Large internal (and II) Geographical displacements

According to the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, distrust of the environment that surrounds us (motivated by environmental pollution, climate change, etc.) has led us to a more and more “internalization” process, with the development of air control and comfort technologies. architectural space. For the Germans, the atmosphere we share today is the result of a specific and predetermined design of an ever-changing society. An element that can be manipulated, controlled—almost in laboratory conditions—and optimally stored. The interior, the space we live in, not only has a certain technology, but is itself a wonderful climate machine; that is, a “large air sculpture” through which its inhabitants pass as a “breathable installation”.

Ski Off Dubai (2006).


Thus, man becomes not only a user, but also a “climate owner and master” in the world, as Christof explained for Truman Burbank earlier.

However, where can we place the beginning of this idea?

Perhaps we can mark its origins with the advent of the American inventor Willis H. Carrier’s patent in 1906, which has no rival or known predecessors, allowing for the control and regulation of humidity in living spaces, thus becoming a pioneer and pioneer in creation. Marketing of indoor air-conditioning products. With his machine he revolutionized the industry radically, providing the user with a device for filtering and controlling temperature and humidity, which allows him to completely isolate himself from the “disturbing” external environment.

From that moment on, architects will be able to artificially move, mix and change the air we breathe, giving a new quality to the designed air; that is, the raw material for the new understanding of architectural spaces.

One of the most forward-thinking contemporary examples would be Winterhouse (2002), where architects Jean-Gilles Décosterd and Philippe Rahm proposed something akin to environmental simulation chambers produced in certain scientific fields and where certain environments are reproduced in the laboratory. conditions. Designed for artist Fabrice Hybert, it was a geographic shift from the French Atlantic coast to Tahiti. Deciduous plants without sap in the middle of winter, where winter turns into summer and night turns into day, have been replaced by tropical species, plants blooming in full summer, and intense aromas.

The house was to be built in the Vendée countryside, near a small river, at a distance from other residences. The house was a continuous time delay, a house in jet-lag, where spatial quality was not only dimensional and visual, but also worked on the invisible in the management of light streams, their intensities and spectral components, changes in the speed of light. percentage of humidity and temperature.

For example, in winter, above an outside temperature of 5°, the inside of the house is heated at 20° with 50% humidity. Therefore, the interior of the house in the Vendée in winter was transformed into a southern or tropical climate, depending on the occupant’s choice. To this end, its authors developed an invisible but physically modified aerial architecture. Faced with the choice of a constant and homogeneous temperature characteristic of central heating systems, its authors proposed a diverse thermal topography in which different uses would be distributed according to the temperature chosen for each.

In this way, and returning to Sloterdijk’s postulates, architecture today can be understood as the design project of the air that surrounds us, rather than the geometric and formal design of space. From Los Angeles to Tokyo, Dubai to Sydney, our globalizing world has caused us to breathe an increasingly synthetized, biased and dizzying air, wrapping us in a comfortingly designed, perfectly developed and “fragrant” atmosphere.

Luis Navarro is an architect and professor at the University of Alicante.

Source: Informacion

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