The Monocle Design Award 2022 for the Smartest Student Project goes to MAEBB Solar Greenhouse

The Monocle Award for the Smartest Student Project has been given this year to the MAEBB Solar Greenhouse. This prestigious honor celebrates the amazing work of the MAEBB class of 2021, who completed their innovative agricultural prototype just last fall.

Monocle’s editorial coverage spans from innovations in city planning to product design, using the design award to highlight how design can help improve our quality of life at every corner of the globe. The Solar Greenhouse sits among many projects spanning from Asia and South Africa to the USA, praising this particular project for its ambitious effort in suggesting an innovative model which tackles the question of food production through intricate hydroponics, and efficient solar energy and food production. Through looking at the model of agriculture in the forest setting of Valldaura Labs, this project intended to present a future vision for food production and ecological design, able to be transported to the urban context, making small-scale urban farming easy.

This award is hopefully one of many to come, we congratulate and thank our students and faculty for their wonderful collaborative effort in making this possible!

Monocle Design Awards

The Solar Greenhouse

In 2021, the students of the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities completed their final thesis project, the Solar Greenhouse, a full-scale prototype that actively aids in the intensive food production efforts at Valldaura Labs.

The Solar Greenhouse is constructed from Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) that was milled, dried, processed and pressed into laminated wooden elements on site at Valldaura.  Almost all these components were CNC-milled to ensure a precise and digitally coordinated construction process. The glass roof, carefully arranged in a heliomorphic ‘diamond’ shape, allows for full solar capture both by the plants inside and the semi-transparent solar panels integrated within the glass.

The Solar Greenhouse also features a fully functional nutrient delivery system consisting of storage tanks, nutrient inflows, tubing to feed the plants directly and a matrix of LED strip lights to facilitate longer growth cycles installed with help from Luz Negra. The ground floor will be used for germinating the seedlings that will be planted in the gardens, while the upper level will generate a sizable harvest using advanced hydroponic techniques. All planting beds will use a sawdust substrate, a former waste product of the Green Fab Lab at Valldaura put to imaginative reuse.

Rebecca Baierwick, Mona El Batrik, Marilia Fernández Lockwood, Christa Hörburger, Bartłomiej Najman, Fatemeh Nejatii, Amritha Prabhuram, Ignacio Reyes Solis, Engjëll Rodiqi, Paulina Sevilla, Akshay Sunil Mhamunkar, Yangchuan Tian, Dafni Vakalopoulou, Philipp Wienkämper, Kevin Xi Lin.

Vicente Guallart, Daniel Ibáñez

The Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) postgraduate program is an 11-month immersive academic program focused on learning how to design and build a new generation of buildings and cities to respond to the planet’s emerging climate challenges.

The program is carried out in Valldaura Labs, in Barcelona, a 135 He property located in the Collserola forest. Here, students will live and work surrounded  by nature while using the most advanced technologies and design techniques in the pursuit of what is also IAAC’s long term initiative, to create self-sufficient and ecological environments.

Do you also believe that a materially exuberant and ecologically powerful design practice is key for the future? Are you eager to explore material and energy issues across disciplines and scales, taking full advantage of the unique location of Valldaura Self–Sufficient Labs?

Find out more about the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities: