Smart buildings have been a topic of much discussion and debate over the last decade. Ideas ranging from sustainability to infusing AI into a building’s skeleton have been a new trend in the 21st century.

Media TIC is one such example, also identified as an Information and Technological Hub located at [email protected], an area in Barcelona that is part of the Superblock development. The program of Media TIC has been designed to have been awarded the LEED platinum rating. A program developed around users, technology and innovation, this building has embraced technology within itself.

Media TIC, Barcelona: A bold approach to Building Performance - Sheet1
View_©Flickr

Designed by Cloud 9, a Barcelona based architectural firm, whose vision for the building was to prove how architecture could create a balance with the digital use of energy.

Media TIC, Barcelona: A bold approach to Building Performance - Sheet2
View_©Flickr

Concept

Every era has attached symbolism to space. From Stonehenge to Hagia Sophia. Every space, open or closed, has driven social movements creating economic impact across cities. The power transition from cathedrals to factories in the Industrial Revolution is the most recent one. During the Information Age, architecture has adopted networking and technology within the structure through weightlessness as its property. Going against the previous concept of using heavy materials and gravity this switch in design has led to a shift in designing buildings and tools.

Media TIC, Barcelona: A bold approach to Building Performance - Sheet3
Facade_©i.pinimg
Media TIC, Barcelona: A bold approach to Building Performance - Sheet4
Concept evolution_©Iwan Baan

Media TIC has been modelled using CAD-CAM with a thorough consideration of digital construction and building tectonics.

About Media TIC

Chief Architect: Enric Ruiz Geli Cloud 9
Built-up area: 23,104 m2
Cost: $20,791,486
Floors: 8 floors

Media TIC, Barcelona: A bold approach to Building Performance - Sheet5
Skeleton_©structurea

Plan

The main structure is supported by steel structures that are rigidly braced, separated by 14m. This 8-storey structure, with 23,104 square metres of floor area, can house 2418 people. With two levels of parking, the ground floor comprises a gallery along with a U-shaped patio. Four floors are rented for ICT firms, the next 3 floors are for startups and there is a roof garden on the top.

Media TIC, Barcelona: A bold approach to Building Performance - Sheet6
Structure 2_©cargocollecrtive

The main concept of Media TIC is that connectivity is greater than the weight of the materials. This is exhibited through the building’s facade where ETFE (Ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene) is the smart material used. Places near the temperate zone spend more energy on keeping their buildings warm. Thus, ETFE is one membrane that helps retain warmth through its double membrane, which is vacuumed with nitrogen in it.

It is very different from glass and any other facade material. Its characteristics are as follows:

  1. It provides shade from the harsh sun, for a stretch of 200m
  2. Its Ultraviolet coefficient is 85%
  3. Density- 350g/m2
  4. Good elasticity 
  5. Can stretch and morph into any geometric form.

A total of 2500 square metres of ETFE cladding is used on the structure, saving 20% of energy. Media TIC is a modern tribute to Antoni Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona. Apart from using a modern and technologically advanced material to make the building perform effectively, spaces internally have been carefully planned with long-span structures, giving way for column-free spaces.

Structure 3_©Flickr

Performative Architecture

A term widely used since the early 1990s. First used by John Andrews to describe architecture as a backdrop to movements of the body. Recently the meaning of Performative Architecture is used to describe the fusion of construction and design processes. It revolves around sensorial and experiential elements within space. From the construction point of view, the use of modular systems that incorporate digital fabrication and computational design is replacing the age-old use of repetitive elements in the construction process.

The new [email protected] District which is located in the formal industrial area of Poblenounin San Martin’s district of Barcelona once held the Olympic games in ‘92. A direct implication of which allowed [email protected] to be better connected to the CBD, Airport and Port. 

The idea of Performance doesn’t restrict itself to architecture. The Arab Spring was an anti-government protest that spread across the Middle East in the early 2010s. Media TIC became that platform that helped the speakers to put across their political views without the fear of being arrested. While also being a platform for IT and communication, the building offered both an office and exhibition space for active dialogue to take place.

The definition of Performance might have multiple meanings directly reflecting upon various functions of the building. It also has a major impact on its users who delve into a heightened sensory experience that transports the mind into the possibilities of how architecture could transform into an intangible network of weightlessness.

The Media TIC stands as a milestone to what the construction industry can lead towards. A more sustainable, thoughtful and wasteless world to focus on the larger goal of a green world. Barcelona being one of the few well-designed cities bringing focus to building tectonics and design, Media TIC communicates the very essence of building for the people to share collective consciousness. 

References:

1.Media-TIC / Enric Ruiz Geli (2010) ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/49150/media-tic-enric-ruiz-geli.

2.The Media-TIC Building Designed by Enric Ruiz Geli, Cloud 9, Barcelona – Verdict Designbuild (no date) www.designbuild-network.com. Available at: https://www.designbuild-network.com/projects/media-tic/.

  1. Enric Ruiz-Geli | Projects: Built projects | Media-ICT (no date) www.ruiz-geli.com. Available at: https://www.ruiz-geli.com/projects/built/media-tic.

4.Media-Tic – Data, Photos & Plans (no date) WikiArquitectura. Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/media-tic/.

5.Architecture Performative Design | informance (no date). Available at: http://www.informance-design.com/?page_id=385 

6.Spurr, S. (2007) Performative architecture: design strategies for living bodies, unsworks.unsw.edu.au. Available at: http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:1469/SOURCE02?view=true

7.Media-Tic: How To Live In Life An Energy-Saving Way (no date) IAAC Blog. Available at: https://www.iaacblog.com/programs/media-tic/ 

Author

An architect and innovator, Tanisha sees Architecture not as a single entity, rather as a confluence of people, in their time and its lasting imprint left for future explorers to further delve into. In her words, 'Expression is an act of acceptance, either to thyself or the world.

Write A Comment