Last week Master in Advanced Architecture (MAA) students experienced an unusual week of the academic year – the research trips. Depending on the agenda of each Research Studio, students have explored their project sites, visited different research facilities and explored architecture, art and urban design of various Spanish cities and towns.

Digital Matter: Bilbao & San Sebastián

The design studio researches the implementation of computed, active or zero emissions material systems coupled with responsive technologies for the creation of dynamic built spaces that respond, breath, filter, biodegrade, or feed the soil and eventually change shape and state.

The aim is to develop design, material and manufacturing systems that aim to close or limit material and resource loss, while having the potential to minimize waste, using it as a resource in itself.

Besides architecture, sightseeing and gastronomy that the north has to offer, the students have visited various facilities during the research trip, focusing on advanced materials, innovation and circular design.

Visits included:

Learn more about the Digital Matter Research Line by clicking here.

Self Sufficient Buildings: Pyrenees Mountain Chain & Bilbao

SSB continues its exploration into the realm of physical forces and develops an architecture that creates an equilibrium between man and the environment. Today, form still follows function, but in a world of fluctuating climatic patterns and rigid dependencies on resources, we ask ourselves: how can energy shape architecture?

This year’s studio proposes an exploration of the Pyrenees Mountain Chain, a complex yet rich geography embedded with a variety of energetical situations and climatic diversity. Our site, the 500km-long Barcelona-Bilbao axis, gathers extreme conditions from glaciers to oceans, forest to deserts, unviolated valleys to dense metropolises. 

Students have been exploring this territory during the research trips under the form of a traveling expedition: equipped with camper vans, they left Barcelona together to places of common studio interest, from there all the groups drove to their own chosen sites to  perform a micro workshop: living 24 hours on your site, measuring it’s qualities through a physical act of staying there. The end of the itinerary took them to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and visit the dynamic industrial city of Bilbao.

Learn more about the Self Sufficient Buildings Research Line by clicking here.

X-Urban Design: Valencia, Benidorm, Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca & Magaluf

While the tourism industry has been once associated with a high level of consumption, as well as often being associated with a negative connotation on behalf of residents, tourism has also been an important driver and opportunity for many cities in Europe towards their development.

With this in mind, the X-Urban design Studio poses the question: how tourism can shape the future for cities, from pure consumption to circularity?

The city will give students the opportunity to design not only new urban tactics but architectural projects. A multi-scalar strategy will be proposed covering the range from the infrastructural scale to architectural scale, with a research-trip that gave students the opportunity to deeply study and analyse its territory during at least one week. 

The journey taken during the research trips engaged with some of the most impacted and extreme mass tourism territories in Spain, among these Benidorm, Evissa, Formentera and Magaluf in Mallorca. Revisiting the Costa Iberica movement to reflect and learn from it, the group learnt by living, in order to design the paradigm shift necessary to accommodate circular design for massive post tourism, which will be tested in the city of Barcelona.

Visits included:

  • Valencia: Veles e Vents & Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
  • Gran Bali Hotel, Benidorm West Beach Promenade – OAB & Benidorm sightseeing
  • Hotel Madeira, Benidorm center, Neguri Gane Building
  • Formentera: Posidonia, Salinas, Illetas Beach, Posidonia conservation and construction techniques
  • Ibiza sightseeing
  • Gras-Reynés Arquitectos office, Gomila project-MVRDV+Gras Reynés site visit with Guillermo Reynés 
  • Magaluf sightseeing

Learn more about the X-Urban Design Research Line by clicking here.

Are you interested in “Learning by Doing”? Do you want to use algorithms, digital data, digital fabrication machines, or biological and smart materials for prototyping and accelerating new building innovation solutions?

Find out more about the Master in Advanced Architecture: