Hydroceramic is a project that speculates on the thermodynamic processes in buildings and how these can be tackled passively with a class of materials called “hydrogel”. By combining the evaporation property of the hydrogels with the thermal mass, and humidity control property of clay ceramic and fabric, a composite material responsive to heat and water was created. The proposed solution is a passive evapotranspiration system able to lower the temperature of an interior space by 5ºC.


The project is divided into 3 different phases, The smart material: Hydrogel, The supportive material: Fabric as the water channel, and the ceramic.

From the evaporation diagram above, we can see that the heat of vaporisation of water is about 0.6 kilocalories per gram, this is how the cooling effect occurs. Taking this phenomenon as a hypothesis, we set up a test to observe the cooling performance of this smart material in composition with other selected materials i.e plastic, aluminium and clay, in order to find the most suitable support material.

The performative box compared to the control after treated with extreme heat (artificial), resulted in a 5-degree Celsius difference in temperature (average) and 200 higher in humidity. This gave us a rough conclusion that the composite material has the ability to cool down the enclosed space in high temperature and the ability to transfer humidity. The project objectives have been answered in the research area, and as far as necessary, with limited time and technology, we have achieved a promising test result which could lead to several further types of research and also profitable projects. Having in mind that the composite material has a very low production cost and natural resources of clay are still abundant, the system can easily be applied to architecture in the remote areas.

With the help of accurate energy and thermal analysis of today’s technology, the hydrocermamics passive system can effectively keep the balance of the humidity and temperature inside the human comfort zone.

Hydroceramics is a project of IAAC, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and was developed in the Studio Digital Matter: intelligent Construction, Master of Advanced Architecture in 2013-14 by students:

  • Akanksha Rathee
  • Elena Mitrofanova
  • Pongtida Santayanon

With the support of the:

  • Senior faculty Areti Markopoulou
  • Faculty assistant Alexandre Dubor and
  • Assistant Moritz Belge