A life cycle assessment is a tool used to quantify environmental impacts over the lifetime of a product or system, from initial extraction of raw materials through manufacture, distribution, use, and final disposal. This tool has emerged as an effective way to measure embodied carbon and other environmental impacts associated with buildings at a holistic level.

The photo essay muses on the use of images to depict the information typically contained in a Life Cycle Assessment. The images are divided accordingly to the life cycle stages per the ISO 14040 and 14044; analyzing three of the most common building materials/systems: concrete, steel, and mass timber.

This study reflects on the relationship between architecture, resources, and energy; inspired by Organschi reference to Scheer in the essay Timber City: Architectural Speculations in a Black Market “… I call this the physical conception of economics: all economic activity consists in essence of converting materials in their raw state into finished products using converted energy; this includes the energy for communication, consumption, transport and distribution. In essence the economic process is first and foremost a process of converting resources”.


LCA: a photo essay is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at MMTD in 2021/2022 by student Julio Ramirez. Faculty: Daniel Ibanez CourseNarratives