The Radicant Machine: a thermodynamic architecture proposed for Barcelona’s historically industrial Sant Adrià de Besòs neighborhood. Designed to subvert the conventional practice of mitigating environmental variations with respect to time and orientation, the structure instead intentionally augments naturally occurring climatic disparities, thus generating extreme differentials in temperature, humidity and air pressure. By harnessing the full force of the coastal mediterranean sun and wind as potential energy, circulatory flows are passively powered which condition and ventilate the interior volume.

Keeping in line with these mechanical concepts, the structural systems are conceived as a dynamic equilibrium in which various programmatic volumes can be spatially rearranged to foster complex functional relationships. Additionally, the suspension of discrete ‘pods’ within an atrium achieves energy efficiency by enabling zoned conditioning while permitting heated or cooled fluids to pass freely throughout the continuous surrounding voids. Relatedly, the positions can shift with respect to climatic differentials.


Initial exploration of dynamic equilibrium inspired by Alexander Calder.


Conceptual model depicting a hydrologically powered ‘see-saw’.


Study model of a re-configurable bridge proposed to link dynamic program volumes.


Progress model of synthesized dynamic structures.


Final model of structural mechanism.


For the sake of recyclability upon potential future decommissioning, as well as to serve the ethic of legibility, the final structural system is made up of three distinct primary features: a massive wall of concrete (comprising stacked blocks rather than monolithic pours so as to create permeability and improve ease of construction/deconstruction); cross-laminated timber volumes (extremely lightweight and built from primarily renewable resources); and tensile steel cables suspending said volumes.

These solutions are combined to support two opposed helixes of programmatic volumes, which can be independently rotated, raised and lowered, resulting in a multiplied product of possible mixtures.



Primary rotational mechanism.


Suspended program volumes.


The Radicant Machine is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at the Master of Advanced Ecological Buildings in 2018 by:
Students: Nour El Kamali, Pablo Corrotto Pradillo & Michael Salka
Faculty: Guillermo Sevillano & Elena Orte