The Latest from IAAC at Valldaura Labs


John Hill
7. May 2023
Photo: Adrià Goula

Students in IAAC's Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) postgraduate program carry out their design, research, and building efforts at Valldaura Labs in the mountainous Collserola forest. In the case of FLORA, that setting pointed to the program of the building — a research station for observing the biodiversity of the forest canopy and the impact of climate change upon it — as well its construction: It is made primarily from invasive pine trees that were selectively removed from the forest. Covered in a stretched netting that recalls the work of SO–IL, the wood structure will eventually be shrouded by plants, allowing the researchers inhabiting it to better observe the surrounding habitat unobtrusively. Take a visual tour through FLORA below, with further information on the project provided in the captions.

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At approximately 8,000 hectares (nearly 20,000 acres, or about 24 times the area of New York's Central Park), the Parc de Collserola is considered the largest green space in the Barcelona metropolitan area. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
The building that is home to Valldaura Labs is perched more than 8.5 meters high on a ridge in the park; FLORA is anchored to the sloping site (via four glulam columns) directly east of it. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
Collserola has around 1,000 different species of plants, tens of thousands of trees, and an enormous variety of wildlife, including 190 different types of vertebrates. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
The structure consists of a cross-laminated timber (CLT) core sitting on 30cm x 30cm glulam columns and three solid-wood bridges, the longest (12m) connecting FLORA to the ridge. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
The trees used for the structure were extracted and harvested following Collserola's Sustainable Forest Management Plan, after which the students fabricated CLT panels, glulam beams, and solid wood using the machinery at Valldaura Labs. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
The CLT core is covered in two layers of natural cork panels for thermal and acoustic insulation. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
The approximately 4m2 core allows a researcher to live and work in FLORA for a short period of time. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
FLORA was inspired by the work of Margaret D. Lowman, the US biologist known as Canopy Meg. The “mother of canopy research” has devised numerous techniques for studying — and conserving — forest canopies. (Photo: Adrià Goula)
Direction: Vicente Guallart and Daniel Ibañez
Developed by the students of the Masters program in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB), 2021/22 class: Andrea Paola Rubio Paredes, Leif-Andres Vallecillo Riksheim, Lillian Wanjiru Beauttah, Pablo Rafael Herraiz García de Guadiana, Prachi Agarwal, Rachael Margaret Verdugo Pelaez, Romain Jacques Kenny Russe, Roshni Chirag Shah, Shagun Modi, Zani Kerubo Gichuki, Iletutu "Tutu" Ibiyemi Awosika, Kshitij Ramlal Sarote, Mónica Irene Pérez Rivera, Prasidh Choudhary, Agnieszka Szklarczyk, Pongpol Punjawaytegul, Suwapat Rodprasert, Anton Hofstadt
Host: Valldaura Labs. Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Valldaura Labs Management: Laia Pifarré 
Assisted by: Bruno Ganem, Alex Hadley, Gustavo Escudero
Advised by: Marziah Zad, Miquel Rodriguez, Elena Orte, Guillermo Sevillano, Ignasi Caus, Miguel Nevado
Sponsors: Tallfusta, Alberch, Heco Schrauben Ibérica
With the support of: Cerdanyola del Vallès City Council
Volunteer: Marilia Fernandez Lockwood, Philipp Wienkämper
Site Plan (Drawing: IAAC)
Floor Plan (Drawing: IAAC)
Section (Drawing: IAAC)
Axon showing mesh (Drawing: IAAC)
Axon showing CLT (Drawing: IAAC)

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