The city of Valencia has a huge tourist attraction called the City of Science and Arts; a stretch of 9 buildings designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, in place to signify different advancements in science, technology and art, using permanent and temporary exhibitions to interact with the public. Whilst exploring the city, I noticed they favoured the areas of physics and chemistry over biology, giving me the idea to extend this city in the biological sector.
When deciding how to approach this extension, I looked into education and research subjects in Valencia and found out two things; university research are stifled by red-tape bureaucracy due to a market crash in 2008, and the education system in Spain is constantly in despair, with students and staff constantly protesting as they don’t get treated right.
Using these 3 starting blocks, I decided to design a building which addressed all the factors, but needed a way to tie them all together. So I dived into the curriculum of Biology and decided on a subject which I could link to Valencia somehow. I decided on microbiology on a university level; the microbiology of the Pine Tree, to be exact. The Pine Tree is local tree to Valencia, and has many ecological factors due to the by-products you can make when you processing the tree. Essentially, the building will receive a set of 15-20 Pine Trees from a town, 23 minutes north from the site, where they get planted in a temporaray tree nursery adjacent to the building, with one tree entering the building to get researched and processed. The building will follow and industrial-esque architecture, using an array of machines to make up the structure, each machine producing a different by-product. Alongside this, there will be classrooms for university students to study microbiology, as well as labs for research, a public library to reinvest knowledge back into the public, and an open floor cafe, open to the public, which sells some of the by-products we produce. The seeds from the tree will also be sent back to the town we got the Pine Trees from, to be replanted, making the whole building carbon negative.
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