Arquitectura meteorológica

Philippe Rahm

18 March 2010

Paper on boards, computer

In his letter to Pope Leo X at the beginning of the 16th century (1519), the painter Raphael explains the distinctive nature of the architect’s representational techniques by comparing them to those of the painter, the plan being most important for the architect, in the same way that the perspective was the most essential mode of representation for the painter. Raphael essentially adopts the distinction between architecture and painting made by Leon Battista Alberti, which claimed for the architect the drawn plan and prohibited the use of the perspective drawing, to be used exclusively by the painter. It seems important that we return to this fundamental distinction, to the plan and its creation, as the essential starting point of our work, preceding all other types of representation: this is an exploration within the very matrix of architectural form and its spatial organisation, at the heart of its most fundamental tenets and terminology. But our elements of composition are no more traditional. They shift from the visible to the invisible, from the solid to the climatic. Our plans are becoming meteorological.

Today the climate has become the main aim of architects and architectural practice changes in order to integrate the new goal of safeguarding the climate. But as the balance with climate and its protection becomes the goal of architecture, it is also possible that climate becomes the resources and tools of architecture. Thus weather vocabulary used to describe atmospheric phenomena (convection, pressure, depressions, temperature, heat, relative humidity, reverberation, for example) becomes an architectural language. We seeks to integrate the climatic mission of architecture not only as the purpose of the contemporary architecture but also as the process. Architecture as meteorology opens to other dimensions and space definitions: at a large scale, it explores the atmospheric qualities of the space (temperature, air pressure, water, vapour, light, etc) as physical and chemical phenomena dealing with the new climatic building techniques like ventilation, heating, air conditioning, insulation, radiation. At the microscopic scale, it will explore new fields of reception (cutaneous, olfactive, hormonal, digestible, breathable), as biological and chemical perceptions dealing with the invisible qualities of the environment such as air, ions, electromagnetic waves, light or radiations.