Interiors, Environments, Atmosphere

Confronted with the new importance given to energy and sustainability requirements, the architectural discipline is not only in need of new technological knowledge and tools for design. It requires also a critical reexamination of some of its founding assumptions. Should architects, for instance, give less importance to structural considerations and give instead precedence to a thermodynamic approach advocated by theorists and practitioners like Inaki Abalos or Sanford Kwinter? Is performativity destined to replace more traditional modes of assessments of what constitutes successful design? How should one envisage the relation between the development of the digital in architecture and the quest for sustainability?

The ambition of this lecture course is to provide a theoretical and historical background to the current interrogations regarding the impact of sustainability. It will promote a different approach to architectural issues in which questions pertaining to the interior, to ambiances and to the relation between built objects and environmental issues will play a central role. Topics covered will include the evolution of the conception of the interior from the Renaissance to the present; the history of light, sound and heat in architecture; the importance of air in architectural design; the rise of environmental concerns; the history of thermodynamics; insulation; systems theory; and their impact on architectural theory and practice.

The course will be coordinated by Antoine Picon & Kiel Moe who will give the majority of the classes. Conceived as a platform for discussion and exchange, it will also feature a number of presentations by other GSD faculty.

The course will give an importance place to reading and discussion. At the end of the semester, the students enrolled will have to produce a paper developing a theme related to the course.