Following a learning by doing methodology, the Introductory Studio gives students the opportunity to fully explore and apply the various tools and techniques assimilated during their 1st term at IAAC. From the examination of space, understood as layers of activities and their interaction, to the design and simulation of behaviours, animated through performative models; or the profound understanding of mechanisms of local energy, food and bio-material production in dense urban environments, contributing to the urban morphogenesis of contemporary cities; all developed with the support of digital fabrication and parametric design.


Metabolic Studio aspires to force students to think outside the box when dealing with design and architecture. it is intended to reconsider the built environment and the notion of architecture that is offered to the citizens. Modern cities nowadays are very disconnected from the ground they sit on, as opposed to when they were founded in origin. The lack of green and natural spaces and the materials used in the construction systems expand this disassociation ever further.


The studio aims to propose radical approaches to Advanced Architecture topics via architecture hacking, metabolic and natural processes. Taking an abstract look at nature and seeing it as a closed system where everything is interconnected and no waste is ever produced, one would be able to identify some of its parts, existing processes and constituents and try to replicate them with technology or other natural systems for incorporating them into our designs.

Studio understands Metabolism as the constant flow and transformation between matter and energy, forcing it to happen in the architectural interventions. In a way, those forced metabolic cycles allow to solve and remediate some of the problems that the cities face, such as pollution, mineralization and extreme heat. One of the main challenges students face in the studio is the instrumentalisation of those cycles and how they can have a physical and specific form.

Studio works towards the transformation of the city of Barcelona, proposing new architectures and design interventions attached to existing Eixample buildings. Students are asked to reformulate the city from a metabolic perspective, starting from the molecules.

By understanding nature’s metabolic pathways, students create a set of tools that allow the transformation of the façades of existing buildings into high-performance hybrid natural machines, taking into account that the by-product (not waste) of them are to be beneficial for the environment.

Learning Objectives

At course completion the student will:

  • Understand the relationships of buildings within the city context, technology, and society;
  • Understand how their form and function can change and adapt to modify our perception of the built environment;
  • Create advanced architectural proposals that deal with metabolic processes with the exchange of energy and matter, understanding the details of the metabolic pathways;
  • Elaborate critical thinking about the relationship between architecture and environment, climate and pollution, and citizen and atmosphere;
  • Add a new critical and radical point of view on how cities should be in the future and think outside the box when it comes to sustainable construction.


Projects from this course


THE WIND FACILITATES The project aims to create a “breathing” facade system, which will be able to provide fresh air to both internal and external areas of the Casa Sayrach. The facade as a metabolic device which helps to tackle air pollution is based on one of the main principles – using clean energy, which … Read more


Sants is a neighbourhood located in Barcelona, and Carrer de Sants is a high street in the eponymous neighbourhood of Sants. It is the main street of the district and the longest commercial street of Europe. Our building that we have chosen, Casa Jaume Estrada is located on this lively street. Casa Jaume Estrada, Carrer de … Read more

Cocoa Temple

BRIEF It‘s hard to imagine a world without chocolate. But if current behaviors continue, cacao trees (Theobroma cacao) – the source of cacao and, ultimately, chocolate – could be extinct by mid-century. This is because cocoa, and the agricultural system that sustains it, face both human and natural threats that can be existential.The problem is … Read more


Location: Passeig de gracia Building: Casa codina Architect– Antonio rovira rabassa Building program– Jewelery store + Offices Abstract The Project aims to develop a metabolic prosthetic, a throughput for the evaluated issues around Casa Codina, to provide a remedial output for the same. In the specific case, the analysis of waste generated over the course … Read more


Re-thinking the facade of Hotel Casa Fuster – By Lluís Domènech i Montaner The aim of the project is to develop a responsive, interactive and performative facade for Hotel Casa Fuster, thus creating an Oasis of biophilic and self-sustained architecture in the middle of the cityscape. The vision is to design a facade which uses … Read more