skip to Main Content


CIBARQ10 gets underway with an exhibition of architectural projects that aim to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

21 October 2010

This morning, in Pamplona, the IV International Congress on Architecture, Cities and Energy, CIBARQ10 “Low Carbon Cities”, got underway, organised by the Department of Energy in Buildings at the National Centre for Renewable Energies – CENER. Over the course of two days, participants in this event will be defending and promoting the concept of low carbon cities.

The main focal point for debate at this forum, which involves the participation of ten of the world’s leading architects in this field, including Thomas Herzog, Ken Yeang, Stephen Selkowitz and Iñaki Ábalos, will be the presentation of guidelines required to develop projects and initiatives in cities aimed at achieving a drastic reduction in energy consumption and, therefore, a reduction in their carbon emissions.

Events on day one of CIBARQ10, which began with an opening ceremony attended by José Javier Armendáriz, Director General of CENER; José Mª Roig, Regional Minister for Innovation, Business and Employment in Navarre, and Yolanda Barcina, Mayoress of Pamplona, will focus on presenting different building projects that set out guidelines for energy efficient architecture in different specific contexts.

Florencio Manteca muestra los paneles de experiencia a las autoridades Thomas Herzog, Florencio Manteca e Iñaki Ábalos Un momento de la inauguración Un momento de la rueda de prensa

Rethinking design and construction

According to Thomas Herzog, a German architect considered one of the founding fathers of Energy in Buildings who, in his speech, presented an introspective of the work carried out by the German firm Herzog+Partner, the aim of his profession should be based on designing buildings and urban spaces that protect natural resources and use renewable energies – in particular solar energy – as extensively as possible. “The shape of the future environment we build must be based on a social approach to the environment and the use of the inexhaustible energy potential of the sun”, he said.

As he explained in his speech, approximately half the energy consumed in the whole world is used to power buildings and a further 25% is consumed by traffic. To generate this energy, enormous amounts of non-renewable fossil fuels are used and the processes required to turn these fuels into energy also have a long-lasting negative effect on the environment, represented by the emissions they produce.

Herzog highlighted that this situation necessitates a major shift in our way of thinking and soon, particularly from the perspective of urban planners and the institutions that are part of the construction process. According to the German architect, who has won some major international awards, the role of architecture as a responsible profession becomes extremely important in this regard. “In the future, architects must have a much more decisive influence when it comes to conceiving and designing urban structures and buildings, in the use of building materials and elements and, therefore, in the use of energy, in comparison with the role they played in the past”, he commented.

However, he also pointed out that in order to achieve these goals, existing training and qualifications must be changed, along with energy supply systems, models of finance and distribution, and standards, legal regulations and legislation in accordance with the new objectives.

Thermodynamic beauty

For Iñaki Ábalos, professor of Architectural Projects at the Madrid College of Architecture and founding partner of the firm Ábalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos, the greatest concern should not be the immediate achievement of absolute efficiency in buildings but should instead focus on defining the type of thermodynamic knowledge that must be blended with architectural traditions in order to achieve a true synergy between form and sustainability right from the start of the design process. Thermodynamic beauty occurs, according to Ábalos, through a concentrated understanding of three disciplines – landscape, architecture and the environment – previously considered separate from one another, or at most complementary. According to this architect, who is originally from San Sebastián, thermodynamic beauty, which he made tangible with different examples, is an attempt to relate technical issues pertaining to sustainability with inherently architectural aspects.

Ábalos also defends the idea of “verticalscapes or skyscrapers” as “prototypes” that point the way to a different way of projecting the public space and the interrelation between programme and energy efficiency. In his opinion, “vertical construction, or skyscrapers, is still in its ‘infancy’ and greater interest must be invested in its study and experimentation in order to resolve the major problems posed by the contemporary megalopolis”.

All things considered, the main barriers that, according to this architect, impede the implementation of energy efficient projects reside, on the one hand, in the current approach to professional training, with an obsolete syllabus, and on the other hand, in the poor organisation of the additional costs entailed in experimenting with new technologies, especially in public positions. There is also a third reason, a core reason, which is the technocratic ideology behind the different energy efficiency seals which, according to Ábalos, “must be criticised not only using their own measures but also with greater intensity on the basis of their lack of sensitivity to the underlying issues of sustainability in the social, cultural and productive spheres: essayists, thinkers and philosophers must take centre stage to question the ideological mediocrity of regulations and their advocates.”

Brief biography of Iñaki Ábalos and Thomas Herzog

Iñaki Ábalos

Founding partner of Ábalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos since 2006. Born in San Sebastián in 1956, Iñaki Ábalos is a professor of Architectural Projects at the Madrid College of Architecture, and has worked in the construction and renovation of buildings and premises, and in landscaping and urban infrastructures.

He is currently a “Kenzo Tange Professor” at Harvard University. His work has been the subject of individual exhibitions in De Singel (Antwerp, Belgium), IIT (Chicago, USA), Atlanta Center of Modern Art, CAAM (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) and Fundación ICO (Madrid) among others. He has also been involved in collective exhibitions such as those organised by the MoMA entitled “Light Construction”, “Groundswell” and “On Site: Spanish Architecture” (New York, 1995, 2005 and 2006), “New Trends of Architecture” and “Dialogue” (Tokyo 2002 and 2005). His work has been reviewed in the publications “Abalos&Herreros” (Gustavo Gili, 1993), “Áreas de Impunidad” (Actar, 1997), “Reciclando Madrid” (Actar, 2000), 2G nº 22 (Gustavo Gili, 2003), Grand Tour (CAAM, 2005) and Ábalos, Herreros, Sentkiewicz Arquitectos (Documentos de Arquitectura, COAA, 2008).

He is the author of “Le Corbusier. Rascacielos” (Madrid, 1988), “Técnica y Arquitectura” (Nerea, 1992. Published in English by MIT Press and entitled “Tower and Office”, 2003) and “Natural-Artificial” (Exit LMI, 1999) with Juan Herreros, and was the sole author of “La Buena Vida” (GG, 2000), (“The Good Life”, GG, 2001, English translation, “A Boa Vida”, GG, 2002, Portuguese translation), “Campos de Batalla/Battlefields” (COAC publicaciones, 2005), “Cuatro Observatorios de la Energía” (COA Canarias, 2007) and “Atlas Pintoresco” (vol. I, GG, 2005 y vol. II, GG, 2007).

Thomas Herzog

He graduated in Architecture from the University of Munich, his home town and place of work. He is considered one of the founding fathers of Energy in Buildings as a professional and a teacher, and has dedicated much of his life to this field in Europe, the US and, recently, China. He is a committed activist in favour of solar energy and is also deeply involved as an expert in the International Green Architecture movement.

Herzog taught Architecture at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) from 1974-86 and was the Dean of its Architecture Faculty (2000-06). Guest lecturer at the University of Tsinghua (Beijing); Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (PENN). Guest speaker at the 4th European Conference on Solar Energy in Architecture and Urban Planning.

His main accolades included the Mies-van-der-Rohe Prize 1981; Auguste-Perret Prize for Technology in Architecture 1996; European Award for “SOLARES BAUEN” 2000; Heinz-Maier- Leibnitz Medal for excellence in research 2005; European Architecture and Technology Award 2006; International Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2007.

More information:


(PDF, 1.209 KB)

Back To Top