Population Growing

Urban population continues to grow rapidly. By 2030, 68% of the world’s population is estimated to be living in cities. Traditionally, urban growth has been either vertical or horizontal. However, this type of growth is not realistic in Barcelona given its built environment and natural boundaries surrounding the city. This brings us to a further question:

Housing in Barcelona

Risk Factors


Among all those risk factors of Barcelona city. We took the example of housing in Barcelona as access to housing was the most pressing issue in Barcelona in 2018 over tourism and political aspects.

The graph(Trend) on left compares the price of rent and disposable household income between 2000 and 2017. There was a drop in both figures during the Spanish financial crisis, but they are rapidly increasing in the last several years.

The graph(Ratio) on left shows In 2017, the average rent comprised 36% of the average disposable household income in Barcelona, which is 6% more than the recommended ratio. Housing price is an issue that affects everyone in Barcelona, but disproportionately more so for the low-income population.

Special Housing Needs

In Barcelona, there were 4.5% of the population facing housing problems with their special needs. This project aims to tackle those people who were facing the most serious housing problem.

Urban Analysis of Sant Marti

Scaling down to Sant Marti, first of all, we established that there are 113.675 residential units in the district. This number we took as a starting point that needs to be increased through our proposal.

Reprogramming the Functions

From the space occupancy analysis, we learned that housing occupies more than 50% of the total built-up surface of the district, however, a large part of space is occupied by commercial and industrial buildings and offices. Which indicated there were a lot of spaces in different functions that has its potential to be turned to housing spaces.

Take a look into patterns of space utilization for each of these programs, which led to the conclusion that the utilization of office space is completely opposite to the housing program. Also, this conclusion shows us a possibility to optimize these two functions into the same physical space.
Based on the conducted research, the main concept of this project was to use existing, built-up space of offices in the Sant Marti district and reprogram that space by implementing housing in the time that office space is not utilized.

Office Space Analysis

There were different types of office layout in history. Those layouts analysis shows us the developments of office space. From those research on the historical layout, it is easy to see the trend of how the office space changed during time. If we take a glimpse of the future, office in the future is going to be more mixed and flexible. A lot of office in Sant Marti now were using mixed office plan. Which enhance the possibility for space tolerates more function inside.

Design Proposal

Design Strategy

The design strategy of this project is based on the original office plan. Firstly, empty the whole working zone of the office. And then, implement the design inside the office to make a new typology of space. Finding the common elements in two functions can also guide the direction of the design.

Unit Design


To be able to achieve our design proposal, ‘Inflatable Technology’ could be a good solution. Using the soft material to reach the flexibility purpose. As for the furniture inside the office, ‘Smart Furniture’ could be a way to solve the problem. So the furniture could achieve mobility inside the office and optimize the usage of space.




Housing Unit Created

According to the design proposal, we were able to fit 17 housing units into one office space of 332 m². Based on this ratio, comes further assumptions about the impact on the district scale.

Impact on Sant Marti

Transforming every office in the Sant Marti district according to our proposal, we can achieve an increase in housing units up to 168.583. Which means additional 54.908 of temporary housing opportunities every night.

Networked Building

The system of networked buildings that can match a single office space with a potential user will help to optimize the use of space depending on the demand, the location of users, check-in and check-out time and the number of nights to stay.
For this system to work, the following technologies had to be used:
1. sensors monitoring the occupancy status of space
2. a database of offices in Sant Marti district
3. a mobile app which will guide users to the accommodation selected for them.
An adequate number of offices in the Sant Marti district can be activated and transformed into housing units during night time according to the demand and user’s preferences.

MI OFICINA ES TU CASA is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
developed at Master in City & Technology in (2018/2019) by:
Students: Luna Nagatomo, Haining Zhou, Jaroslaw Kowalski
Senior Faculty: Areti Markopoulou
Faculty Assistant: Alex Mademochoritis