Thesis Studio – Metabolic Design & Architecture
Faculty: Mathilde Marengo & Gonzalo Delacámara

Credits: ArchiDaily



With buildings being responsible for 40% of energy consumption, 36% of CO2 emissions, and the building industry is one of the heaviest waste generators globally, it is indispensable for architecture to respond, moving away from the current prevailing models-both intensely resources-consuming and contaminating. This topic of Thesis Projects focuses on developing design strategies and solutions based on “non-linear” and circular systems aiming to close or limit material and resource loss, while minimizing waste, using this as a resource in itself. Students work on applications and implications of a circular economy for the creation of new urban and building metabolisms that are productive and regenerating.



Gonzalo Delacámara is a Spanish economist who works worldwide (in 80+ countries: the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia), specialized in the economic management of natural resources: water, climate, energy, air pollution, oceans, biological diversity and ecosystem services, etc., with emphasis on their complex links with economic and social development. He is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Department of Water Economics at IMDEA Water Institute (Institute for Advanced Studies in Madrid).

He is also the Academic Director of the Water Economics Forum, a public debate initiative with Nobel Prize Laureates in Economics and Peace, such as professors George A. Akerlof, Jean Tirole and Mohan Munasinghe. Gonzalo works for multilateral organizations such as the European Commission, to which he is ‘water policy advisor’ (through its DG Environment, Clean Water Unit), the European Parliament (which he also advises on climate change policy ), various agencies and programs of the United Nations system (UN Water, ECLAC, UNESCO, FAO, WHO-PAHO, UNDP, etc.), the World Bank Group (including its 2030 Water Resources Group initiative, but also the World Bank itself or the International Finance Corporation, IFC) or the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He is also a senior advisor and member of the OECD Water Governance Initiative.

Recently, he was also appointed as Ambassador of Water Europe (formerly Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform), member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Dutch KWR Institute on the integral water cycle, member of the Special Advisory Board of the International Desalination Association (IDA) and member of the Mission Assembly of the framework program of RTD and innovation of the European Union (Horizon Europe). He is also a mentor in international programs to support female researchers. He is also an author of numerous books and scientific peer reviewed articles, as well as keynote speaker at global events

Dr. Mathilde Marengo
Mathilde Marengo is an Australian – French – Italian Architect, with a PhD in Urbanism, whose research focuses on the Contemporary Urban Phenomenon, its integration with technology, and its implications on the future of our planet. Within today’s critical environmental, social and economic framework, she investigates the responsibility of designers in answering these challenges through circular and metabolic design.

She is Head of Studies, Faculty and PhD Supervisor at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia’s Advanced Architecture Group (AAG), an interdisciplinary research group investigating emerging technologies of information, interaction and manufacturing for the design and transformation of the cities, buildings and public spaces. Within this context, Mathilde researches, designs and experiments with innovative educational formats based on holistic, multi-disciplinary and multi-scalar design approaches, oriented towards materialisation, within the AAG agenda of redefining the paradigm of design education in the Information and Experience Age.

Her investigation is also actuated through her role in several National and EU funded research projects, among these Innochain, Knowledge Alliance for Advanced Urbanism, BUILD Solutions, Active Public Space, Creative Food Cycles, and more. Her work has been published internationally, as well as exhibited, among others: Venice Biennale, Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale, Beijing Design Week, MAXXI Rome.