Atmospheres: Explication and Excess

Date
2015-04-14
Authors
Darmour-Paul, Matthew
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Altmetrics
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Architecture
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Architecture
Abstract

As the world becomes increasingly quantifiable and as innovative technologies allow for novel measurements of new phenomena, it is the ‘givens’ of everyday life, and the responsibilities a new attentiveness may harbor, that are under the so-called ‘attack’ of modernity. Architecture is not immune to this phenomenon, particularly in the trending topics of study such as ‘climate design’ and ‘atmospheric construction’. These are cited both as a response to an impending climate change, and as a technical means to design large commercial projects. As architects find ways to incorporate new representational technologies into the discipline, new ‘materials’ such as heat or the density of vapors are being made visible, and are therefore subject to manipulation. It is crucial that the architectural community is critical of these new awarenesses, before they are implemented at large scales. By analyzing the work of two architectural atmospherists one begins to identify a series of explications and the questionable contradictions they present. It can be argued that it is both the fundamentally vague conceptual basis of atmospheres and their simultaneous revealing of latent environmental potential that engenders an ethos of wasteful energy practices, and a distancing of authorship, and therefore control, in atmospheric design.

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