Kicking off the Research Studio II on Self Sufficient Buildings
Under Enric Ruiz-Geli and Mireia Luzarraga

After a grueling yet very rewarding first term, everyone felt transformed and inspired as we face the second term head on. For many of us at the Self-Sufficient Buildings research line, finding ourselves in our first choice of studio class has been very affirming.

The title alone – Self-sufficient Buildings – already felt empowering. Then, when explained most entertainingly in the presentation of research lines, we felt more convinced that this is what we wanted to learn about. In today’s world where we have grown to depend much on a lot of conveniences, here is a proposal to be self-sufficient.

Another term introduced to us is “Off-grid”, which means “not to depend on public utilities.” Coming from our individual and the most varied circumstances, we were very interested to know how this could be done.

The two initial activities of the studio brought us to two Cloud 9 projects of our tutors, Enric Ruiz-Geli and Mireia Luzzáraga Alvarez. The first one has been the Media-ICT, which also won the best building at the WAF 2011. We deemed it to be a structure that continues to teach long after it has been built, as it is a manifesto of the interface between art and architecture, digitally developed systems and powerful materiality. It is responsive to the environment as well as present-day situations. It shows what advanced architecture ought to be – multidisciplinary, multi-scalar and innovative, placing man at the center of design.

The second is a house called the Aiguablava Villa in Begur. With the structure shaped like mounds that follow the undulating form of the landscape, it is also iconic in its own way as it coincides with the concept of the Catalan brickwork.  Referred to as a Mediterranean case study, it is a work in progress. Somehow, this project being currently open-ended allows for much thought and contextualization for us students. It gives us the chance to speculate limitless possibilities, which is perfect for a studio.

After all the pictures have been taken and the last observation shared, we topped off the visit by taking lunch at a breathtaking beach nearby, which is something that Aiguablava is famous for. If we were to be a closely-knit tribe, an important element is to have as many shared experiences and exchanges as possible. Leisure in fact has a way of cementing learning in a solid way. This tribe is certainly open to that and looks forward to more.

By Maria Cynthia Ylagan Funk, MA001 2015-16