In any well-established industry, it is the forward thinkers who will incite change, create growth, and foster evolution in the field. Growth and evolution can help ensure the endurance of your brand. Longevity results from offering services that continually satisfy customer demand, and it is even more impactful when those services also improve society as a whole. This week’s #WebsiteWednesday features an architecture and urban design firm that puts sustainability and innovation above all else: MADC.xyz
MADC.xyz is the online home of Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho (MADC) & Partners, an international architecture firm established in Madrid, Spain. With over twenty years of experience in both public and private buildings, MADC.xyz is cognizant of the need to view each project through a lens of sustainability. According to their website, they believe that decreased impact to natural resources equals longevity and allows for the coexistence of the biosphere and urban development. MADC.xyz claims to operate under a succinct philosophy: “Design without sustainability is no longer design.” Following this belief, their view of architecture becomes a balancing act in considering people, public space, neighborhood, and the city, as well as the climate, geography, and the environment.
The firm states that they operate under the idea that “Designing is caring for the world. No excuses.” This idea was initiated by founder Miguel Ángel, a lecturer, researcher, writer, and architecture critic with a Ph.D. in Architectural Design. He also sits as Chairman of the Architecture and Sustainability Association (ASA). This care for the world extends to the firm’s online presence. MADC.xyz’s website was designed and developed as a low carbon website by Hyper Studio, a digital creative studio in Spain. According to a post on MADC.xyz, the Internet uses three times more energy than the world’s wind and solar power sources are able to provide. The manufacturing and maintenance of renewable power plants also requires energy. This implies that if data traffic keeps growing, so will the use of fossil fuels.
To design MADC.xyz with the intent of low environmental impact, they employed three energy-reducing efforts. First, they chose ProfesionalHosting, a hosting company whose policy is focused on green energy at all levels. ProfesionalHosting’s Green Hosting page states that “Our offices in Almería [have] self-produced electricity by means of solar panels and we carefully choose out Data Centers ensuring their energy comes from renewable sources.”
Visuals are an important part of MADC’s work, but they also take up quite a bit of bandwidth, and the website would not be the same without them. To solve this, they apply an image compression technique called “dithering,” allowing them to make images ten times less resource-intensive, yet still be displayed quite large. Instead of using full color, high-resolution images which impact size, they converted all images to black and white. Clicking the HD button on each image enables visitors to access the full-color high-resolution version of each image, and adds a fun interactive feature.
The second energy-reducing design tactic is that MADC.xyz does not load a custom typeface. They explain that all resources, including typefaces and logos, create an additional request to the server, requiring storage space and energy use. Visitors will see the default typefaces of their browser, a sans serif and a serif font. In place of a high concept logo, MADC.xyz’s identity consists of “MADC” with the strikethrough effect in the blank spaces between the initials.
Miguel Ángel explains, “Of course I think having a short website name helps our low-carbon website footprint mission: LESS IS MORE. We use a similar approach for the logo. Instead of a designed logotype, which would require the production and distribution of custom typefaces and imagery, MADC’s new identity consists of a single typographic effect: to use the strikethrough style in the blank spaces between letters to create a chain (the chain is the symbol about how we connect things like design-environment-people-architecture-city-food-public space-water-landscape-etc), that’s why the logo is like that (–m–a-d—c-)…it’s not an image but some connections with letters, that reduce KB and MB and GB at the end.”
The third energy-reducing design tactic is use of color. Some devices may consume more energy displaying a page with a white background versus a black one. However, accessibility can be affected by one version or another, so MADC.xyz provides both options. The default display depends on the time of the day. While visiting the website during the day, viewers will see it in white with black text. This scheme is inverted at night. They’ve also placed a toggle in the upper-right corner of the screen, another interactive feature, so that every visitor can choose between these two modes.
MADC.xyz‘s commitment to the world is echoed in their design work. Potential clients can check out an assortment of sustainable designs on their projects page, like the construction of 30 rooms intended for temporary housing for underserved families of newborns admitted to the ICU at Madrid’s Hospitals. Created in partnership with the Avintia Foundation, the rooms are designed with what they call a green infrastructure, a natural system that resets temperature fluctuations, recovers and purifies rainwater, generates oxygen, and regulates humidity. Each of the 30 rooms also has its own “energetic backpack” for production of electric power using high-performance technologies and renewable sources.
With such forward-thinking designs, it’s no surprise that their News page is filled with the many awards and recognitions MADC.xyz has earned from national and international contests in architecture and urban planning. Most recently, they took first prize in a 2020 ideas competition organized by the Insurance Compensation Consortium with the aim of executing a full renovation of a 68,000 square foot office building located at Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid.
In March 2019 they won the competition for the creation of a new Public Library in Villaverde, Madrid with their “Thousand Suns Library” design. MADC.xyz designed the library in two overlapped architecture sheds, the Cultural Shed and the Social Shed, both intended as an open infrastructure with autonomous access. The design generates new public spaces that utilize natural sunlight to create both a warm space during the winter and a cool shaded area during the summer.
MADC.xyz has developed a system of operating that seems to yield longevity. They show compassion for the environment and the overall impact their output will have on the neighborhood, the city, and beyond. The firm is branded with Miguel Ángel’s initials, short and memorable, which were available in the .xyz domain ending. The distinctiveness and minimalism of the .xyz domain aligns with the firm’s very ethos. And, when said out loud, MADC.xyz has a poetic ring to it that makes it fun to say. To read more about their services and see more examples of their design work and achievements, you can visit MADC.xyz on Instagram and Twitter.
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