The Media-TIC Building and its Supergreen Design

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It’s green everything. Its design, building materials, and even paint color.

And it’s almost a net-zero building, meaning it relies on itself for its heating, cooling, and electricity needs.

I finally got to visit the Media-TIC building during the 48h Open House Barcelona event. Its strange / modern / beehive  / cubic design caught my attention while driving by one day.

Builit in 2009, Media-TIC is a meeting point for businesses and institutions in the Information and Communication Technology sector. And its location is fittingly in the 22@ district, the digital technology hub, or the innovation district of Barcelona.

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The netlike surface of the facade symbolizes links and connectivity and the structure of information design.

And every facade is different. The sun-facing side is a network of triangles with several layers. The top layer is made of….PLASTIC!

But wait, this plastic material is called EFTE (ethylene tetrafluroethylene), which is an energy-saving “skin”.  They are “pillows” that inflate or deflate, depending on the weather.

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district. Each of the “pillows” have their own sensors and are controlled separately. They measure the temperature, heat, and the sun’s angle to control the climate of the building’s interior.

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district.

EFTE is extremely strong and transparent. It both shades (during hot weather) and insulates during cold weather. And it has a sun-filtering factor of .20. It’s also anti-adherent, so cleaning isn’t really necessary. Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district.

The sensors work in real-time with air chambers to make it inflate or deflate.

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district.

The Media-TIC building was built from the top down instead of bottom up like almost all buildings. 80% is suspended from the framework at the top. That means no pillars are needed to support it.

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district.

The ubiquitous fluorescent green color is repeated throughout the building. Even at night, it’s a glowing green cube because of the paint that “charges” during the day.

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district.

Media-TIC has also been called “the digital Pedrera”, drawing parallels from Gaudí’s La Pedrera, a structure imitating nature. Architect Enric Ruiz-Gelí says that he wanted to use the productive qualities of nature to create a sustainable building.

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district. How’s that for green architecture?

Media-TIC building in 22@, Barcelona’s innovation district.

Have you seen this building? Do you think it’s beautiful?


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About the Author Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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3 comments
Laura @Travelocafe says November 10, 2015

I have never been into a net-zero building. It looks very futuristic. I hope to get to Barcelona this Christmas, as part of a new Xmas market trip through Europe. So Thanks for the tip. I will have to keep this building in mind, even if it is just for an outside shot.

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Rafael says November 11, 2015

No conozco el edificio. Leyendo el post parece un edificio muy interesante.

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Un bureau qui vous veut du bien… | Revue Gestion HEC Montréal says August 8, 2017

[…] titre d’exemple, Barcelone a inauguré il y a une dizaine d’années le Media– TIC, projet phare de l’architecte Enric Ruiz Geli. L’immeuble est doté d’une architecture […]

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