Global Warming Scenarios


The Architecture of Particles on the Mediterranean Sea
Enric Ruiz Geli, Pablo Ros and Felix Fassbinder

  1. 1. Architecture of Particles
    Diploma 18 is aligned with the research on Green Agendas developed by Cloud 9, evolving this year from membranes to the ‘Architecture of Particles’. This thesis, presented at the 13th Venice Biennale in 2012, interprets reality on the molecular level. It provides design strategies for both the tectonic/material and the climatic incorporeal, including light, temperature, humidity, wind or carbon dioxide.
  2. 2. Global Warming Pilot Projects
    Continuing our exploration of global warming we will focus on the Mediterranean and follow UN Habitat protocols.
  3. 3. Scenario on the Mediterranean Sea
    The territory of Croatia includes 1,246 islands. Investigations of tourism and gastronomy as well as analyses of new fishing technologies or sea mobility systems will play a part in our design of net-zero islands and off-grid homes for this scenario.
  4. 4. Field Trip to Costa Brava
    We start with a visit to the Costa Brava, where we will explore the Medes Islands, an important marine flora and fauna reserve, through kayaking and snorkelling, sailing in Dalí’s Cadaqués village and visiting the elBulliFoundation with the aim of learning how social and political initiatives have stimulated recovery in this environment.
  5. 5. Particle Workshops and Science
    Throughout a series of workshops the unit will engage with generative design methodologies using coding language to develop stable environments and ecologies. We will then collaborate with AZTI-TECNALIA Technology Centres and extract data from the landscape using 3D scanning machines.
  6. 6. Architect as Activist
    Diploma 18 encourages students to take a position on the role of the architect in the context of global warming and leads them to an environmental consciousness and activism.

The Energy Attack Team moves towards Empathy.

  • Ardi Rexhepi
    The Schizophonic Retreats
    Explorations into the materiality of sound as a medium to connect people to their natural environment.
  • Houssam Flayhan
    An empathic manifestation on the urban fabric of Kuwait, propagated on instagram to encourage and help modify our vision of reality.
  • Ioana Giurgiu
    The proposal tests the hypothesis of using light as a material by assessing the potential large scale impact of a natural light emitting micro-organism.
    The issue of illegal fishing in the Galapagos Natural Marine Reserve is tackled by means of introducing bioluminescent tourism in the reserve.
    Using minimal infrastructure and physical elements, the simulation reveals the potential of using light as a responsive material that mediates interaction among different types of users as well as the interaction with nature.
    AA HONOURS 2014
  • Kitae Kang
    Regulating the conflictive relationship between endemic and invasive species in the complex environment of the archipelago
  • Sanket Ghatalia
    A shifting landscape of electromagnetic waves, facilitating ecological rehabilitation.
    Degrowth a political movement, slowly gaining momentum is facilitated by rehabilitating a precarious ecology. Identifying cell phone radiations as damaging to one of the most crucial pollinators of the environment results in instigating zones void of cell phones reception. The architectural language manifests itself from the limitations imposed by the antenna and the architecture innovates a new live material consisting of randomly moving particles, within these no network zones. Creating a blanket above the city combating growth as the only way of evolving a society.
  • Sarvenaz Yassari
    The mechanical forces are introduced by electric motors. The turning belt generates static electricity through friction. The metallic units act as capacitors, storing the electrostatic forces abundant in our daily encounters.
    An invisible boundary is created between the apparatus and the ephemeral bubbles. Their fragility renders any interaction destructive.
    A multitude of electrons working collectively results in the control of these fragile structures.
    The Apparatus becomes a physical manifestation of the interacting forces....

Unit Staff

Enric Ruiz Geli is the founder of Cloud 9 office, based in Barcelona. He received the Best Building of the World Award at WAF 2011 for the Media-ICT. He belongs to the Scientific Committee of Tecnalia and is one of the members of the HP Experts Committee. He is working with Jeremy Rifkin on GGG, Global Green Growth, and he is the architect of projects such as Villa Nurbs, Media-ICT Building and elBulliFoundation. After participating in the On-Site exhibition, part of his work is in the collection of MoMA NY.

Pablo Ros graduated from the ETSAB and received his MS in Advanced Architectural Design and Architectural Research from Columbia University. He has taught at Columbia, Barnard College and IAAC. He directed FOA in Spain and was Head of Studio at Cloud 9.

Felix Fassbinder graduated in 2005 from the TU Berlin where he has also been teaching in the undergraduate unit of Dietrich Fink. He has worked for Herzog & de Meuron and for OMA. He is currently Head of Studio at Cloud 9.

Energy Attack Team: Architecture and the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’
Enric Ruiz Geli, Edouard Cabay, Pablo Ros

After two years of focusing on the exploration of global warming related to problematic scenarios, Diploma 18 took this year to dive into the exceptional ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. This environment, where nature dominates, served our unit as a live laboratory for studying an apparently virgin system. To work in this context, the unit explored the lightest buildings to date, gaining knowledge of membrane materials and inflatable structures, which allowed us to delve into science and fiction. This extended our long-term relationship with artist Pep Bou, who exposed us to the world of bubbles, form, ephemerality and ambient conditions of humidity or light while examining the phenomenon of physics. We also studied computational dynamics that mimic and simulate animal behaviours of local species in the lead up to our visit to the Galapagos. The expedition to the archipelago was an occasion for us to understand a context that lives according to the rhythms of nature, but is thoroughly organised as an ecosystem in which man is irremediably implicated through political dynamics, social actions, scientific research and environmental threats.

The projects that unfold from this confront the Galapagos and other regions of the world. They propose empathic solutions from infrastructural to molecular scale, and they attempt to raise a green consciousness in architecture.

  • Protocol Island – learning from animal species and their self-sufficient character
  • Light Trails – an exploration of coastal maritime environments that target illegal fishing
  • @ekwti – an empathic attack on the urban fabric of Kuwait propagated on Instagram the Schizophonic Retreats – explorations into the materiality of sound
  • Scavenging Celebration – a shift in organisation of communities of the River Citarum Cloud Inhabitant – acoustic condensation system in Peru
  • Galapagoisation – artificial aerial river for the Galapagos Islands
  • Degrowth Industry – shifting electromagnetism, facilitating ecological rehabilitation
  • Educating in Nature – a new pedagogical model that instrumentalises nature

Unit Staff

Enric Ruiz Geli
Edouard Cabay
Pablo Ros

Workshops with

Pep Bou
Mara Sylvester
Thomas Koetz

Guest Critics

Nuria Alvarez Lombardero
Alisa Andrasek
Peter Karl Becher
Eric de Broche
des Combes
Francisco Gonzalez de Canales
Javier Castañón
Ray Hall
Ali Mangera
Nacho Martí
Jesús de la Quintana
Areti Markopoulou
Adrian Priest
Theodore Spyropoulos
Brett Steele
Marco Vanucci
Ada Yvars

DIPLOMA UNIT 18: membranes
Enric Ruiz Geli, Edouard Cabay, Juliane Wolf

In a world where architecture is the main contributor to global warming, responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions, Diploma 18 continues its agenda following the five ‘pillars’ of Jeremy Rifkin’s Third Industrial Revolution and expanding the role of the architect into that of an activist. Through a series of events, projects, meetings and excursions Diploma 18 sought to increase awareness and gain knowledge while working across various scales, from molecular to infrastructural, attempting to raise a green consciousness in architecture. These endeavours included: a retrofitting project of the AA buildings using the facades to project animations that envisioned a Third Industrial Revolution building; a collaboration with artist Pep Bou, using soap bubbles to engage with membranes at a particle scale; and a trip that took us along the River Ganges where we analysed various UN-listed Global Warming Scenarios that we were able to discuss during meetings with the Indian Ministry of Earth Science, the United Nations Development Programme and UNICEF. Collectively, these experiences led to the following design thesis proposals: – Ganga Jal / Ganda Jal – Distributed iron fertilisation cleaning the polluted waters of spiritual India – A New Civilisation for Global Warming Refugees, a proposal for those displaced by the sinking Ganges delta – Democratic Energy Devices – self-generated electricity as ‘power to the people’ to fight against child poverty – T.e.r.r.a. – Bionic energy crops transforming rural landscapes into self-sufficient environments – Air Wells – Water harvesting using spider silk to supplement the seasonal River Ganges – Strategic Integration of Hydrogel with Land and Ecosystem Management – Rebuilding forests and biodiversity using the water availabile from the monsoon – Living Lab – Testing thermo-electric UV-protective technologies to prevent the disappearance of glaciers – A Methane Land Art Installation – Flames in the landscape of melting permafrost – Anthropology of Live Slaughter – a speculation on beef production exposing the meat industry

  • Zachary Fluker
    t. E. r. r. a. Transforming Rural Agricultural Practice Through Biochemical Energy Harvesting
    The project is an attempt to use a bottom up framework to tackle the ever-growing global warming scenario, through understanding the natural and cultural environment of the Ganges, the proposal is to use the CO2 absorbing algae to help clean up the holy Ganges.
  • Amir Yousefi
    As an individual who loves meat, I have understood that the beef industry is responsible of global warming, but the simplest fact is that our beef addiction is the real culprit. Retrofitting the city of London with the entire beef industry to present a speculative future of the beef industry and how beef production can define the morphology of a building to expose transparency and consciousness towards beef consumption and the problems with beef production.
  • Iker Flores
    Strategic Integration of Hydrogel with Land and Ecosystem Management to Combat Land Degradation and Deforestation: The research attempts to investigate and understand the properties, behaviour and performance of different super absorbent polymers [Hydrogels]; in order to develop a strategic implementation and deployment of these polymers through the articulation of material systems and logics that respond to local climatic conditions; temporarily stabilising the disrupted Hydro-geological conditions. Therefore, becoming a catalyst for the re-activation of the hydro-biological cycles, which are the foundations for the subsistence of the local settlements. This research tries to take advantage of the properties of Hydrogels to increase the soil moisture, water percolation, prevention of evaporation, reduction of nutrients loss and its translocation deep into the soil
  • Leila Meroue
    From a natural phenomenom of global warming to a physical and spiritual experience. The effect of global warming increasing temperatures causes the melting of permafrost releasing methane in the atmosphere which is 24 times more toxic than CO2. In Alaska, permafrost can reach 150 meters of thickness under the active layer. To prevent the release of methane from permafrost in the atmosphere, the project suggests to provoke the thawing of permafrost to controle the release of methane, capture it and use it on site. The project will be treating methane locally in Denali Park through CH4 structures burning methane as soon as it is released and producing a pink flame. The multiplication of these CH4 structures around the flames creates a serie of pink flames in the landscape demonstrating the amount of methane coming out of the soil underneath our feet. Indeed, the flame is constantly burning and will stop when the zone is free from methane. Therefore, the structures are moved to another zone to treat, leaving a deformation of the landscape caused by the ground collapsing when methane is released. Beside, methane produces electricity and charges batteries that will enlight small light devices when the structures are moved. Lighting devices in the landscape become the witness of methane treatment. The flame creates an “air field”, a virtual architectural space in between the flames driven by a temperature landscape. CH4 structures vaporize water through micro-nozzles generating a micro-climat humid and hot. When the density of the structures increase, the atmosphere around the flames is similar to a steam room. The installation becomes a living experience of global warming.

Supported by Nora Graw Konrad Hofmann Workshops with Pep Bou Mara Sylvester Nicola Combe (Buro Happold) Mark Dawson (Buro Happold) Alasdair Young (Buro Happold) Ben Morris (Vector Foiltec) Thanks to Jeremy Rifkin (The Foundation of Economic Trends) Thomas Koetz (EU) Joan Fericgla (BAF) Victor Llanos (Cloud 9) Marga Ruiz (Cloud 9) Marta Arranz (Cloud 9) Mila Moskalenko (Cloud 9) Mireia Pallarés (Cloud 9) Victor Molina Alegre (Cloud 9) Action Plan in India Gregor Von Medeazza (Unicef) Aidan Cronin (Unicef) SN Srinavas (UNDP) Murali Kallur (RarePlanet) Faiyaz A Kushdsar Guest Critics Alisa Andrasek Javier Castañón Mike Cook Xavier de Kestelier Catherine Greig Ben Morris Marco Poletto Nazaneen Shafaie Thedore Spyropoulos Brett Steele Charles Walker Alasdair Young

Enric Ruiz Geli, Edouard Cabay, Nora Graw

Diploma 18 embraces the realities of an era referred to by American economist Jeremy Rifkin as the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’, and one defined by new forms of transportation, construction and energy. Over the year we have actively engaged architecture within the reality of its environmental condition, and have followed the macro trend of GGG (Global Green Growth), with a particular empathy towards science, human and nature.

  • Agnes Mun Khwan Yit
    Re-edge the ice
  • Alina Beissenova
    The Walker
  • Danecia Sibingo
    Swarm Ice Attack
  • Joo Hyun Cho
    Green Growth Architecture
  • Kasang Kajang
  • Sung Kwon Jung
    Hydro Bank

Each of the thesis projects produced this year are defined by the exploration of energy technologies that engage with a series of current conflicts produced by global warming and that trigger speculative scenarios based on the following queries:

  • _How do we confront the death of richness of species in the Mediterranean?
  • _Can we contain a hurricane crossing the Caribbean?
  • _How do we reconnect the natural environment and rivers back to the city of Taipei?
  • _Can we reactivate the oasis of Bahrain and fill the aquifer beds?
  • _How do we prevent the Antarctic ice habitat from melting?
  • _Can we capture the methane emitted by the Mongolian landscape?

We understand the proposals as architecture of particles as a result of its local environmental and cultural influences. Theses position themselves between science and fiction, and create visionary scenarios that attempt to provoke a consciousness by a debate on the scale of intervention in relation to the scale of physical and social phenomenas reaching up to the size of countries, continents and oceans, while contemplating not just the immediate present but projecting forward through decades into a distant future.

Our solutions develop large-scale interventions as performative membrane structures that not only imply minimizing mass, material and energy but also emit an ephemeral quality through their adaptability.

Thesises are developed as distributed strategies that adress the system logics, its driving energies, benefit and instant action of the proposal communicating an educational sensibility. The ongoing mission of Diploma 18 is to operate as a green architectural laboratory, with students acting as its activists.


Enric Ruiz Geli, Edouard Cabay, Nora Graw


Agnes Mun Khwan Yit, Chi Sung Lee, Eugene Duck Jong, LeeZhuobin He, Alina Beissenova, Danecia Sibingo, Gideon Alcantara, Joo Hyun Cho, Kasang Kajang, Sung Kwon Jung, Valeria Garcia


Eduardo McIntosh


Pep Bou, Mara Sylvester


Tecnalia Corporación Tecnológica, Vector Foiltec


Alisa Andrasek, Barbara Campbell-Lange, Brett Steele, Charles Tashima, Didier Faustino, Giles Bruce, Javier Peña, Kate Davies, Marco Poletto, Marta Male, AlemanyStefano Rabolli, Thomas Koetz, Adrian Priest


Francisco Rodriguez, Konrad Hofmann, Luis Pedrosa, Mike Weinstock, Javier Castanon

The Diploma Unit 18 would like to thank all colleagues and friends at the Architectural Association for a lively debate with critical comments and encouraging remarks.