Alicia Casals San Miguel

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Escuela Técnica Superior d' Arquitectura de Barcelona

P64 | BIORE-ACT! Research Centre for Algae Biofuels (Rotterdam).

by Alicia Casals San Miguel  

Known for being the most important distribution and production hub for fossil fuels in Europe, Rotterdam wants to reinvent itself as a clean tech delta. In 2013, its heavy industry will move out from the city to a new deep-water terminal. In this context of transformation, the proposal for a Research Centre for Algae Biofuels is an iconic building for the government’s envisioned “Climate Campus”. Different programs such as offices, classrooms, guest house, expo, labs, algae farms and baths come together in a complex for social diffusion related to green energies. The pools floating on the river are both algae farms and public swimming-pools that use the polluted river water after its natural purification through the algae farming process. A steel structure combining mega-trusses and oval-shaped ribs spans over the entrance of a small marina. This bridge-building melts into a highly programmed urban park, creating a hybrid typology between infrastructure, architecture and landscape. Finally, a light-weight aluminum facade based on a changing pyramid module allows controlled daylight transparency throughout the building as well as impressive views along the large glazed openings.


Alicia Casals San Miguel  was born in Barcelona in 1987. She graduated with honors from the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya with a Master in Architecture and Urbanism degree. She also studied at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich through an exchange program. She participated at the Symposium Advances in Architectural Geometry 2010 (AAG10, TU Wien). She has worked for a large number of design firms including Büro Ole Scheeren (Beijing), OMA-Office for Metropolitan Architecture (Rotterdam), UN Studio (Amsterdam), F451 Arquitectura (Barcelona) and Shigeru Ban Architects (Tokyo).