The Collaborative Design Studio course instructs and engages students in the design, fabrication and implementation of two real-world installations within Barcelona.


The real-world installation projects will utilize all the digital fabrication and carpentry tools within the Green Fab Lab and will be made primarily from materials harvested and processed by the students on site at Valldaura. The projects touch on themes of agency within the urban sphere, and hope to promote a new vision of ecological design within the context of the city. Both projects will be completed in collaboration with school children in Barcelona as part of a co-designed process. The projects will be assembled on site and become a dynamic part of the urban landscape.


© Adrià Goula

As the first full scale prototypes of the MAEBB course, these projects will give students an immediate sense for what is achievable with the tools and materials available at Valldaura Labs. In addition, these projects are ideal opportunities for students to begin establishing effective networks of communication and design dialogue with their fellows as well as with external collaborators. These projects are unique in that they seek to find a new perspective on interaction in the urban environment from an ecological and participatory perspective. There are limited preconceived notions of what the end results or how precisely they should function, allowing for an element of surprise energizing the development processes as well as capacity for responding to users’ requirements. By leading these design initiatives in collaboration with community members and young people, this studio also offers an opportunity to practice narrative building around the context of a practical design proposal.

Learning Objectives

  1. Collaborate with the entire studio on the design, fabrication and installation of two full scale urban interventions. These projects will reflect the lessons and methods learned at Valldaura and contribute to the urban identity of the sites they occupy. 
  2. Learn to combine digital fabrication tools, computational design methods, traditional woodworking methods and natural, circular materials into a comprehensive fabrication strategy to execute the design proposal within the given time frame.
  3. Work with groups of schoolchildren in a collaborative manner to foster a successful co-design process. The children represent the community within which these interventions will make their impact, so working closely with them and finding a meaningful design connection is imperative. 
  4. Translate the feedback of untrained students into high-quality interactive and inspirational installations.
  5. Create high quality documentation, not only of the final product so that the designs and efforts can be replicated in other contexts, but of the design process and the strategies used to reach a final proposal.


Projects from this course

Wooden Elegance: Crafting a Timeless Table

AGENDA The objective of this course was to design elements for the upcoming exhibition Macquina Climatica, in Parque de la Ciutadella, renovated to serve as an exhibition space; this historic precursor to the emerging paradigm of urban agriculture is currently under construction. For this course, our group was assigned to design a table 4.5m long … Read more

a Chair can be …

Our collaborative design project kicked off for Máquina Climática Exhibition based on farming and harvesting local varieties of fruits and vegetables which will be held at the greenhouse in Parque de la Ciutadella, Catalonia. The exhibition focused on urban food production, requiring tables and chairs for hosting various activities like workshops and dining. Our goal was … Read more

MO5 Collaborative Design – Bio Berms

After analyzing the site of Font del Gos we quickly realized that soil erosion was a significant problem.The site is a case study of human interception of an ecosystem, a naturally evolvedlandscape and water stream disturbed by human doings, causing dysfunction.Dry, eroded soil is unable to absorb water properly when raining.This causes a lack of … Read more

Open Nature | [WOOD]LE

The project ‘[Wood]le’ – a ‘Wooden Noodle’ explores the idea of steam-bending tree logs to create a self stable structure. The [Wood]le assumes the function of a seating area as it rests on the ground at one end and folds up to become an element that frames the valley of Font Del Gos on the … Read more

Open Nature | Font del Gos

Public spaces in the city of Barcelona play a vital role in the daily lives of its citizens. But often there is a clear boundary seen between the urban and the peri-urban forests of the city. The project approaches the site of Font Del Gos as a transitory space between the city of Barcelona and … Read more

Open Nature | Fountain Arrangement

BRIEF This past fall, our Collaborative Design Studio class joined forces to bring a new life to an abandoned area. We had the unique opportunity to work on a project commissioned by the New European Bauhaus – a mission to connect the city to nature. Our assignment was located in the Font Del Goss neighborhood … Read more

Open Nature | Tapial Topography

BRIEF Public spaces in the city of Barcelona play a vital role in the daily lives of its citizens. But often there is a clear boundary seen between the urban and the periurban forests of the city. The project approaches the site of Font Del Gos as a transitory space between the city of Barcelona … Read more

Open Nature | Mil Ramas

Brief The main aim of the sculpture seats was to use discarded branches and every part of the tree to create our structure in a sustainable manner. Our project’s objectives were to serve something unique, comfortable and most importantly an advanced form of seating using wooden elements. We began with collecting branches from trees that … Read more

Furnish KIDS 2.0

SCOPE / OBJECTIVES Many European cities are looking to redesign their public spaces. FURNISH (Fast Urban Responses for New Inclusive Spaces and Habitat) aims to merge the challenge of having more public spaces through ‘tactical urbanism’, which can reconfigure and co-create a street expanding the space for pedestrians and leisure, with local manufacturing, through the … Read more