Technology centres
and universities

The 2017 Future Arena brought together the most cutting-edge research projects in the sector, organized in the phases of the typical lifecycle of a building.
See, touch, consider and experiment with innovation.

See the 2017 pictures


We go beyond the 2D plane with the ultimate in digital technology

Virtual Reality

A space to visit a site or a future project with virtual reality glasses.
To discover extremely intuitive techniques for exploring virtual environments in a truly immersive way. To visualise projects in the context of their location through the automatic reconstruction of extremely detailed urban and rural environments based on cartographic data. To examine how a building affects the exposure to sunlight of buildings in its immediate vicinity, using the real-time calculation of solar exposure maps. These maps are a key element in the energy analysis of buildings and in the simulation of external degradation of building materials. To analyse human interaction with buildings, visualising individual and collective behaviour both in everyday situations and in emergency situations that require building evacuation.



An interactive table for collaborative working that enables the digital office to be taken on-site, thus offering improvements in information availability, procedures and training for all construction industry professionals.


From design to industry: material solutions for architecture

Materfad, the Barcelona Materials Centre, and ELISAVA presented their first joint exhibition within the 2017 Future Arena space at Construmat from 23 to 26 May at Fira de Barcelona.

The aim of the exhibition is to offer new perspectives and uses of the materials that will be driving innovation in the construction sector, as well as offering a creative vision of the future of materials. The Materials Visions exhibition has been devised as a journey from innovation in industry, by means of a representation of the materials available on the market, through to research and experimentation, represented by projects from universities and research centres, thus providing a complete overview of the market and its future prospects.

The materials on show have been selected by Materfad and ELISAVA to present a themed evolution, starting with low-tech biological materials and moving on through the transition to bio-high tech and finally the most technologically advanced materials.

The exhibition also provides information about the scenarios of the future in which these materials will be used:

Healthy Spaces: materials that facilitate improvements to the environment and encourage healthier habits.
Light Constructions: materials that allow the creation of lightweight structures by optimising the quantity of material used.
Emotional and Intuitive: materials and habits that offer a particular sensorial experience due to their colour, texture or composition.
Mutant Spaces: materials that can be transformed by an external stimulus, creating active and functional spaces.

The strategic partnership between Materfad and ELISAVA unites forces between research and creative talent with a view to the future and a commercial perspective to provide a technological observatory with an international focus. This facilitates the identification of development and innovation opportunities for institutions, companies and society as a whole.

Site execution

How we build a pavilion in just four days

CoGiro developed by TECNALIA used for the 3D printing of a large wall.

On Site Robotics is the collaborative project of the IAAC and TECNALIA that demonstrates the potential of advanced additive manufacturing technology and robotics in the production of low-cost, sustainable buildings that can be built in-situ using 100% natural materials.

Combining technological advances in robotics (cable robots and drones), natural materials and CAD/CAM software, the project's objective is to take automation to the construction site itself, allowing both the production of high-performance buildings and real-time monitoring during the construction process.

The 3D printing system presented in On Site Robotics has been introduced to perform 3D printing of large building components and even small buildings made from 100% natural materials. The system includes the COGIRO cable robot with integrated CNC control which is capable of automating the movements of the 3D extruder precisely. Thanks to the use of cables actioned by servo-controlled winches that are easy to assemble, maintain and reset, printing can take place in very large workspaces, including construction sites.

The system also includes an extruder and extrusion material that is natural, biodegradable, recyclable and local (clay), based on the Pylos project. Furthermore, a customised script integrated in the CAD software allows the complex shapes of 3D design in robotic trajectories to be connected easily.

In addition, the On Site Robotics scenario includes the use of drones which have been programmed to fly independently. Their purpose is to participate in the building work by monitoring its progress via multispectral cameras which, thanks to computational processes, provide thermal data on the drying status of the structure. This information is essential for controlling the process.

Finished building

The future of construction will go hand-in-hand with the IoT

How can a building guarantee the lowest possible energy demand while increasing the comfort and health of its inhabitants?

Nearly-zero energy buildings change the concept of designing and constructing a building. This area showed how the building envelope works, what kind of materials can be used in their construction, what installations it includes and the new concepts for windows and walls. It also showed why self-consumption is now viable and how the whole installation performs in physical terms.

In this space the visitor could also witness the amazing experience of integrating the IoT in the personalisation of homes and buildings, adapting to the needs of individual users. We monitored connected IoT solutions and their interactivity with different devices in real time, which can even generate a learning capacity to anticipate the needs of the building and its residents.

An experience for touching and thinking with the fingertips. The zero-consumption city.

Building renovation

We preserve the past to consolidate the future

A space featuring five CIMS research tracks that take a different approach to digital workflows in architectural restoration and rehabilitation projects.

It showcased projects on digital acquisition, building information modelling, building performance simulations and digital manufacturing and narrative.

There were also demonstrations of the new Leica BLK for detecting pathologies in building facades and the KUKA robotic arm for renovating them.

Circular economy

Reduce, reuse and recycle; the three major challenges for the construction industry

Our project offers innovative, flexible, and sustainable solutions that have a high environmental, social, and economic impact based in recycling. These solutions improve the living conditions of vulnerable communities, producing products and other alternatives centered in sustainable development. We close the plastics life-cycle, recovering materials and transforming them for useful purposes (housing, classrooms, shelters etc) that in the end have a positive impact on families living in poverty.


The future of construction entails mastering BIM

If BIM really is the working methodology of the future for the construction sector, what steps do you need to take to adapt?

A sapce to find the answer to this question and much more in the virtual interactive environment in the 2017 Future Arena. Here the visitor could see what steps we need to take to implement BIM in our own workplace, depending on our profession: urban planner, property developer, constructor, etc.

The visitor could also find information on what kinds of BIM training are available, how to implement this working methodology in our firm, what the current regulations are, what kind of software we can find on the market depending on what we're looking for, how the new workflows for this methodology work, and what the future trends in BIM will be.