LABAU (Bioclimatic Architecture and Urban Agriculture Laboratory) – Project of the Week 11/6/17

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In collaboration with various research departments at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, (known as UPM or Technical University of Madrid), the Laboratory of Bioclimatic and Urban Architecture, or LABAU, was recently inaugurated after refurbishing the Maintenance Building of the School of Agronomy Engineering. With architecture by Joaquin Sicilia of Sicilia & Asociados Arquitectura, (also the Team Director), and Dr. Isabel de Felipe of PRONATUR as Research Team Coordinator, the aim of the project has been to create a meeting point within the university campus, and a hands-on space dedicated to bioclimatic and urban agriculture research. Housed within, researchers and students from the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre, can easily manipulate their innovative greenwall structure as necessary, adding different modules and bioclimatic systems for data collection and analysis of the green facade.

Primary research focuses on the analysis of air contamination programs, heat sources for experimental crops, wastewater recycling, rainwater use, photovoltaic panels, recycling organic products, and the incorporation of biodiversity research. Developed based on a modular steel sub-structure attached to the building, these elements set up the base framework for the cover-facade, made of stylishly perforated galvanized steel plates of different shapes, dimensions, and colors. Currently, three types of modular greenwall systems are used, planted with a variety of perennials, herbs, and vegetables. As such, the building envelope is, in itself, a laboratory, conceived as an active system open to multiple configurations and adaptations for the advances that technology related to green infrastructure may offer. The LABAU has become an icon for technological innovation through nature, and the new revitalized vegetated facade has also become a popular public gathering space inside the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid campus.

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Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 11/06/17 video photo credits: Courtesy of Joaquín Sicilia, Sicilia & Asociados Arquitectura and itdUPM.

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