Introductory Studio
Design for the Experience Age
Group 3 – The Metabolic Beach

Senior Faculty: Javier Peña
Faculty: Oriol Carrasco
Student Assistant: Nikol Kirova 


Metabolic Beach studio is about developing the skills, knowledge and comprehension of metabolic and ecological processes applied to a new understanding of the public spaces, and most importantly, the design of the spaces needed for the information age and the relationship between cities, beaches and coastal places.
We will be able to recognize those processes and transform them into new inputs and situations that will be used as design drivers for our advanced architectural proposals.

Topic of works
Barcelona beaches were at the beginning places for exchange of produce and passengers with the rest of the Mediterranean, places that could be converted into markets for selling fresh fish (productive spaces). The modern age has changed the status of productive spaces to just simply leisure spaces that cause more harm than good to the plane and its ecological balance. (waste producer spaces).

The actual beaches of Barcelona are artificial spaces, anthropic products of late capitalism designed to attract tourists and give tanning opportunities. Would it be possible to have another relationship with the beach beyond tanning and wandering around? Can we create a beach 2.0? Can this spaces have productive uses for the cities? How this water related spaces can deal with the rapid XXI century evolution of technology? The design outcomes of the studio will be new spaces, new relationships between buffer zones and cities and possible new technologies that could be hypothetically applied to all beaches of major cities of the world. Converting their shoreline from just leisure and empty areas to productive spaces.


Following established ‘Design With Nature’ research line methodologies, we will focus on design and fabrication of 1:1 prototypes that can show in a small scale the interactions between the metabolic agents of the proposals, cities (as built environment) and citizens (as space users).
We will start small and simple, manual and analogic and begin recognizing those interactions. By the end of the introductory studio, the prototypes will be artificial, mechanical and incorporate advanced sensing devices that will be able to interact with users and have clear outputs. Prototypes created will be tested in weekly basis at the studio or at the beach to be able to understand from them and continue with their evolution.
This year’s prototypes will have to deal with two main design factors: fabricate prototypes that can survive the beach environment and avoid the usage of single use plastics while dealing with recovery policies and beach remediation.

With a similar dynamic as previous years, students will acquire a set of instrumental skills related to digital design and prototype manufacturing, being able to work with tools of time management and spiral development. Also, and most importantly, students will get knowledge about the construction of microclimates and how to operate them in the small simulated scale, having always in mind the potential for actuating in our surroundings and working with territorial scales.