14 February 2022

'Inhabiting Gaudí': a La Salle-URL project that studies La Pedrera and its socio-physical environment

Gaudí's work serves to make an approach from architecture and engineering to human comfort and the buildings of the future

Within the framework of the sixth edition of the Barcelona International Youth Science Challenge (BIYSC), La Salle-URL coordinates the project 'Inhabiting Gaudí: an architecture approach to human confort and buildings of the future', which will use La Pedrera building as a case study to reflect on environmental psychology and the perception of the surroundings of buildings. Architecture and technology go hand in hand to analyze variables such as color, heat, light, ventilation and, above all, sound and how these affect the perception of a space, becoming environmental stimulus that lead to responses very determined behavioral and emotional, and even have a link to health.

Thanks to the case study of Casa Milà, one of the most universal buildings by the architect Antoni Gaudí, the researchers and professors at La Salle-URL will explain how all these exposed variables are of vital importance in the architecture and engineering of the future. The project is aimed at students interested in Architecture and Engineering, who will be able to learn about:

  • The relevance of the sociophysical environment in relation to the architectural narrative and personal perception.
  • The basic techniques used by Gaudí to build La Pedrera more than 100 years ago and the challenges it faced in terms of light, ventilation, sound and heat.
  • The concept of soundscape in a building like Casa Milà, to understand it in relation to language and the current environment.

The project is coordinated jointly by Rosa Maria Alsina, Director of Research at La Salle-URL, and Josep Ferrando, Director of the School of Building Engineering La Salle-URL (ETSALS), through La Salle R&D, the center of research that is made up of the six research groups of La Salle-URL. The project team is also made up of Ricardo Devesa, coordinator of the Master's Degree in Integrated Architecture Project (MIAD); Irma Arribas, professor at ETSALS; Marc Arnela, professor and researcher at the GTM of La Salle-URL; and Marc Freixes, also professor and researcher at the GTM of La Salle-URL.

Gaudí's genius also in the laboratories of the Campus of La Salle-URL

This transversal project will have a double aspect: architectural solutions will be studied at La Pedrera and issues related to sound engineering will be experimented in some of the spaces at La Salle-URL. Two of the Campus' acoustics laboratories, the Anechoic Chamber and the Reverberant Chamber, will help to understand the physical nature of sound in order to subsequently apply the techniques learned in the different spaces of Gaudí's building. Work will be done to understand the characteristics of sound, from its propagation to its impact on life, understanding how citizen science can help collect information in this regard.

'Inhabiting Gaudí' ​is one of this year's BIYSC programs, an experience that seeks to inspire and teach talented young people from all over the world with scientific and technological interests. This year around 100 students between the ages of 16 and 18 are expected to take part in the initiative, which will take place in the city of Barcelona between July 4 and 15. In addition to coordinating the 'Inhabiting Gaudí' project, La Salle-URL is one of the entities that supports the realization of this unique initiative, organized by Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera.