‘The Vallcarquians, in a parenthesis born of destruction, symbolize persistence against speculation.’

Verde Vallis aims to reappropriate flora as a tool for reclamation and regeneration in Vallcarca. Learning from Vallcarquian panarchy and the dynamics of this complex ecosystem in response to disturbance and change and taking advantage of the abundance of flora on site, Verde Vallis is proposed as a curated jungle, an anti-anthropocentric sanctuary, and a machine for air purification. Combining computationally-driven design with woven natural fibers of cane and fed with selected flora from on-site with pollution absorption properties, Verde Vallis will be used as a purification organ that breathes in pollutants (CO2 & NO2) and exhales clean air – home to trees, shrubs, and climbers, to birds, butterflies, bees, and mice. The programme is a habitat for an integrated natural ecosystem, a network that directly tackles the pollution problematics of the site and serves as an extension of extensive Vallcarquian eco-activism and assembly, as well as creating opportunity for work and income to the informal settlers on site through greenhouses and a market, integrating them into society.


Historical analysis

A historical analysis of the urban planning in Vallcarca revealed that the neighborhood has faced over 50 years of systemic demolitions due to a general plan of developing a green boulevard that seemingly never actually came to fruition. This led to a period of ‘urban suicide’ as the residents called it, with steady deterioration and degradation of the neighborhood’s urban fabric. In the face of that, the Vallcarquians reacted and rebelled by reclaiming abandoned and demolished plots and transforming them into green spaces, vegetable gardens, and social agriculture. Over 20 Eco-Activist social mobilization groups and collectives have since risen from Vallcarca. Many of these collectives are vocal about the air quality in the neighborhood, saying that ‘here in the neighborhood the smoke kills us – we are literally putting an alarm cry on the table.’

Site topography

Air pollution data

Problematics and Objectives

Proposed Programme

Stakeholders and Ecosystem

Materials and strategies

Concept and Grid development

A special feature on the site is the very distinct demarcations in the lush flora which marked often travelled pathways. These Desire Lines emphasized how Vallcarquians preferred to navigate the site, using these same pathways so much so that it created clearings in the dense flora.

Mapping an organic grid respecting these paths of least resistance creates clear and intentional access points to the site that also integrated the existing site elements.

The same logic was followed to map the tree clusters and assume bird desire lines, analyzing how non-humans would navigate the site. To rationalize this grid, we overlaid a rheotomic grid of triangular modules which emanated from the highest and lowest nodes on the site.

Module development

Based on the proposed programme, we need a whole module (A NUCLEUS) and an arterial module (A BRANCH).

Looking to Platonic solids for the regularity of their faces, giving flexibility for connections at complex angles.

Design logic and Catalogue

Connection Rules

Physical model to Midjourney exercise

Design logic and Catalogue

Cluster types

The nucleus and branch logic was developed further to create various cluster formations that serve different programmatic and connectivity purposes, such as linear and branch or tree-like clusters for more distributed transitions, and circular or chainlike clusters for more concentrated distributions. These clusters then aggregate and connect together to create the network that is Verde Vallis.

The simplified nucleus and branch clusters are then relaxed into high-poly geometry that, when aggregated, result in an organic curated jungle which reminds of arterial structures, neural connections, webs, networks, etc.

Masterplan development

Performance Implementation


Here is a proposal for a possible iteration for the purification organ, which varies in density and porosity both in section and in plan depending on the human or non-human hosts of the sanctuary.

Sections and Details

It reaches over the viaduct to shelter the habitat from the surrounding noise and car pollution,

Section AA

And densifies on the lower end of the site close to the road to be a barrier for the more porous zone in the higher end which will purely host flora and fauna.

Section BB

Physical Model (Prototype)

Physical Model (Final)