CO2 reduction due to the use of District Cooling, clean energy.

2-10% CO2 reduction due to the photovoltaic roof.

3-55% CO2 reduction due to the dynamic ETFE sun filters.

4-10% CO2 reduction due to energy efficiency related to smart sensors.

Total 95% CO2 reduction, the Media-ICT is a NET building almost a net zero building.

As an example, if the building code demands a factor of 0.45, thanks to the new systems and patents in this building, we can achieve a target of 0.10.

Another example is the photovoltaic roof that produces about 29,000 kWh/year which represents some 18.8 tones of savings in atmospheric CO2 emissions.

The Media-ICT is this new wave of green architecture, with energy as its principal argument.

What is the ETFE? It is Teflon, a crystallized polymer, a Teflon-based polymer. ETFE is very light; there are no frames; it is highly resistant (1,500 kg); it is perfect for fire escapes; and is an interesting material for public spaces.

Dragados has managed to accurately assemble ETFE and the structure, thanks to the use of 3D topography through 3 mm resolution scanners for a 40m façade.

We now turn to the technical data:

Study of shade and ratio of urbanity.

Calculation of solar energy according to the orientation of the façades:

On the north façades there are 2.000 watts per hour.

On the south façades there are 6.500 watts per hour.

This is a difference of 300%.

The ETFE skin enables us to build these design values:

SA Solar factor open 0.35

SA Solar factor closed 0.10

CAC Solar factor without fog 0.45

CAC Solar factor with fog 0.10

Take a look at the CAC façade SF with fog value of 0.10, in other words 4 times more effective than the TBC.

Who governs this?

The building creates and coordinates a vertical cloud to filter the sun; the building creates it and repeats it over and over again.

Thus, the DISTRIBUTED INTELLIGENCE, there are more than 500 sensors in the Media-ICT.

The ground floor proximity sensor regulates consumption according to how people move along the lobby.

The façade sensors connected to the Iguzzini lighting save energy by preventing consumption in the first three meters of the façade (TBC).

Finally the 104 sensors, within the black box and the Arduino soft, connected to the ETFE cushions makes each cushion, each construction element of the façade intelligent.

The director of the Cité d’Architecture in Paris Francis Rambert said we are standing before the Barcelona’s Pompidou Centre.

Distributed smart tech:

Each inflatable having an IP address, using Arduino soft – this enables the building not only to close or open all the curtains, which not only activates the patches of clouds and decides which neighbour produces what shade, but the building also modulates and responds like a reactive skin, with 104 IP addresses attached to such reaction.

If the entire building is based on the idea of distribution, the computing should be distributed. If you create a model in which there is a hierarchy with a central computer, if this computer crashes, the entire building crashes.

I must add that we aim for the best energy performance results.

It is still too early to disclose complex public results but we can talk about the Honorable mention from the Premi Medi Ambient de la Generalitat de Catalunya in 2009 (R&D and Innovation Projects), aimed at sustainable construction, and research in ETFE used in the Media-ICT architecture.

07 __________________

This is our formula: Energy efficiency as a catalyst of innovation.

There are 4 major buildings in the world with ETFE:

Eden in London: the transparent ETFE cladding creates a microclimate.

Arena in Munich: the EFTE covering complete with lighting creates an icon.

Beijing Water Cube: the EFTE cladding with its double illumination creates an icon.

And now the Media-ICT: ETFE with three layers, with intelligence, without lighting, not as an iconic style of architecture, but certainly energy performative architecture.

And I would like to emphasize it is not about icon architecture or star architect but energy efficient performative architecture.

This is the first ETFE building in Spain.

In the industrial age, solar solutions were physical, mechanical, hydraulic...

Take the Arab World Institute by Jean Nouvel in Paris as an example.

But the digital world moves with particles, with simple elements, with steam, air with atmospheric and gaseous worlds.

As Terry Riley says of our architecture in the catalogue of the MOMA exhibition: '… we carry out Performative Architecture”

Milestone: a cloud of nitrogen.

A vertical cloud filtering solar radiation.

The building creates a vertical cloud of fog, increasing the density of the air of the ETFE cushions with nitrogen particles; the SF (solar factor) of the building goes from 0.45 to 0.10.

Can we prevent a sunbeam, ray of light, heat from entering the office, while creating certain particles so that the sunbeam is broken down and the solar factor is lowered? Yes we can.

80% of the fog is composed of nitrogen particles.


These two patents are created:

ETFE Diaphragm, ETFE Fog.

Our buildings should be performative. Architecture is no longer on/off, a/b, it is a dynamic architecture.

We have to make architecture as similar as possible to these natural plant processes pursuing and performing, what activates its photosynthesis, its physics, its chemistry, its inner material. 


According to Jeremy Rifkin, we are heading towards a New Humanism, with architecture that empathizes with the Environment and towards a new economy.

There is talk about the GREEN SHOOTS of the economy ... this building is one.

It is in total ALIGNMENT with the objectives that the Consorci have talked about: technical and economic rigor, competitiveness, sustainability…

This building has cost 24,5 million Euros and has a ratio of 1,234 Euros per m2 above ground level.

In this way money will not be excuse not to fulfill the GREEN NEW DEAL.


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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

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