Ferrer Research & Development Center Barcelona, L’hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain


The Ferrer Research & Development Center defines the northern boundary of the Biopol research campus in l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, created around the Duran i Reynals hospital. The biotech campus is dedicated to health sciences research in an area with an expanding knowledge economy. It is a key site in the progressive re-urbanization of the Gran Via.

The building form results from the collision of two distinct strategies: a simple, flexible building plan which facilitates laboratory re-configuration, and optimization of the solar orientation. The result is a photosynthetic green/blue building, in which all surfaces use sunlight productively.

A biological nutrient façade consists of a vegetated exterior wall, and is oriented to protect plants from the hottest sun. A louver screen protects the interior from heat gain while allowing view toward the sea. Shaded balconies become social gathering spaces while providing a location for food production and a display of medicinal plants. A vertical orchard of trees climbs the side of the building. The contrasting technical nutrient façade is a metal rainscreen with built-in shading. Photovoltaic panels on south facing surfaces generate electricity. The colors of this façade represent the wing pattern of the endangered polyommatus bellargus butterfly, which will be hatched inbetween the walls of the  building lobby—restoring biodiversity and loving all of the children of all species. Horseshoe Vetch vegetation planted on the façade will provide a food source.

The project has benefited from rigorous scientific analysis by team members in Spain. It is planned to include rainwater capture, graywater recycling, and a biologically activated waste treatment system. The building has been designed for optimized energy use, and will be outfitted with smart building controls and lighting.


Biomedical research laboratories


25,000 square meters


Design development


William McDonough + Partners, Design Architect
IPB S.A., Executive Architect + MEP Engineer
Eco Intelligent Growth, Sustainability Consultant
Indus, Structural Engineers
Acieroid, Curtainwall
Aiguasol, Energy Modeling
Asepma, Water Strategies
Vivers Ter, Vegetated Surfaces