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An Inflatable Building in Barcelona Provides A New Kind of Insulation
The city of Barcelona and Ruiz-Geli want 22@Barcelona to transform from an abandoned industrial hub into a center for technology and information. The Media-TIC building was designed to be at the forefront of this movement. Ruiz-Geli wants the new district to be “energy autonomous.” The new factories and offices there will make energy as they use them. The Media-TIC building utilizes an inflatable Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene (ETFE) skin that is regulated by a solar-powered automatic digital light sensor as the sun changes throughout the day. The “skin” is made up of different ETFE air chambers that are expanded or contracted as the light changes.
In the city where Gaudi’s architecture still reigns, the Media-TIC building’s inflatable “skin” was designed to fit in with his famous fluid designs. The interior is a place for people to think, meet, and create. The main floor is an open public space. This was made possible by a new steel structure design that allows weight to be transferred to the outer beams in the building leaving the inner structure almost completely free of structural elements. The ETFE skin allows light to filter through but shades persons inside from direct sunlight reducing the UV rays by 85%. The skin is also “anti-adherent” which means little need for cleaning the exterior. As one of the first steps for Barcelona in bringing new technology to the old Poblenou district, the Media-TIC building seems to be the perfect start.
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