The research institute on the campus of the University of Barcelona (UAB) focuses on ­environmental sciences and palaeontology. The demands made on the sustainability of the new building complex, in which lecture halls, offices and laboratories are accommodated on five floors, are accordingly high. Car parking areas and storage rooms are ­organized on two further floors below ground level.

The hot, moist summers in Catalonia and the sizable heat loads that arise in the high-tech spaces called for a carefully con­sidered ventilation strategy. The architects grouped insulated wooden cubes around four atriums that serve as buffer zones. An economical industrial greenhouse system encloses the entire block in polycarbonate panels that can be opened.