Maria Ángeles Roca

Who are you?

Maria Ángeles Roca is a freelance architect specialising in sustainable design and energy efficiency in buildings. She has worked in different disciplines such as planning, building construction, restoration of buildings and interior design.

Maria Ángeles attained her Masters in Sustainable Architecture and Design in 2012. After concluding her studies in the USA, she worked for a NGO in Africa as an architect working on a project supporting abandoned children. Following her return from Africa, Maria Ángeles wanted to reconnect with professionals working in sustainability and applied to join the Pioneers programme.

What did you do?

Maria Ángeles’ placement within the Department of Architecture at the University of Ferrara in Italy included a project to analyse and calculate the efficiency of historical and public buildings. This involved initial research, carrying out insulation of existing buildings, comparison of energy consumption and calculating energy efficiencies through developed software. Using this software on actual buildings for a professional client was a new experience for Maria Ángeles, and one which she used to analyse initial results and develop retrofit strategies for the University. The University has since taken on further Pioneers on placements to continue Maria Ángeles’ initial research.

EIT Climate-KIC opened the door to connect to people and provided an opportunity to change things. I am proud to be part of the Pioneers community and will continue to work in the Climate-KIC co-operative way.

The Pioneers programme attracts people who see things differently which is the way of doing things differently.

What did you learn?

Maria Ángeles has subsequently utilised the systems innovation training from the Pioneers programme workshops, using it in her work as an architect to work with clients to solve specific problems. Maria Ángeles has used what she has learnt from the Pioneer experience and grown in confidence through her involvement in ongoing Climate-KIC activities. This included being a finalist in the 2016 Climathon in Italy and winning subsequent Climathons, including Valencia in 2017 tackling clean energy challenges in existing buildings, and Castellón in 2018 developing sustainable mitigation solutions for an area with high water stress and a high dependency on groundwater for urban supply.

Maria Ángeles feels that her time on the Pioneers programme enabled her to take a broader, systemic view of climate problems and connect with a wide range of diverse people to help solve these problems.

What happens next?

Winning two Climathon competitions has given Maria Ángeles the confidence to tackle difficult climate problems in a systemic way and create change.

After the Valencia competition, Maria Ángeles has continued working on the project with local communities and hopes to continue working on the project developed as part of the Castellón Climathon.

For Maria Ángeles, the most important aspect of the Pioneers programme is the community of like-minded professional people interested in sustainability, who really want to make a difference.