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This project is concerned with the invisible modiﬁcation of space by modern climate control. The aim is to broaden the ﬁeld of architecture to the design of the invisible, of electromagnetic ﬁelds and chemical realms. Thus, proceeding from one of the primary rationales of domestic architecture, that of artiﬁcially deﬁning a climate habitable by man, we seek to deﬁne a quality that is at once chemical and plastic. The house is to be constructed in the countryside of the Vendée, near a small river, at a distance from other dwellings. We imagine it as a winter refuge, a conditioned space that will afford protection against cold and harsh weather during the rigors of winter. Our design is intended to restore to specialist engineers the task of designing the technical aspects of the building : heating and ventilation as architectural elements. Hence, the design considers the physical material of the heating and ventilation system not merely as a secondary aspect of architecture, but as its fundamental raison d’être. Positioned in an outdoor winter temperature of 5°, for example, the interior of the house is climate-controlled to 20°, with 50% humidity. If modern climate control of space is abstract and invisible, we propose here to construe it as the artiﬁcial reproduction of a geographically localized, chemically determined climate. Thus, in winter the interior of the house in the Vendée becomes a meridional or a tropical climate, at the choice of the occupant. For this purpose we have developed an architecture of air, invisible but physically modiﬁed. The heating system becomes a space for the production of this air, and contains not just the technical apparatus, but also exotic plants, earth, microorganisms and mineral substances from a region of the planet where the temperature is actually 20°, with 50% humidity. These plants, through photosynthesis and their emanations, will determine the chemical quality of the air that will then be pulsed into the living space. The light in this space will be determined by the real-time reproduction of the astronomical rhythm and light intensity characteristic of the delocalized region.
teamAs Déscosterd & Rahm, associés: Jérôme Jacqmin, Catherine Rossier
location, dateVendée, France, 2002