Contenu du sommaire : Entanglements of Architecture and Comfort beyond the Temperate Zone

Revue ABE Journal : European architecture beyond Europe Mir@bel
Numéro no 17, 2020
Titre du numéro Entanglements of Architecture and Comfort beyond the Temperate Zone
Texte intégral en ligne Accessible sur l'internet
  • Dossier : Entanglements of Architecture and Comfort beyond the Temperate Zone

    • Editorial: Historicizing Entanglements of Architecture and Comfort beyond the Temperate Zone - Jiat-Hwee Chang, Daniel J. Ryan accès libre
    • Shifting priorities of shade and northern Australian architecture: Colonial settlement prior to the 1920s - Cathy Keys accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Abstract The primacy of sunlight over shade is a relatively recent historical phenomenon in Australian architecture. In this paper, it is argued that shade was a priority for northern Australian settlers in the state of Queensland and evident in their architecture until the 1920s when ideas about thermal comfort, race and climate elevated the desirability of sun exposure. This paper considers the cross-cultural exchange of colonial shade and the increasing avoidance of sun exposure linked to European beliefs about human health, derived from the field of tropical medicine and evidenced by northern Australian clothing styles and the Queensland house. Later sections consider the social and cultural underpinnings of a Modernist shift in architecture prioritizing sun exposure over deep shade. Finally, the paper will consider a refocus on shade provision since the 1990s, linked to rising rates of preventable skin cancer. Keywords: Oceania, Australia, Queensland
    • Aesthetics of Comfort: A Third Moment in Costa Rican Histories of Tropical Architecture - Natalia Solano-Meza accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Abstract Histories of tropical architecture in Costa Rica could be constructed around three moments: the settlement of the United Fruit Company (ufco) in 1889, the visit of Otto H. Koenigsberger, director of the Department of Development and Tropical Studies during the opening of the School of Architecture of the University of Costa Rica in 1970, and finally, the constitution of a set of formal principles and images guiding the work of many architects in Costa Rica and justified by the need to provide comfort—or sensory contentment—in the tropical climate: an aesthetics of comfort. Although it is often considered a technical term, in our work, comfort operates also as a historical and aesthetic concept. Our research suggests that the aesthetics of comfort has been disseminated through journals and exhibitions since the 1990s, while also absorbing experiences from the two previous moments. Consequently, it cannot be separated from histories of colonialism, extractivism, hygiene, and interventionism. It is present, although in different forms and with different purposes, in the work of architects such as Édgar Brenes, Víctor Cañas and Bruno Stagno. In the media, their prominent achievements are presented as the result of responsiveness to nature, building technology, site adaptation and the ability to offer contentment. From our analysis, we claim that the aesthetics of comfort functions as a validation mechanism, one that praises technical knowledge and formal adaptation but tends to ignore histories of colonialism and knowledge production.
    • Imperial Atmospheres: Race and Climate Control on the Niger - Dustin Valen accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Abstract This essay explores how nineteenth-century environmental technologies rendered climates mobile through an examination of a British-led mission to the Niger River in West Africa in 1841. To protect white sailors from the tropical African climate, expedition authorities invited Scottish ventilation engineer David Boswell Reid to consult on the design of three iron steam ships. Using a centralized air intake connected to a wind sail, Reid created a pressurized plenum below deck whose air he medicated by treating it with chemicals. The Niger mission exemplifies how Victorian ventilating practices were informed by unilineal theories of progress in which climate served as a key index for measuring animal, vegetable, and human progress. Regions of the globe with climates similar to Britain's were considered ideal for colonization. Tropical climates, however, were thought to have damaging effects on European bodies. Climate was also blamed for impeding the rise of civilization. Drawing on medical journals and reports, this essay discusses nineteenth-century ventilating practices in terms of their relationship to the tropical anxieties of their time. It posits climate control as an ecological mission within the broader project of British imperialism, and shows how Western ideas about thermal comfort emerged through a discursive entanglement with racial anthropology and imperial interests in the torrid zone.
    • Urban Climate Indoors - Sascha Roesler, Madlen Kobi accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Abstract The aim of this paper is to broaden the Eurocentric architectural history of climate control by introducing a discussion of the interrelation of architecture and thermal practices in the Southern Chinese “non-heating” zone. Based on a governmental policy that dates from the 1950s, China is divided into a heated North, where urban houses enjoy the amenities of a district heating infrastructure, and a non-heated South, which lacks this infrastructure. Most high-rise buildings in this zone are constructed without insulation, and a rapidly growing middle class heats under uninsulated conditions. Residents mitigate the winter cold through active means of climate control, primarily with electric devices that serve to warm certain parts of their bodies, or warm limited spaces in their apartments. This paper is based on a methodology that combines ethnographic building analysis, discourse analysis, architectural theory, and building science. Most of the fieldwork data ⸻including home visits and interviews with residents and thermal experts ⸻was collected in winter 2017-18, in the northern part of the non-heating zone of China, especially in the city of Chongqing. Our architectural view of heating in the non-heating zone perceives buildings as agents that mediate between the macro- and the micro-scale, between the North and South, and between inside and outside.
  • Varia

  • Debate

  • Documents/Sources

    • “A cross section of colonial technology”?Zooming in and zooming out on a photograph of a 1930s German trade fair - Monika Motylińska accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Abstract The starting point of the article is one selected photograph depicting a fragment of an exhibition on the so-called 'tropical' or 'colonial technology' (Germ. Tropentechnik, Kolonialtechnik) from 1934, which was part of the spring trade fair in Leipzig, Germany. This particular visual source serves here as a starting point for a reflection on the specificities of the German discourse on building in the tropics. This discourse started during Germany's colonial era but, as several archival documents and publications from the 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s prove, did not stop with the 1919 treaty of Versailles and Germany's loss of its colonies. Such continuity of German technical expertise has been so far overlooked in the international scholarship, especially regarding the domain of architectural and urban planning for the tropics. From this particular photograph, I am zooming out on the set of broader research questions. Apart from connecting it to the colonial ambitions of the time, the 1934 Leipzig trade fair which is evoked in this source might be simultaneously also linked to the entrepreneurial thinking of the period. It testifies of a visible interest among smaller, specialized companies in the particular typology of a lodging for the tropics, or so-called Tropenhaus, a domain of construction that seems not to have preoccupied larger, general contractors from the German construction business. Finally, this particular photograph can be linked to discussions on construction materials suitable for usage in tropical climate zones.
    • "Kolonialtechnik im Querschnitt"?Ein Foto einer deutschen Messe aus den 1930er Jahren – zwischen Nah- und Weitblick - Monika Motylińska accès libre
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