Valencia, Spain, 2020
The Augmented Urban Forest is an installation that seeks to bring forward the debate around the interdependence between the city and the environment we inhabit, and the way we can redefine this relationship. To do so, the project focuses on three main issues about the contemporary debate on sustainability and climate change: how do we deal with the design of transition scenarios? the loss of biodiversity? the depletion of resources? These questions are addressed through the design of the pavilion and brought to the public space, potentially triggering an open dialogue with the citizens.
The Augmented Urban Forest pavilion aims to redefine the way the museum relates to the city, blurring the boundaries between them. The project aims to reactivate the IVAM plaza through an accessible and welcoming installation designed for meetings and debates, a space in the form of a grandstand or tribune that promotes dialogue, interaction and a diverse use of public space.
The IVAM pavilion takes advantage of its unique location within the local and regional ecosystems to become a crucial node within the larger biodiversity network of the area and bridge two different scales: the local scale as part of the natural corridor of the Turia Park and the Albufera Natural Park in Valencia and its position in the Mediterranean ecosystem at large, particularly vulnerable to the loss of biodiversity due to climate change. Considering both the contrast and complementarity of these two scales, the project aims to contribute to the renaturalization of the site by facilitating the survival and proliferation of the local fauna and flora in its direct natural environment.
Rather than being a final object at the end of a linear production process, the Augmented Urban Forest seeks to embody a circular life cycle whereby its construction phase, its useful life and its end of life form a closed cycle of energy, matter, and water.
Its construction minimizes the use of material resources, employs techniques of dry and dismountable construction, and favors local materials, recycled and/or recyclable, and which have an environmental certification: local hardwood for the structure, planters made from a composite of recycled polyethylene waste and rice hulls from the Valencian Albufera, local ceramic materials and recycled rubber floors.
The project incorporates both passive cooling systems such as shading, natural ventilation and adiabatic cooling, and active systems such as an installation that purifies air through filters and ventilation. The vegetation is the main mechanism of passive cooling, providing the space with shade and regulating the temperature and humidity. The external bottom of the planters made of ceramics also contributes to the hygrothermal regulation of the reception space under the structure, which is also equipped with a ventilation and air purification system.
The ticket booth, the only indoors space of the pavilion, has a nearly zero-energy consumption, being designed with passive strategies of thermal insulation and airtightness.
The pavilion has been designed as a platform that performs monitoring functions, but also aims to achieve public outreach and interaction between people, raise awareness and promote learning by making visible the interdependence between all parts of the ecosystem. Through a set of sensors incorporated within the pavilion, the project monitors a series of environmental parameters that are usually invisible, such as air quality, energy and water consumption and storage, temperature, humidity and capacity, as well as parameters related to the pavilion’s functioning such as its energy consumption and irrigation.
Through its stage-like quality, giving visibility to both people and the environment, the project aims to become a catalyst activating the collective imagination about future transition scenarios towards a more balanced coexistence between humans and nature.