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.

Accordingly, the program leverages mechanistic, industrial and factory uses (solar farms, wind turbines, greenhouses, tanning salons, wind tunnels, etc.)  which benefit from the severe environmental conditions manifested to produce resources (energy, capital, amenities, water, conditioned air, etc.) for and shelter more domestic uses (offices, housing, public space, etc.) thereby fostering novel, unexpected relationships between conventionally separated typologies. By bringing such a diversely representative bioposy of the entire city within the hybrid building, the admixture becomes truly urban in nature and is consequently self-supportive.

A new ‘domestic’ scale results from the discretization and rearrangement of habitational programs throughout the building.

A comprehensive study of potential programmatic components was conducted to identify opportunities for mutual benefit gained by proximity or the need for physical isolation based on schedule, required infrastructures, inputs + outputs and so on.

Diversely scaled programmatic candidates selected by the preceding study were arranged throughout the structure according to symbioses or the need to be quarantined, mimicking organic urbanisms.

‘Housing’ is reconsidered as habitating the entire building, which locates the discrete infrastructures necessary for domestic well-being according to programmatic relation rather than within traditionally isolated dwelling units.

Programs are also oriented to optimize their unique thermodynamic demands.


Section depicting programmatic relations.


‘Happenings’ section.


‘Evolutions’ section.



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: Alex Ollero