*- Underwater render of “MEMBRAINE” system installed.

Metabolic Beach is an investigation into the current state of Platja del Bogatell, followed by systemic inquiries lead us to developing a multiscalar self-sufficient solution for local problems. Each of ten beaches in Barcelona is the result of redeveloping the city for the Olympic Games earlier. Over time, the city encountered huge expenses annually for replacing eroded soil, and this process continues today. Weather in Barcelona is usually great during summer and hence very populated at the beach, colder over winters – quite deserted then.

*- Platja del Bogatell in summer.

Contrasting as it was for an observation, we delved deeper into the subject. We spontaneously came up with having a barrier that we now call “MEMBRAINE” – a system that can grow organically in length, shape and size depending on the context and work as a self-sufficient smart barrier. We were inspired by the structure and geometry of fish scales and conceptualised the working structure of our membraine. Integrating that into the composition of the masterplan developed as our proposal.

*- Masterplan of Bogatell beach

*- Bogatell beach section

Our early versions of the “MEMBRAINE” prototype were stepping stones into developing this final version. Learnings from each version were instrumental in developing our most advanced stage of prototyping and testing in the stipulated frame of time. Materials, joineries, connections and being able to simulate models through a series of excercises from computational design, digital fabrication with various tools, physical computing and programming skills within the team.

*- Different prototypes versions

*- Photograph of the “MEMBRAINE” prototype

*- Closeup on detailing and joints of the prototype.

*- Exploded axonometry of “MEMBRAINE”  prototype.

During the project development several typologies of panels were designed and tested, in order to arrive at the most compliant configuration.

*- Comparison of different panel typologies

The final panel option is designed to combine rigidity and protection against harsh waves, flexibility to produce piezo-electricity. These qualities are acheived by a combination of different layers of polypropylene, silicon and acrilyc. Piezo elements are located in the most bendable part of the panel, to increase voltage production.

*- Single panel exploded diagram

“MEMBRAINE” working prototype demonstrates how we can use energy of waves to regulate the water temperature, so the usage of Bogatell beach extends to colder seasons of the year. Research and analysis from early prototypes ascertained our usage of piezo electric elements embedded within the panels of membraine. We took advantage of being able to harness from bending motion connected with capacitors and diodes to regulate passage of electricity for heating and lighting of pools / lagoons which form the very basis of our Metabolic Diagram.

*- Diagram of metabolic cycle

Outcomes in view of human interaction and a sense of place to local citizens add great urban value. Inherently reducing soil erosion, harnessing infinite tidal energy by embedding electric elements which absorb mechanical force and transform into electricity. This energy is in turn used to heat and light pools / lagoons. This is beneficial to health and well being of users. With aquatic plants growing over time, we expect to see a great deal of marine life that would eventually be drawn into calmer, safer shores. Hence being able to justify that we can indeed meatbolise a beach – here at Platja del Bogatell.

*- Conceptual render of winter pools


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