Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image
José Hevia

Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image in Badalona

Calderon-Folch Studio as Architects

A forefront research facility integrated with the natural environment.

The building focuses on energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and landscape integration. A compact volume with an organic façade made out of wood, surrounded by naturalized exterior spaces that host a complex functional program.


The new Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image holds a research center of the first order. A research facility based on ethical research criteria, technical and functional complexity, and comfort features that have been resolved in an efficient and sustainable way that strongly considers its relationship with the environment.


Landscape Integration
Landscape integration is addressed by the implementation of the volume within the topography, the definition of an organic geometry and its materiality, as well as the naturalization of the exterior spaces. The uneven site shares a border with the forest at the highest level of the university campus.

This unevenness is taken advantage of to generate a topographical building that connects the different levels whilst simultaneously defining its program internally, and making the building seem as small as possible. In this way the research floors, that require stable climatic conditions, are located practically underground, hidden and protected by a vegetated surface. The compact volume formed by round edges, integrates itself with the surrounding landscape through a curvilinear concavity that spans across the access plaza and an external organic wooden facade.


The complex functional program and the technical requisites are addressed by generating two access levels. These two levels separate the entrance for people from the one for logistic purposes, simultaneously generating two functional areas: the Administrative Area and the Scientific-Technical Area.

Likewise, this stratification of uses by levels, allows for the scientific activities to be separated from the maintenance ones, thus guaranteeing the optimal running of the center and strict requirements of biological containment. As a result, a technical floor level dedicated to the Scientific-Technical Area is constructed, where one can access all the amenities without interfering with the scientific-instructional activities.


One of the most crucial challenges when seeking excellence throughout a scientific investigation is to consolidate local talent and attract international talent. In order to do so, a facility with the highest levels of comfort features (visual, hydrothermal, acoustic) was designed in a privileged, bright environment, with large spaces and natural materials that guarantee adequate working conditions.


The facility uses materials with a low carbon footprint in order to minimize the CO2 emissions during the construction process. The building envelope is composed of a modular system made of a light-weight wooden framework, loose-fill cellulose, structural insulated panels and larch cladding without being treated over the 3,5-meter mark, and fireproof coated at the base. Prefabrication was used to produce the load-bearing structure to guarantee better quality, a minimal waste of material and to accelerate as much as possible the construction process.


Energy Efficiency
A compact design that reduces the amount of surface exposed to solar radiation. A design with facades and roof systems with high quality levels of thermal features, equipped with acclimatization systems with energy and air-flow recycling technologies, pumps, highly efficient secondary motors and loops, efficient and adjustable artificial lighting systems, etc. A 250 m² tank to manage and recycle rainwater for sanitary and irrigation purposes.


Architecture: Pilar Calderon, Marc Folch, (Calderon-Folch Studio) and Pol Sarsanedas
Landscape: Lluís Corbella (COMA Arquitectura)
Utilities: Mario Nahra (IPB)

This story is available in multiple languages
Project Credits
Product Spec Sheet

Casa G
next project

Casa G

Private Houses
Gravina in Puglia, Bari, Italy - Build completed in 2015
View Project