What does an Energy self sufficient neighborhood mean?

Energy comes in many forms, namely food water fuel and pure energy like electricity. Energy is a domain that is centrally controlled and located at places far away from consumption. But with the advent of renewable technologies that allows energy generation at individual levels, the possibility of making neighborhoods and in turn whole cities and districts self-sufficient is possible.

Barcelona has a population of 1.6m inhabitants and consumes a net total energy of 15.9GWh. To design better solutions for a self sufficient city the focus area taken is the Poblenou which forms part of the old municipality of the Sant Marti De Provencals which consumes 89,041MWh.In order to understand the neighborhood better, it was divided into sections based on different parameters like Age of buildings, Basements and availability of Open spaces.

The strategy at neighborhood scale was to bring together the disconnected open spaces into a system that would allow us to humanize 10 percent of the streets and make them solely for pedestrians addition to increasing the living quality with this strategy it would possible to implement technologies like piezoelectric along these routes that would generate energy from the movement of the people.

Also, diving the block into production, storage and consumption blocks helped to decentralize the system much easier.

Focusing on the selected individual block, the design was carried out in three levels; mainly on the façade, roof and typology of spaces.The roof consists of dynamic looking solar panel which can move in accordance to the movement of the sun to attain maximum capacity.The facade also consists of dynamic elements that is capable of transforming according to the needs of the users.Different technologies were implemented in different typologies based on their functions so that the system can function at maximum efficiency.


Further, the central space of the selected block was also designed with a structure that would cater to the most growing need of Barcelona; housing, as well other social needs and public spaces. The new structure is intended to be a reflection of everything we have used in the system.


Now comes the most important question, how would the energy be shared?

Based on ownerships of different kind, a system called the microgrid would be implemented to allow a democratic system of energy sharing.

The impact

The impact of implementing such an intricate system would be far-reaching in terms of its consequences. On calculating the numbers, the concept of production blocks is actually feasible and would be the next step towards democratizing clean energy as well as in improving the quality of life as a whole.


REINVOGRATING POBLENOU is a project of INTERNET OF CITIES – SELF-SUFFICIENT ENERGY DISTRICT of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in City and Technology in (2018/2019) by:

STUDENTS: Haining Zhou, Raeshma Janardhanan Nair
FACULTY: Vicente Guallart, Mathilde Marengo
ASSISTANT FACULTY: Honorata Grzesikowska