Photography. Meritxell M. Pauné. La Vanguardia

Once you become resident of Valldaura Labs you start being part of the cycles that were conceived when this institution where stablish. Our daily routines is full of them since we wake up to the end of the day. Those types of process make this special place in Barcelona an example of sustainable live for the world. By researching in this topic and trying to understand how this process works I found there are few cycles not fully closed and others that can be more successful by integrating more elements using resources that we already have.

Diagrams by Guallart Architects. Valldaura Labs. Archdaily

In the process of understanding the existing cycles, I notice they flow mostly in a vertical direction from the underground to the sky. But, What is happening in the surface?

Garden Cycle

One of the process identified as closed starts with the seeds that we plant in the garden that months later gets transformed/become in part of the food that Pilar, our master chef, prepare for us in Valldaura Labs’s kitchen. Once we finish eating our plate, if there is something left, we pour it in the waste bin that later goes back to the garden and by time gets transformed in to compost. All this actions come together as one cycle that is in constant repetition year by year.



Chicken/Geese Cycle

In our new home, Valldaura Labs, we also have chickens and geese as pets. Part of their natural job is to produce eggs that later on we use for cooking. As a waste, we collect eggs shells and put them in the bin that goes to the compost adding an element rich in calcium to the Garden Cycle. But, What we are giving the chickens and geese in return for their work? This diagram show how the process is working today and also suggest how the cycle should be closed giving our pets part of our food waste in return.


Saw Dust Cycle

Since we live inside the protected Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola for must of our projects we use wood from our surroundings. As part of processing this material in the FabLab workshop we produce a big amount of sawdust as waste. Right now, we have used this material in the garden as a replacement of hay in the beds, in the Solar Green House in replacement of soil to grow new plants and in the Chicken Coop to create some cushion on the eggs nests. But, What about transforming the sawdust into something else?


All Cycles Together

As a result, we will have a overlap of connection produced by all this cycles and resulting in to a more sustainable Valldaura Lab integrating more elements into the daily processes.



Increase the production of eggs to what we consume month by month.

Today, our chickens are producing good quality eggs but we can improve them even more by adding more fresh and organic food to their daily diet using our wastes.

Producing more compost combining different types of waste that we produce daily in Valldaura Labs. With help of our pets, that are natural decomposers to have better quality of the soil. **

Early process to start closing the cycles

One of the most important key elements to have success by make cycles work is to engage the residents and visitors with the process. By been part of it, you can understand it better and see the result of actions involved. At the same time, together we can identify the benefits and missing elements that we need to change to improve the process.

 Part of the brave students/residents of Valldaura Labs helping to clean the chicken coop: Agnieszka Szklarczyk, Lillian Beauttah, Pablo Herraiz García de Guadiana, Zani Gichuki  and Kshitij Sarote.

As part of out maintenance in the garden, we integrate cleaning the coop.  We spend few days cleaning* it by taking out all the manure that was accumulated for a long time. As a result, we get rib of the bad smell, flies went away and the most important thing, we give the chickens a clean house that will keep them happy and healthy.


Chicken Food Bean

As mentioned before, chickens and geese are an essential elements to continue to run this cycles. As part of the initiatives done to articulate the cycles is to dispose the food waste equally distributed that we can use to make compost but/and also to feed our birds. ** For that, a sign was created to identify the basket placed in the kitchen and also to inform which king of food people be placed in this bin. The intention is to provide our pets a better diet with fresh and organic food daily.

Chicken Coop Improvements

As part of the next process to be done is to fix and make some improvements to the coop to give them a better and safe place to live. That includes: new feeders, new nests, insulation, protection from predators with help of technology. I truly believe that this specials creatures are a symbol of sustainability because naturally they produce and work with the soil everyday. By integrating them in our daily routines and closing the incomplete cycles, it’ll be the next step towards self-sufficiency.

To be continued next semester…