Global warming is renewing our perception of the climate, but also of architecture. What we recognised before as the natural climate is no longer natural. Human activity and CO2 consumption is changing the atmosphere of the planet. Warming a space, the essential mission of architecture is now a planetary phenomenon. The old architectural dichotomy between indoor climate, which is artificial, and outdoor climate, which was natural, ceases to exist.
“God is dead”, announced Nietzsche at the end of the 19th century. Men took his place in designing the planet. Yes, we really became gods, but young gods, teenage gods, sometimes drunk, with a tiny sense of responsibility. If the atmosphere of the planet is becoming artificial, could the artificial climate of the building and the city become natural? The roles are reversed! Architecture has to generate new nature in this artificial global environment. From inertia, architecture has to be breathing; from functionality and rationality, architecture has to become geography and meteorology. We have to engage biological, physiological, ecological bonds between space and body, to create city-as-environment, building-as-atmosphere, with their variations in temperature, humidity and light. Having escaped from functionality, architecture becomes open spaces, open climates as natural geographies, offering unpredictable situations of space and time, to be interpreted freely by its inhabitants.
Originally published in ICON magazine
Issue 404 | 2007