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How climate affects sustainable architecture
Architecture and urban design were traditionally based primarily on climate, comfort, and health issues, as can be seen in the treatises of Vitruvius or Alberti, which take into account wind and solar exposure, humidity and temperature rates, rain and flood contexts. These fundamental causes of architecture and urban design were largely ignored during the twentieth century because of the enormous use of fossil energy due to pumps, motors, fridges, heating systems and air-conditioning that have caused today’s greenhouse effect and global warming. The battle against climate change has forced architects and urban designers to place climatic issues high on their agenda once more. They must now reconsider the individual contexts in order to reduce the energy consumption of a building. But perhaps most importantly, through meteorological design architects today can re-imagine new ways of inhabiting space, new politics of the city, new human relationships, and a new type of aesthetic, which is more sensual and atmosphere-based. This book presents urban and architectural works by Philippe Rahm architectes from the past twelve years. Based on a strong scientific knowledge of physics, physiology, and meteorology- something that is clearly described in the book- the specific critical design approach of Philippe Rahm architectes departs from the normalization and standardization of the usual sustainable architecture by proposing a constant diversity of atmospheres and a gradation of qualities of space that is open to interpretation of its inhabitants. The book itself has been designed to produce a gradation of sensations by various methods, including different types of paper, a diversity of visual and textual format and content- from academic to lyrical, theoretical to narrative- and a variation in intensity of the iconography, from schematic drawings to evocative photos.
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