Javier García-Germán (1974) is Professor of Architectural Design at the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) since 2007. He is module director both in the Master’s Degree in City and Housing (MCH, ETH Zürich & UPM) and in the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings
(MAEB, IAAC, Barcelona). Javier García-Germán studied architecture at the ETSAM (Final Design Thesis Honors, Premio Extraordinario Fin de Carrera 2002), the Oxford School of Architecture and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (Master in Design Studies 2004), where he was Fulbright Scholar. He received his Ph.D. in architecture —Thermodynamic Environments. A Critical Cartography on Energy, Architecture and Atmosphere— in ETSAM (2014).
In 2004 he founded TAAs —totem arquitectos asociados— an award-winning practice based in Madrid which explores the connections between climate, architecture and users. TAAs has recently finished two bioclimatic NZEB buildings: an office building in Paseo de la Castellana 94 and a 159-unit collective housing scheme for Ayuntamiento de Madrid. TAAs’ entries for EUROPAN international competition received awards in EUROPAN 6, 8 and 10 editions. TAAs’ work was exhibited in the XVI Biennale di Venezia (2018).


In addition Javier García-Germán has authored several articles in international periodicals (Quaderns, Bauwelt, 2G, etc.) and edited and authored several books on energy and architecture, among others Thermodynamic Interactions. An Architectural Exploration into Physiological, Material and Territorial Atmospheres (2017, ACTAR), which has received both the Pensamiento y Crítica FAD Award 2018 and the XIII BEAU Spanish Architecture and Urbanism Biennial awards; and De lo Mecánico a lo Termodinámico (2010, Gustavo Gili); and
Contextos 2008. Hacia un Nuevo Entorno Energético (2008, UCJC).
Javier García-Germán has lectured in the following institutions: Harvard Design School of Architecture, Rice University School of Architecture (Houston, Tx), City College New York, Texas Tech University College of Architeture (Lubbock, Tx), Syracuse University School of

Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts WashU (St. Louis, Missouri), Tongji University (Shanghai, China), Tec de Monterrey (Monterrey, México), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP, Lima, Perú), Universidad Torcuato di Tella (Buenos Aires, Argentina),
The New School of Architecture (PUPR; San Juan, Puerto Rico), Universidad de Málaga (UMA, Málaga, España), Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV, Valencia), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM, Madrid), Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña (IAAC, Barcelona), Universidad Ramón Llul (Barcelona), Universidad de Sevilla (Sevilla).

Javier García-Germán - Projects

Dissipating Office Building

Architects: Javier García-Germán (TAAs) and Borja Peña (BETA.0)

Location: Madrid, Spain

Year: 2012-2020

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By the Architects:

The building poses an alternative to the air-conditioned sealed-envelope energy-certified office environment. First, the glass curtain-wall gives place to a faceted ceramic-clad envelope which, through shape, maximizes radiation summer reflection and winter collection. Second, the convective air-conditioning system gives place to a water radiant system which tempers the office space through high-inertia concrete slabs. Thus, structure and performance are integrated by means of its envelope and its environmental control systems.

The Climatic Clip On

Architects: TAAs Javier + Alia García Germán

Location: Bilbao, Spain

Year: 2009-2012

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By the Architects:

A low-inertia clip-on is added to a 1920s basque-style house which, interacting with the high-inertia masonry existing structure, produces a wide variety of climates. The clip-on provides a vertical shaft —new service core— which works as a climate mixer for the whole house. A new vertical garden with a water pulverization system contributes adds evapotranspiration to the climatic-physiological spectrum that the house provides.

A 1920s basque-style house is extended, adding a lightweight building that adapts to the volume of a preexisting extension.

19th Century traditional building techniques give place to contemporary building techniques. From load-bearing walls to plate and column structure and lightweight multilayered façade.

Technical core is added which reactivates existing buildings, introducing new services and circulations (elevator and staircase) and a vertical shaft which enhances the natural ventilation of the whole house.

A new outdoor lightweight ramp is superimposed over preexisting constructions, creating a new entrance to the house and casting shadow on living outdoor areas.

A new vertical garden adds biological density to the small-sized existing garden. The limits of the garden are extruded vertically, creating a tridimensional mesh which will promote the growth of creepers. The aim is not to seclude the garden but to enhance its biological interconnection to neighboring gardens.

In addition, this perimetral device provides a comfortable summer environment for the garden. Rainwater collection feeds a water pulverization system which provides a humid and refreshing outdoor environment in the dry Madrid summers.


The Radiant Room

Architects: TAAs Javier + Alia García Germán

Location: Guadarrama, Madrid, Spain

Year: 2010-2012

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By the Architects:

A collection of radiant rooms explore the connections between the environment, a material conglomerate —concrete, projected cork and wood— and its inhabitants. This conglomerate performs either under the sun’s radiation or under the effects of the wall-and-floor integrated radiant system, granting users comfort. These rooms can be opened during the summer months, enjoying the refreshing summer night breezes.

Material performance

A room with a view. The commission started with a collection of rooms, which were scattered around the site looking for good views.

Radiation. Radiation is a process of energy transfer by which energy is transmitted through electromagnetic waves, not needing a material medium to transfer heat.

Radiant rooms. Sun radiation penetrates the room through the window which, through direct radiation and greenhouse effect, heats-up the concrete floor and walls, storing energy. Insulation, through external wood cladding, prevents stored heat from dissipating. Combining window radiation collection with interior thermal storage and outdoor thermal insulation, the thermal performance of the room is enhanced.

Concrete wooden-clad rooms. Reinforced-Concrete, has a high thermal effusivity (2036 s1/2 W/m2 0C) and therefore has a high thermal storage capacity. On the other hand wood and projected cork have a low thermal effusivity (500 s1/2 W/m2 0C) and therefore are good insulator. The combination of both maximize energy storage, minimizing winter losses.

Negotiate between solar radiation and views. The project negotiates between the forest views and the sun orientation. According to Edward Mazria, a solar window with “variations to the east or west of south, up to 300, will reduce performance only slightly”.

Summertime. Solar rooms, in summertime, cast a pattern of shadows which, in combination with the pine trees, offer comfortable ambient for summer activities.

Active systems. The use of active radiant surfaces seeks to champion same thermodynamic strategies for active and passive systems, looking for a synergy between form, material systems, environmental systems and user performance.


Javier García-Germán- At MCH

García-Germán's MCH Experience  

  • Specialty Leader MCH'2017. Energy & Sustainability
  • Specialty Leader MCH'2018. Energy & Sustainability
  • Specialty Leader MCH'2019. Energy & Sustainability
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