This year, the 2021 Masters 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.
As modern day living requires the reinterpretation of our collective societal needs, food production and its processing have become a main focus for self-sufficiency. For years, Valldaura Labs has been involved in revitalizing the agricultural potential of the historic mountain valley it is located within, combining tacit knowledge with advanced tools and agrology techniques. The Solar Greenhouse represents the next bold step towards transforming the lessons of this local condition into a more ecologically focused agricultural solution for the wider urban context.
With the completion of this project, the 2020-2021 MAEBB Class held their graduation ceremony on Friday, September 3rd with a sense of immense accomplishment, standing meters away from their new green machine.