Hex Pods. Reprogramming Public Space. There is no doubt that Covid19 massively affected not only how we behave as individuals but also how we use the spaces that were built for us. Aside from the sudden closing of establishments, public spaces were also forced to gate themselves to avoid any further contaminations. Now the question is how can these spaces be given back to the community keeping in mind the safety measures one has to follow? At the same time, how can we design a space that is not only applicable to this particular situation but also for the upcoming unpredictable events?

Hex Pods Site & Concept

For this project, the team focused on how to potentially reprogram space given the limitations this pandemic laid on everyone.


Zona Franca, known as a free economic zone, is largely composed of industries. Around 300 companies can be found and 50,000 employees currently work in this zone. On the other hand, Carrer A is a road that stretches three kilometers southeast of Zona Franca. It is under utilized in terms of public connection. Majority of its users are vehicles that just pass through.


In contrast, the city of Barcelona is a vibrant city full of activities to offer for its people. In figures, 30% of the land is dedicated to public spaces.


The goal is to shift from a permanent, simultaneous and collective use of public spaces to an intermittent, successive and personal manner by picking pieces of activities loved by the citizens across different places of Barcelona and recreate these down into a smaller scale of retractable pod to be deployed along Carrer A.

Hex Pods Activities

These shapes are divided into two sections, static and dynamic, as each activity has its own unique set of needs.

Static pods are further divided into three, 1) personal, 2) in-between, and 3) group, each varying in the number of people who will be using these pods. Activities as simple as sitting and having a drink with a companion to doing group sports, attending concerts, buying something from pop-up markets can all be done inside these adaptable and flexible hexagonal pods.

Dynamic pods, on the other hand, are for activities such as running and jogging.

 Hex Pods Layout


With our design proposal, we will create vibrant space that can accommodate different types of activities to be made by the users. Grouped according to categories to avoid inconvenience in terms of  organization, noise comfort of the users. At the same time, there could also be a possibility of combination of two categories to respond to special use.

Hex Pods Design


The general design of these pods are shaped in hexagonal form. Hexagons are known for its great modular properties. Aside from its appearance, it leaves no wasted space, and is a good friend of clustering. Hexagonal framework will be put underneath the train racks, taking advantage of the unused ceiling. This is where the pods will be attached via stay cables holding them into place. 

At the same time, textile fabric is the main material to achieve the flexibility of use accompanied with a set of stainless rods to keep it in place.

They will be retractable and rotatable depending on the use. The mechanism is inspired by how an accordion operates. Its retractable properties along the z-axis gives flexibility in use, both in space and time dimension.


Different configurations that respond to different types of activity. Not only in layout, but the way the pods were designed.

These pods can be pulled down into five (5) levels, depending on again the activity that takes place. For example, the pop-up markets do not need to have a full cover from the pods as the vendors should be able to sell their products to their customers. As a result, the hex-pods can be pulled down until the 3rd level only.

Hex Pods Performance

The main function of the hexagons is to deliver privacy to the users in whichever activity they do. It also provides protection from harsh environment elements. Lastly, it is great for personal use especially in these kind of times where social distancing is mandatory.

Activities should  not only happen during the day. With the integration of lighting in each pod, it extends its ability to be used even at night. As for noise, the material chosen is sound-proof to avoid any overlapping of sounds coming from different activities.

The pods are also designed in a way that it allows to effortlessly flow inside with the open space below. This improves the comfort level of the users.

Digital communication is vital in this design proposal. The pods are connected via the internet in order to be activated. It is accompanied by a specialized built-in user interface application.

Hex Pods User Interface


It is created in order to have a better system of communication between the pods and the potential users. It allows users to plan and schedule ahead their activities in these pods according to what type of activity, how long will this take, and how many people will use it. Through this digital communication, it highlights the intermittent, successive, and personal use of the space.


Hex Pods: Reprogramming Public Space is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
developed at Master in City & Technology in (2019/2020) by:
Students: Byron Cadena, Jianne Libunao
Faculty:  Willy Muller