Arquia/Becas 2011 exhibition

We designed an exhibition and connected it with its digital version using open hardware

Every year the Architects Bank Foundation announces 20 Arquia Grants -ten by academic record and ten by a project idea’s competition- for architecture students and young architects in order to perform professional internships in European architecture practices. In 2011, the Foundation asked us to do the design and development of the itinerant exhibition showing the ten winning proposals. “Chance and need” was the slogan of this competition, which had Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano as jury members.

Our proposal looked at how to combine immediate, direct and touch interaction of tangible exhibitions with the great easiness of the digital media for spreading out ideas. We wanted to create a closed link between the tangible exhibition and a website including the selected proposals. This way any visitor’s interaction with the tangible exhibition will be seen instantly on its online version and vice versa.

Initial proposal with a self-supporting and light structure so it could be adapted to a multitude of spaces

Tangible Exhibition

The exhibition consisted of stretched-wood arcs joined together horizontally by a structural and data rib. This horizontal rib accepted multiple settings allowing lineal, circular and L-shape assemblies.

The exhibited proposals were printed out using elastic canvas and stretched out between arcs creating a continuous surface of double curvature.

These tensioners bend the wood arcs providing stability to the whole set

The exhibition could travel all around Spain during 2011, so we made sure that it was light, very resistant and easy to assemble. We chose an elastic canvas instead of rigid panels, and the whole assembly made use of mechanical attachments, zips and Velcro instead of adhesives. Here you have the detailed assembly instructions which went together with the 30x30x240cm box containing the complete exhibition.

Digital Connection

Each selected project had a QR code that could be scanned using a mobile phone for voting the favorite project and sharing it on social networks. The votations could be made either from the exhibition or the website and were shown in real time in both media thanks to the LED displays, which are installed in the exhibition behind the fabric canvas.

The votation display is totally integrated into the printed canvas proposal

We also developed a custom hardware solution based on Arduino open hardware platform, called “LikeBox”, in order to show this dynamic information in real time. We released the source code developed in the Processing language under a free license. The free software can be found at a GitHub repository. Additionally, we published these technical articles explaining all the settings in great detail.


The exhibition was inaugurated in October 2011 in the High School of Architecture of San Sebastián and traveled along several Spanish architecture schools during 2012.

Here you have the video that we prepared to explain how the exhibition worked. Hope you like it!

The story of Arquia/Becas 2011 exhibition through our articles, news and a selection of references in the media.

Initial draft of the proposed design

LikeBox detail

LED display detail

Printed canvas detail

Vertical arcs detail

Tensioners detail

Assembly in ETSA at San Sebastián

Zip join detail

Opening in ETSA at San Sebastián

Initial draft of the proposed design · We designed a light, foldable and self-supporting structure that could adapt to a great variety of spaces · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

LikeBox detail · This small box controls two LED displays. We have used the Arduino open hardware platform toguether with low cost components. The whole wiring goes inside the aluminiun profiles · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

LED display detail · This setting shows how the dynamic information is completely integrated into the printed canvas · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

Printed canvas detail · The canvas were pre-stretched and printed out using a flatbed plotter with ultraviolet curing inks · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

Vertical arcs detail · Glue pine wood was used for the arcs · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

Tensioners detail · The arcs are made of glue pine wood with stainless steel fittings · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

Assembly in ETSA at San Sebastián · We opted for a lineal setting with closed-ends for this first installation · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

Zip join detail · The zips were embedded into the wood arcs and made of injected plastic by YKK · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0

Opening in ETSA at San Sebastián · The exhibition was inaugurated in October 2011 in the High School of Architecture of San Sebastián, and traveled along several spanish architecture shools during 2012 · Colaborativa 2012 CC BY 3.0