We are framed in the year 2045 in the city of Barcelona, in Can Ricart’s old-factory complex, a context of a not too far future which will be the starting point to condition the proposal of a future space of production.

Looking into the future scenario related to the production activity, this will be restricted by the hypothesis based on the scarcity of resources and the increase of pollution and global warming. It will lead to an environmental condition of extreme climate where vital tasks will be hard and also working conditions. Then, an optimal environment in the space will be recquired. In addition, the scenario foresees an overpopulation due to its overgrowth for the next few years. Therefore, there will be a lack of space for people to develop their production activity.

The proposal consists oncreating an ideal production space that guarantees a comfort atmosphere for users and a space that can host a wide range of production activities, from an industrial and serial to an artisanal production. The combination of both lead to a nourished sequence of spaces answering their environmental requirements (such as temperature, natural lighting, humidity and acoustics, among others).

Given the growing limitation of resources and the emerging demand for new spaces for the population, it is considered offering a different use of the space which could be holding a cultural production activity when others are not realizing.

Therefore, there is an adaptation of the space to a different collective and activity. It will appear the need to seek a constant temperature, a material inertia that attenuates the variability of both cold and hot extremes. The underground architecture, where the temperature is constant enough given by the inertia of the soil, will give us this required conditions.

The second point is to deal with the scarcity of natural resources. This competes with the previous one, since making underground spaces requires an excavation of soil (zero material cost) which, at first, becomes undesirable waste. It is thought to take advantage of it and convert the waste to a resource material for the construction. The architecture will be built with compressed earthen walls, which will have a high strength and inertia to help mitigate the thermal effect inside the building.

It should also deal with the moisture underground. This is why optimal thermodynamic design will be necessary; not only to cool the environment in hot weather, but also to manage the humidity. Terraced spaces arise as soon as a space is sought to bring the opportunity to combine different producers and types of production at the same time, giving conditions of privacy between workers and lighting in their activities, as well as preventing the sound from reverberations, an usual fact in a working building.

To enhance the compatibility of production activities, the project proposes buried spaces covered with barrel vaults, both below the terraces and in the sides of the main collective space (where the terraced spaced are), with natural lighting conditions through a combination of skylights and buried courtyards that allow those productive activities to be used ‘on a small scale’, with less people, for artisans or intellectuals. As these are buried rooms, they are perfectly isolated.

Stepping on the ground also plays a big role in the search for a building that does not have a specific use, where all kinds of exhibitions and shows can be held; the future is uncertain, but what we do know is that there is a need for culture to stay alive.


architects: Pau Quingles, Gemma Ramon  |  client: ETSA Valles  |  status: Academic Project (2020)  |  location: Barcelona, Spain (41.408332, 2.198648)  |  climate: Temperate, Mediterranean  |  material: ceramic  |  environments: Urban, Industrial  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 2.132 m2 medium  |  types: cultural, mixed use  |  views: 532