Valldaura Lab, the futur of building anything is grown or designed naturally.

“The future of design is a future where anything material in the environment — whether it’s wearables, cars, buildings — can be designed with this variation of properties and relationship with the environment that can take part in the natural ecology, Hopefully it points towards a shift that goes beyond the age of assembly into the age of a new kind of organism.”

Neri Oxman

The study room of the lab

In this short piece I will feature my week deep exploration at Valldaura Labs, it is a project promoted by IaaC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) for the creation of a self-sufficient habitat research centre. Located in the Collserola Natural Park, in the heart of the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Valldaura has a group of laboratories researching into self-sufficiency that aims to be self-sufficient in the next few years. The group comprises three laboratories: Food Lab, Energy Lab and the Green FabLab which produce the three things we need to be self-sufficient: food, energy and many of the things essential to the good life, combining the age-old ancestral knowledge that connects us to nature with the latest advanced technology.

Bonus: The view on Montserrat montains was supposed to be Gaudi’s inspiration for his architectural creations

Outside labs

Spaces in the Collserola Natural Park
Students from IAAC shelther projects
Agricultural lands
Making wood structure shelter with a robotic arm
The view from last floor and the lab just bellow (with natural light during the day passing through the glass floor window)

The connected beehive

Open Beehives project
‘’volta catalana’’ (Catalunyan traditional shelther) in the green fab lab forest with silvia brandi (@silvia__brandi)


As part of the production cycle the ‘’Green FabLab’’ aka ‘’the digital fabrication lab’’ uses natural resources and is a partner in the international network of FabLabs led by MIT in Boston, and part of the Plan Avanza national network of laboratories in Spain.

The line of research is centered on the development of new materials from natural ingredients such as wood, earth or minerals for building, to make bricks, glass and resins using simple ancestral technologies and modern high-tech processes.

At Valldaura they carry out the complete cycle of matter transformation, from a sustainably managed tree in the forest which gives us wood that is dried, designed, and cut on machines running on renewable energy to produce furniture and structural elements.

Drone workshops at Valldaura lab…learn how to map the forest !!
Using Mycelium fungi to grow inside a paper structure to build almost anything
3d printed soft objetcs
Creating energy out of shadow, project from IAAC see bellow Energy class
Bio-photovoltaic panel working on bacteria
aking energy with mold (proof of concept done…on the right a tool made of aluminium can.

Photodiode array-based photo-spectrometer

The reason I had the chance to explore Valldaura lab was to debug a troubled photo spectrometer from Waag Society (Amsterdam biohacking academy), Understanding why the box wont close was my mission. I figured out that the problem came from a little piece of plastic that needed to be polished… that small detail made the box work afterward. Now (the fun part) it needs just a little bit of code and testing the light rays and they will soon have a functional DIY photo spectrometer :-)

that piece was the bug…

@ Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC)

Hands on imperative and the understanding of the materials

The green fablab is the actual extension of fablab barcelona at IAAC school.


Tomas Diez (@tomasdiez) one of the founders of the green fab lab and also teacher at IAAC

Micro mass Machine filtering the Urine / Passive system for purifying gray water with #microalgae
The team of engineer behind all the cool projects…

Marcos Cruz

bumping by chance on Marcos’s lecture about Bioreceptive Morphologies

Marcos is an architect. His research has focused for many years on the design and creation of innovative environments in architecture. He has also taught and worked on many projects that utilize living matter in buildings, most of all the utilization of bacteria and algae. As co-editor of he has investigated design that is driven by advances not only in computation, but also in bio-technology and synthetic biology, fields that are radically changing the future of architecture.

I had a chat with him and we talked about Gilles Clement’s vision of garden vs architecture and the ‘’motion garden’’ (jardin en mouvement) or how to assist nature and not to restrain it...just a matter of natural collaborative intelligence, It would be super interesting to have them both on a same project or environemental/technological discussion

New ways of teaching biology (from Barcelona to Boston and Amsterdam)

Lets go see what happened in Amsterdam about teaching on how to make your own laboratory equipment…back in 2015

If you want to see the opening of the biohack academy, fell free to scan my photos from last year event on my flickr, also if you happen to be in Amsterdam you should go to an open night science and check the lab from Pieter Van Bohemen and Lucas Evers.

But lets get back to the lab and see the futur of Education and a really cool MOOC ( Massive Open Online Courses ) call ‘’How to grow almost anything’’ (HTGAAT) Every teams where presenting their own bio projects (in terms of hardware, software or molecular technologies , as well as nano, synthetic, microfluidic projects etc…)

This is the team I choose to follow, The valldaura team is made of 1 biologist, one engineer and one architect/urbanist. The transdisciplinary mindset of the team came up with a prototype that mix biology and microfluidic chipset inbuild on a rotative hardware to better distribute droplets of liquids


Also in Valldaura they are preaparing a wetlab for 2016 and make biology on a higher level. Nuria the biologist will set it up as soon as they organise some room for the lab equipement from the biohack academy.

more news soon