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G04-Hacking Torre Baro

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A study of the orography, the elevated terrain of Torre Baro. The Orographic precipitation, also known as relief precipitation, is generated by a forced upward movement of air upon encountering a physiographic upland. This is resulted by the anabatic or upward vertical propagation of warm moist air up an orographic slope caused by daytime heating of the mountain barrier surface. By adding isolation to the surface to create a controlled directional flow of moisture and heat, enabling the typography to act as a machineless greenhouse.

Using tensile structures in the Form finding process enables flexibility and free manipulation of spaces to hack the terrain. In this case, forming an entirely new typography of its own providing the necessary structure for movement of air, humidity and water. These elements are essential for the greenhouse to function in a harmonious manner without the aid of any mechanical elements.

The concept of «Propagation» is dominent in this project. Consequently, the use of propagation for plants, a method of «Horticultural Cloning» using precise cutting techniques. Further exploration of these methods have been proven highly productive for commercial agriculture of various types of produce. This project will demonstrate the integration of propagating plants, natural elements and form to hack nature.




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G1_Peripatetic Concatenation_Final


Utilising an incorporative system, consisting of various inputs, can result in exceptional efficiency when attempting to generate an effective yield of a product.

Coupling the potential flexible functionality of an aeroponic growth system with the passive manipulation of heat movement creates an ideal environment for many varying cultivars.

To achieve the most efficient form of execution it is necessary to take similarities among the cultivars into account. Focusing on tomatoes, several varieties are similar in terms of maturation time, harvest time, disease resistance as well as plant growth preferences . Therefore the growth of several varieties makes sense.

Once combining the tomatoes with the aeroponic system, numerous differences are instantly omitted. The germination and rooting periods of the plants, shrink down to less than a day. Most soil-based deterrents as well as plant-to-plant activity are eliminated, greatly decreasing infection and mortality rates.

The following step is to interconnect the aeroponic system with the passive growth proposal. Through undulating surfaces, which feature varying sizes of ‘hot pockets’, much like a series of ‘overlapping’ domes, the plants are subjected to the ideal conditions required. Being placed inside the ‘hot pockets’, the plants are essentially enclosed in a controlled heat environment, with the heating effect altering itself according to the stage of development the plants are experiencing.

Since heat rises, it is possible to capture and control it using the rippling effect created by the overlapping entities or ‘hot pockets’.  The effects of the sun and mist sprayed by the aeroponic system proliferate heat gains and losses, therefore causing a constantly changing interior atmosphere. Through careful consideration of sun exposure measured on a grid of points laid on the site, it was possible interpret the information to form the surface of interlocking ‘hot pockets’, manipulating the heat to ‘travel’ around the created structure.

Through this passively encouraged movement, heat levels among the pockets change and adjust, correlating with the plants needs.


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Large prototype model. This informed our proposal through the studying of the various occurrences on the model itself. Anti-spaces, 3 dimensional arrangements, unit composition as whole as well as individual panel varieties provided great insight into the behaviour of our chosen material when set up in such a manner.

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Our initial experimentation of the material ‘Polymethyl Methacrylate’ revealed the effects of our chosen environmental parameter for the project, heat. We were able to study the material, subjecting it to varying degrees of heat and varying times of exposure, hence being able to confirm predicted effects and extrapolate unforeseen behaviours.



Further study of the component under heat stresses. Angles of deformation depend on heat intensity and time of exposure.

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Through utilising Ecotect analysis software we were able to extract information for heating incidents, specifically for our site but also for the general surroundings. Understanding these values as geometries, in this case circles, we were able to in effect ‘plan’ the proposals positioning on site. The greater the diameter of a circle, the greater the energy signature from the suns heat/light in that specific spot.














Transferring the earlier information extracted from the circles, we began interpreting these figures as height differentials, giving us vertical lines of varying heights (all in the context of the site). In this case the higher the lines goes, the smaller the amount of energy that spot receives. Included in these representations are the number of hours of sun exposure each originating point receives. By simply connecting the highest most point on each of the individual lines, longitudinally as well as latitudinally, we are informed of the extents and general geometry of our proposal as well as the defining heat/energy  parameters for plant growth in the specified areas. With this technique we are able to delineate the scope of the proposal.




Looking at Philippe Rahms theories on ‘Interior Atmospheres’, specifically convectional currents, we attempted to transfer the idea into our proposed design. The idea for us was to passively move heat around the dome-like chambers, which house the plants, through roof geometry. As heat is generated on the interior through the suns incident rays falling on the transparent ETFE surface of each of the domes, the air inside is heated, changing the composition of the air, which in turn creates interior currents. These currents push heated air around the domes. Through the use of electrochromic devices (smart glass; changes opacity to let less/more light through depending on light sensors) mounted between the ETFE surfaces it is possible to control the degree of heating inflicted by the sun, and therefore it is also possible to control the convectional air currents inside, providing the ideal temperatures for every plant in every ‘dome’.



Tomato research on similar tomato varieties we wish to grow. These have been selected due to their similarities in many defining areas (maturation time, germination time, sun exposure preferences etc.).



Set up of the individual domes. Plants sit on a ‘canopy’ in the ideal temperature range. These are able to be harvested from underneath by human collectors. The aeroponic system is set up to capture the excess water and recirculate it for greater efficiency. The electrochromic devices mounted in between the ETFE panels are shaped according to the rhombus design of the individual components, creating a seamless ‘covering’ of the subjects, and therefore enabling complete control of the heating effects of the sun.



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Arranging of the individual ‘domes’ according to groundcover.

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Connections among the interior, ‘sealed’, spaces.

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Growth units inside each of the ‘domes’.

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Main plan, including representation of potential paths people may take to either simply pass by the proposal, harvest a crop or observe.

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Final model in 1:50 scale.


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Final Render

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IS.2 G2/ Torre Baró – Energy District // MID TERM PRESENTATIONS

Today we had the Introductory Studio G2 Mid Term Presentations. The Studio led by Edouard Cabay, assisted by Rodrigo Aguirre, investigates form finding as a tool to develop landscape into a productive one. How can form follow energy and production?

The Studio site is that of Torre Baró, developed in the framework of a competition, to which IAAC has been invited to participate along with other architecture and design schools of Barcelona, hence giving the students the possibility to explore the possibility of transforming a real site into a self-sufficient land.

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Peripatetic Concatenation (G1 – Aeroponics / Mobility) – Midterm

form finding 1

Large Prototype

Large Prototype

Following our basic analysis of polycarbonate/methacrylate when subjected to heat we manufactured a wide range of a single type of component. Fitting them together to create our large prototype. Intended as a 1:1 scaleless study model it will inform our decision on the relationships possible with the growth system (continued further down, ‘A’).

form finding

Component under heat

Component under heat simulation

Having tested singular pieces with smaller dimensions and linear patterns, it was important for us now to be able to study varying geometries and sizes. Live testing is one thing, through simulation it is possible to study events and behaviours with greater detail, revealing more potentials.

Sectional Analysis

Sectional Analysis of component

Further study into material and component behaviour included careful analysis of maximum and minimum angles and the relationship the variables of time and heat may have on bending moment and breaking point.



The aim was to combine our form finding system with a specific growth system and plant. Aeroponics is one of the most efficient methods for controlled cultivation, and since our aim is to have a controlled environment, capable of maximum yield for a specific plant, it was only natural to select one of the most efficient and controlled growth methods to go with it.






The environmental aspect we have decided to focus on is heat. Namely the energy conveyed through heat onto a surface. The above analysis focuses on our site as well as adjacent lots of land, seeing as certain elements may have affects on their neighbours. Heat is being understood as energy in the form of MegaJoules. The values are represented in colour and apply to the averages of all days in the respective month. A yearly average is in the bottom left corner.


Following the the analysis, and the obtaining of raw heat/energy information, it was our task to transfer this information into grayscale. Using rings the amount of MJs transmitted to the respective point (centre of circle) can be represented. The diameter relates to the degree of energy being conveyed (key on drawing).

There are also several vertical lines, representing the amount of direct sunlight that specific point receives. The height corresponds to the number of hours of exposure to the sun (key on drawing).

By understanding the drawing through ‘anti-spaces’ or ‘overlaps’ one can begin to extract the ideal points on the plot for the most efficient proposal possible. One could also interpret the circles as a plan in itself. Seeing as we are imagining the roof scape as a dome-like flow, the centres of said circles could represent the peaks of said domes. Either way a plan for our proposal will be informed greatly by this drawing.

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‘A’, continued: Using the same panel repeated over an area we were able to create a blanket. Suspended in mid air this blanket, made up of the panels, deforms creating a transparent shelter. We hope to use the results of deformation, blanketing and interconnected panels to inform our proposal, more specifically its roof geometry. Each panel is heated for variety of times, creating diversity among the individual panels, which in turn affects the amount of light passing through.



Taking the prototype model and projecting light onto it, we were able to observe the behaviour of the light as if passed through our concave transparent surface.


Through the deformation the amount of light in certain areas was lessened/increased. Using roof geometry our proposal is projected to control the environment (heat) on the inside of the greenhouse to provide optimum conditions for vegetables to grow.

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