In this two-part feature Archinect's Aaron Plewke chats with Philippe Rahm. This second half of the interview discusses Rahm's work and how it relates to food, astronomy, environment and thermodynamics.
Answers translated from French to English by Sarah Jazmine Fugate
How exactly are you incorporating food's thermal effects into architectural projects?
"Does one know the moral effects of food? Is there a philosophy of nutrition?" These couple of phrases taken from the work of Friedrich Nietzsche have been with me since the 1990s, along with the very beautiful text of Gilles Deleuze on Spinoza (Philosophie pratique) in which he writes: "All the phenomena that we group into the category of the Bad, sickness, death, are of this type: mauvaise rencontre?, indigestion, poisoning, intoxication." It seemed to me very early on that a physiological relationship was necessarily at play in our relationship with space, but also with things, with objects. The quality of an object is very clearly evaluated by our senses but also by our interior predisposition. A physiological even a dietary predisposition is described very accurately by the neurobiologist Jean-Didier Vincent when he gives the example of a fois gras to describe the interaction between the corporeal space (that of neuron and hormones) and the extra-corporeal space (that of the senses) : the same fois-gras seems to us like a beautiful object of desire when one is hungry while it seems repulsive if one has just eaten sauerkraut. My work is therefore marked out by products "for eating" of which the forms are no longer really designed in the space, but in the body: an architecture which shrinks itself in order to become an object of design just to shrink again until it becomes odor, taste, food.
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The new Olduvai Gorges
My exhibition "The new Olduvai Gorges" at the School of Architecture of The Royal Danish School of Fine Arts during the Cop 15 in December 2009 is a part of this kind of strategy. It provokes emergence of new architectural solutions without acting any longer on demarcation around a comfortable climate where the body temperature can remain effortlessly at 37°C, but in the appearance, from the inside, from endogenous architectural solutions. It investigates microscopic, digestible, electromagnetic forms of architecture, somewhere between dietetics, thermogenics and aesthetics. We have created three stations in the exhibition room, three spots, each of which solves an uncomfortable climatic situation found on the earth. The answer to a climate that is too cold being to add more warmth, the answer to a climate that is too warm being to add more cool, and finally the answer to a situation that is too dark being to add more light.
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The new Olduvai Gorges
If we want to know the essence of architecture, we finally have to return to our "endothermic" condition: the necessity of maintaining a body temperature at 37°Celsius. Architecture exists because of the enzymes necessary for the biochemical reactions of the human metabolism. Present by the billions in our body, these molecules can work in an optimal way only at a temperature between 35 and 37,6°C. So man has to maintain his constant physical temperature independently of the outside temperature. For that purpose, he uses the internal means of his own body, such as various mechanisms of physiological thermoregulation, and external means of the body, such as clothing and/or construction of shelter. So architecture is not autonomous. It really the range of the means used to maintain our temperature close to 37°. It is an answer to a steep decline or increase of the body temperature with, for example, vasodilatation mechanisms, sweating, thirst, or muscular contractions. These answers are remotely applied or associated. They develop from the natural to the artificial, the microscopic to the macroscopic, the biochemical to the meteorological, the alimentary to the urban, somewhere between physiological determinism and pure cultural freedom. In this mission, architecture appears to be a bigger from of vasoconstriction, or, conversely, feeding appears to be a smaller variant of architecture. Because finally architecture is nothing else than a shape increased by mechanisms of physical thermoregulators, an increased form, exogenous change, and artificial thermogenesis or thermolysis.
From an anthropological point of view, when we think that we are too cold, or the opposite, when we think that we are too warm, we find the cause outside of ourselves, in an inadequate outside climate, at an atmospheric level. And we try to make this outside climate comfortable by correcting it – that is the origin and the mission of architecture. From an anthropological point of view, when we think that we are too cold, or the opposite, when we think that we are too warm, we find the cause outside of ourselves, in an inadequate outside climate, at an atmospheric level. And we try to make this outside climate comfortable by correcting it – that is the origin and the mission of architecture. In reality, the first signs of architecture are physiological and totally internal and autonomous, to perspire if it is too warm or to shiver if it is too cold. They are the first answers to a rise or a reduction of the body temperature due to an unfavorable thermal environment. Then, in the simplest way, the most rudimentary gestures come: to drink if it is too warm to lower temperature by evaporation, or to eat if it is too cold in order to launch the combustion process of nutriments which will produce some heat in the body.
After these endogenous corrections, if nevertheless the body does not manage to compensate for the too-cool or too-warm temperature of the outside environment, a range of geographical corrections develops. First action of correction is a movement, that of migration or transhumance, to move, to change place, to pass from the cold to the warm environment, to put ourselves in the sun or in the shade. The second action is to get dressed or to undress, to wear white clothes that reflect the heat or to dress in thick clothes which isolate. The third action is to build shade and freshness artificially or to build sheltered places, warm and without air movement. These exogenous measures which we take from the outside world are only an outside body projection, outside a phenomenon of thermogenesis when it is too cold, or of thermolyse when it is too warm. To paraphrase Vitruvius, architecture in cold countries or winter appears as an increased, exogenous thermogenesis, outside the body. And architecture from warm countries or summer gives itself as an exteriorized thermolyse, correcting artificially the uncomfortable part of nature.
Thermogenesis is the production of heat in the body in case of cold. It happens as a result of physical activity or absorption of food. It consumes a lot of energy. Through thermogenesis, we activate shivers, we stimulate metabolism, and various hormones that warm up our body to maintain it around 37° C. In order to fuel thermogenesis, we find food, mainly proteins, that is meat or fish, and also sugar. The largest part of the food is used for this mechanism. The digestion of proteins, their combustion in Krebs' cycle in particular, creates a great deal of heat, increasing the body temperature.
Eating is an internal form of the same process of thermal reactions as the one urging us to build houses in cold climates. Also, typical constructions from warm countries, riads, porticoes, thick walls, are exteriorized forms of thermolysis, this function of the body, which serves to dissipate surplus of heat by vasodilatation or sweating.
Architects of today investigate the extents of architectural means, making sense of sustainable development. They have to understand how they can limit energy consumption and production of greenhouse gas and, as we know, this is all about the reduction of the energy used in buildings, in heating, etc. It might seem surprising to want to go back to the profound understanding of reasons and means of architecture, but the problem of global warming suddenly brings the climatic mission, the responsibilities of architecture into mind. Architects of today investigate the extents of architectural means, making sense of sustainable development. They have to understand how they can limit energy consumption and production of greenhouse gas and, as we know, this is all about the reduction of the energy used in buildings, in heating, etc. Today, we know which measures should be taken concerning urbanization. We advocate essentially for a densification of the city and for a concentration of functions to limit energy wasted in transportation. We take measures now concerning building where we advocate, on one hand, for the use of renewable energy and, on the other hand, for a considerable improvement of thermal insulation of the building envelope coupled with a controlled renewal of air. But do we have architecture acting on a more moderate, finer, smaller, thriftier level? Less heavy, less present architecture, a diluted, almost homoeopathic architecture, but still having the ambition of a climatic correction of elements which need to be respected? Today, we would like to go further down in scale of measures of climatic corrections in order to investigate sensitive zones closer to the body, on the limit of our skin, to reach the point where architecture dissolves and becomes pure thermogenesis.
But don't let us make a mistake! This search consists not only in saving energy spent in the building and in fighting global warming, but rather it is also a question of discovering new modes of houses and spatial compositions, of elaborating new strategies of design and beauty, where scales mix, where architecture becomes as much construction and structures as food and sweating.
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Digestible Gulf Stream
For the installation "Digestible Gulf Stream" showed by Aaron Betsky as one of the 20 manifestos of the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, I proposed to add two culinary preparations to the two radiators plates that directly stimulate the sensory receptors of hot and cold at the cerebral level and that can be eaten or applied to the body. The first preparation, on the upper cold plate, contained mint, which has molecules of crystalline origin known as menthol that cause the same sensation in the brain as the coolness perceptible at a temperature of 15°C. The menthol activates the TRPM8 (transient receptor potential) molecular sensory receptors on the skin and in the mouth that stimulate the group of peripheral sensorial neurons known as cold-sensitive units. The second composition, on the lower hot plate, contained chili, in which one of the molecules, capsaicin, activates the neuro-receptor TRPV1, which is sensitive to temperatures over 44°C.
The traditional field of architecture thus expands, operating on both the atmospheric and gastronomic scales, breaking down the barriers between internal and external, body and space, neurology and physiology. The sensations of hot and cold may be perceived as much inside the body (diet) as outside (atmosphere). Architecture becomes a 'Gulf Stream' that polarises the contrasts on different scales (hot/cold, low/high, clothed/unclothed, internal/external, rest/activity) to give rise to architecture as a convective movement of air, creating a place like geography, designing space like climate, atmosphere and gastronomy.
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I also built a small cafeteria for the Museum Zadkine in Les Arques in France, shown afterward in Switzerland in Ittingen called "Glissement construit" where the idea of the site, the place, is connected to the idea of taste, of "terroir", a slipping categorization due to global warming.
In addition to pursuing competitions, how do you obtain commissions?
There are direct commissions which have been coming, in the end, fairly regularly.
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For example the scenography of Spring 2009, White Geology planned for La Force de l'Art 02, the second triennial contemporary art fair at the Grand Palais, is an exploration of the reflection of a background and the power of a white surface to emit light and create optical reflection. The material used for the background serves simply to ensure a high degree of reflection, 80%, and diffract and diffuse the light. It is therefore the opposite of exhibition design in the sense that it is not the work of art that fits into the architecture, but the architecture which yields to the demands of the work of art. The exhibits will work together to shape the landscape through the simultaneous play of pressure and checks and balances. A landscape that evolves, sinking and swelling, making shady spaces underneath away from the light of the Grand Palais and bright areas above exposed to the changing daylight that floods through the roof. Shallow, objective and devoid of mystery, White Geology has a reflection level that is similar to snow – 80% –, where all shadows and architectural ornament are obliterated.
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I also get calls for expositions in museums and galleries. I use the museum as a place to study and to do research in laying out a new architectural language. My last exposition happened in the Louisiana museum. There I presented the project "Domestic Astronomy." The project is a prototype for an apartment where one no longer inhabits the surface but the atmosphere. Leaving the ground, function and furniture rise up and disperse, evaporating in the atmosphere of the apartment, stabilizing according to certain temperatures in relation to the body, clothing, and activity.
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According to the law of Achimedes, hot air rises while cold air descends and this physical reality has a direct influence on the distribution of temperatures inside the apartment. One can measure large disparities of temperature between the floor and the ceiling. For example, it will be 19 degrees Celsius at the level of the feet and 28 degrees Celsius, three meters above that, right under the ceiling. That temperature difference is absolutely useless and even becomes a problem today in the face of the question of global warming against which the politics of sustainable development are fighting by reducing energy consumption in building interiors. In effect, these 8 degrees Celsius above 20 degrees Celsius, which one find just under the ceiling, are wasted energy that benefits no one.
Our purpose today is to take into account these physical disparities in the distribution of temperatures in the space and to take advantage of them in order to transform the way of inhabiting space by leaving the exclusivity of a horizontal mode of habitation in the interior for a vertical mode of inhabitation where one can inhabit different thermal zones, different strata, different altitudes.
... the spaces where one is naked will be heated more intensely while the spaces through which one merely passes or those where one is dressed more warmly must be colder. In order to economize energy, the Swiss standard for construction (SIA) recommends heating the different spaces of the house to different temperatures, in order to optimize the energy spent as a function of the activity and the dress of its users. Accordingly, the spaces where one is naked will be heated more intensely while the spaces through which one merely passes or those where one is dressed more warmly must be colder. The SIA standard recommends therefore heating toilets to 15 degrees Celsius, the bedroom to 16 degrees Celsius, the kitchen to 18 degress Celsius, the living room to 20 degrees Celsius, and the bathroom to 22 degrees Celsius. According to these objectives and according to the Archimedian principle of the rising of hot air, we propose splitting the program of an apartment into the entire atmosphere of a single room by looking for the different suitable temperatures for the different functions according to the different activities of the inhabitant and his clothing.
It is necessary then to define the sources of heat, by radiation, by convection. The artificial interior of architecture is a space where the elements which constitute the atmosphere which in the natural world form an ensemble of relationships of causes and effects, constituting an ecological system where all the elements are related and interdependent in energy-related, chemical, physical, and biological exchanges. Space, light, temperature, movement of air, are in this way, in the natural world, completely intertwined and their variations, in large astronomical, temporal, thermodynamic, and biological movements, form the atmosphere of the planet as an ecosystem. Our purpose today is to reintroduce in the interior a sort of second astronomy whose purpose will be in no way naturalistic but on the contrary will come directly from the center of artificial means of creating artificial interior climates of modernity. It is in this way that we propose to reassemble a whole, to recompose in a single unit, the different climatic elements separated by the techniques of the building industry for constructing a global interior ecosystem as a new sort of astronomy of the interior where temperature, light, time, and space recombine into one single atmosphere, a single temporality, a geography.
Like the sun, artificial lights produce heat Because luminous electromagnetic radiation is energy itself. Paradoxically, electric "light" gives off more invisible heat than it does visible light. Depending upon the technique used, a larger or smaller part of the energy will be transformed into heat and another into light. The incandescent light bulbs used in domestic space throughout the 20th century have an output effiency of light that is extremely weak, since for one bulb of 100W, only two watts are transformed into light, while 98W stay invisible as pure heat. The more recent compact florescent light bulbs have a better output efficiency. For the same luminosity of a 100W incandescent bulb, one needs only a 20 W compact fluorescent, and of these 20 W, 6 W are converted into light and only 14 W are lost in the form of heat. Depending upon the choice of light bulb, a certain temperature of light is emitted, hotter for incandescent bulbs, colder for compact fluorescents. What one knows for certain is that the bulbs we use to light our interior spaces are in reality more a source of heat than of light, the relationship in favor of heat, light being almost a minor collateral consequence of these energy sources. The reality of a collusion between heat and light becomes in our project for the Louisiana museum the principal of a production in the interior of an atmosphere with its meteorology and its temporality. We propose in this way to heat the space of the Louisiana museum with only electric lights, in a fashion similar to that of the solar system where the source of heating, the sun, is combined with that of light. The space of the Louisiana is 225 square meters. On can calculate that 5000W are necessary in order to heat the space correctly. We also propose to produce theses 5000 through two light sources arranged diagonally in the space, one incandescent, the other compact fluorescent. Thus, for each bulb, we produce 98 W on the incandescent side and 14 W on the compact fluorescent side, which is 112 W per pair. Thus, 45 incandescent light bulbs at 100W and 45 compact fluorescent light bulbs are needed to heat the space. Arranged diagonally in the space, programmed according to a thermostat set to a differential of 16 degrees Celsius for the high compact fluorescent radiator and 19 degrees Celsius for the incandescent source situated at the bottom of the space, this asymmetrical disposition provokes the formation of a thermal plug up high which permits the hotter heat below to spread out horizontally. An atmosphere and its meteorology are formed in this way, in which one occupies all the spatial and climatic dimensions, between latitudes of luminous intensity and longitudes of temperature and color, altitudes of temperature. The thermostats provoke a luminous temporality by turning the lights off and on depending upon the temperatures measured, generating a true interior astronomy, with its incandescent days and its compact fluorescent nights.
At the moment, we are also working on a housing project in Germany which picks up on these ideas for a "convective house" condominium. The plan and the section of the building distort in relation to the program and the Archimedian principle in order to offer different spaces at different temperatures.
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A building as a convective form. The design of this condominium building is based on the natural law of Archimedes that makes warm air rise while cold air falls. Very often in an apartment, a real difference of temperature can be measured between the floor and the ceiling, a difference that could be up to 10 degrees Celsius at certain times. Depending upon our level of physical activity and the thickness of the clothes that we are wearing, the temperature of the room doesn't have to be at the same level everywhere in the apartment.
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Because we are protected by the blanket in bed, the temperature of the bedroom can be reduced to 16 degrees Celsius. In the kitchen, because we are dressed and physically active, the temperature of the space can be 18 degrees Celsius. The living room is often heated to 20 degrees Celsius because we are dressed, but not moving, remaining motionless on the sofa. The bathroom is the warmest space of the apartment because we are naked there. Staying at these precise temperatures in these specific areas could save a lot of energy by reducing the level of the temperature to the exact need. Related to these physical thermal settings, we propose to fit the apartment into different depths, different heights, the space where we will sleep will be lower while the bath will be higher in altitude. The apartment becomes a thermal landscape with its different heat altitudes, where the inhabitant can wander freely inside as in a natural landscape, looking for specific thermal qualities related to seasons or to the moment of the day. By deforming the horizontal slabs of the floors, different heights of spaces are created with different temperatures. The deformation of the slabs also gives the building its appearance from the outside.
Energy transfer through heat can occur between objects by radiation, conduction, and convection. Convection is usually the dominant form of heat transfer in gases. This is a term used to characterize the combined effects of conduction and fluid flow. In convection, enthalphy transfer occurs through the movement of hot or cold portions of the fluid together with heat transfer by conduction. Commonly, an increase in temperature produces a reduction in density. Hence, when air is heated, hot air rises, displacing the colder denser air, which falls. In this free convection, the forces of gravity and buoyancy drive the fluid movement.
If the process of the design follows the new goal of energy reduction linked to the recommendations of sustainable development, it also offers, through these new constraints, some new shapes and some new ways of living.
I also received a prize for example for the VIA, a French association of valorization for innovation in furnishings which permitted me to develop a range of interior objects called "De-territorialized soils (terroirs)." "De-territorialized soils (terroirs)" is a study of contemporary furnishing and lifestyles, financed by the VIA, the French association for the promotion of design.
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De-territorialized soils (terroirs)
It was presented at the Milan Furniture Fair in May 2009 and will be shown at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in December 2009. This study proposes three new types of furniture which respond to the sustainable development objective of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. In terms of the need to increasingly thermally isolate the interior from the outside and to cut the natural bonds between interior and exterior, we propose a reintroduction of the idea of "terroir" and local climate in the constraints of the current technical apparatuses. We thus propose three objects, which recreate a kind of chemical bond with the Parisian context. It is initially a system of radiators made up of calcareous stones from the grounds of Parisian soils whose position in space generates a typical mini-wind of the west. It is then a double-flow air exchanger which renews the air of the interior space by controlling ambient moisture using various typical wood species which come from the limestone soils of the forests surrounding Paris. There is also a lamp which produces the light of a Parisian spring day and which one can choose the hour of the day by turning the switch. There are also three chairs whose bases, placed at various heights, seek to benefit from the various temperatures present in the room.
In the end, I participate rather rarely in competitions—two or three a year. But certain competition projects are important like the Kantor Museum in Poland in 2006 where we won the "prix d'honneur" with a project where it was a question of living in the space between double pane glass. This project is literally an increase of the space of a few millimeters between the panes of glass in a window with double or triple glazing to the size of a liveable space of a few meters. In precisely the same manner that contemporary windows are constructed adding up layers of glass to improve the insulation by decreasing the coefficient of thermal transmission K (W/m2.K) (simple glass: K = 5.6, double pane glass: K = 3, triple glass: K = 2), our project adds the layers to improve the thermal coefficient gradually, one layer after another, offering a variety of temperatures and luminosities. Against the homogeneity of the modern climate, we propose a diversity of atmosphere, light, and temperature open to transhumance. According to the type of activity, according to the season, we will prefer one layer over the other, hotter or further to the north, more constant in its temperature or more luminous. Architecture finds here, in its own language and in the energy needs related to sustainable development, the means to create interpretable spaces, extraordinary, freely opened to future behaviors and functions.
What elements do you foresee adding to your physiological, meteorological architectural vocabulary in the future? How do you imagine your architectural language will develop over "the next 5 years"?
The building industry is one of the principle industries responsible for global warming because the combustion of fossil fuels for heating and cooling houses is the cause of nearly 50% of greenhouse gases. After some resistance and procrastination, the whole of the profession is today mobilized to the cause of sustainable development by pleading for better thermal isolation of facades, the use of renewable energy, the taking into account of the material cycle, or of more compact forms of construction.
Vapor, heat, or light could themselves become the bricks of contemporary construction? We see it, these measures have a very precise objective, which is to fight against global warming by reducing CO2 emissions. But beyond the end, outside of these responsible and ecological objectives, is there some way that the climate could constitute a new architectural language, one of architectural thought as meteorology? Could one imagine that these climatic phenomena such as convection, conduction, and evaporation for example could become the new tools of architectural composition? Vapor, heat, or light could themselves become the bricks of contemporary construction?
Climate change obligates us to profoundly rethink and to displace our interest in a purely visual and functional approach for a more sensitive approach which lingers more on invisible and climatic parameters of space. Shifting from the full to the empty, from the visible to the invisible, from metrical composition to thermal composition, architecture as meteorology opens other dimensions, more sensual and more variable, in which lmits dissipate and solids evaporate. It is not about constructing images and functions but about opening up climates and interpretations. At a large scale, meteorological architecture explores the atmospheric and poetic potential of new techniques in building such as ventilation, heating, double-flux ventilation air exchangers, or insulation. At the microscopic scale, it probes new fields of cutaneous, olfactory, and hormonal perception. Between the infinite smallness of physiology and the the infiniteness largeness of meteorology, architecture must construct sensual exchanges between the body and space, and must invent therein the new aesthetics capable of modifying lastingly the ways of life of tomorrow.
To tell the truth, I have always tried to improve upon ideas that I might have had but which have yet to find a convincing form. In 2005, for example, I worked on an architectural project where water vapor's passing through the house in the building, was the basis for the architectural form. Since 2005, I have been doing projects on the same idea, trying to improve it. The first project was called the Maison Mollier.
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The project for the Mollier houses reveals and characterizes an invisible, yet essential connection between interior space and humidity. It aimes to transform a problem of building physics into an architectural question to the point that this question becomes an efficient maker of form. It introduces new sensual and physiological relations between the inhabitant and the space directly into the constraints of the technical equipment of the building. It engages closer ties with the lake landscape of Vassivière in Limousin, physical and chemical ties, as it is situated in the material character of the territory itself, in its humidity. An occupant of an indoor space produces water vapor, not in a constant manner, but according to the primary activity to which each room is dedicated. The presence of water vapor in the air originates naturally from respiration and hot water usage, leading to risks of condensation and damage to the construction. While today, the only solution to excess interior water vapor is the common use of technical ventilation systems, we propose in this project to shape the space in order to inaugurate a profound and complex relation between the inhabitants, their bodies, and the space according to its physical and chemical characteristics.
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Consequently, our architecture is designed, and the living spaces are given form, according to the variation of the relative humidity level, from the driest to the most humid, from 20% to 100% relative humidity. By means of the water vapor content, the quality of the architecture takes shape as the real and physical immersion of the inhabitants' bodies in the humid and variable body of the space. Our project establishes a stratification of the levels of humidity within the space. A sleeping person emits 40 grams of water vapor per hour (bedroom) while he produces up to 150 grams per hour when active (living room). The use of a bathroom gives off up to 800 grams in 20 minutes and se of a kitchen 1500 grams per hour. Like a set of Russian nesting dolls, the living areas are designed according to the route of air renewal through the house, from the driest to the most humid, from the freshest to the stalest, from the bedroom to the bathroom. But our project refuses to program the space functionally according to specific activities. It creates spaces that are more or less dry, more or less humid, to be occupied freely, to be appropriated according to the weather and the seasons. The plan of the house is a spatial representation of the Mollier diagram, creating new programmatic correspondences, in which one space can receive several functions that are assumed to be separated. The driest room, between 0% and 30% RH (relative humidity) could be a drying room or a sauna. The next room, between 30% and 60% RH, could be a bedroom, an office, or a living room. The third room, still more humid, between 60% and 90% RH, could be used as a bathroom, a living room, or a kitchen. The last room, the most humid, between 90% and 100% RH, could be used as a living room or a pool. But here, none of the rooms are specifically determined by a function. They remain freely appropriable according to the level of humidity sought.
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Then, I used the same principle for a project for a spa and hammam at Lyon in 2008. The management of humidity levels stemming from the development of its control systems transformed this project in order to create a new typology of humidity levels, between the drier areas in the north to the more humid areas in the south. The project is essentially an architectural geography—a landscape composed solely of water vapor—which is formed, with its longitudinal zones of relative humidity manipulated in order to accommodate the programmatic requirements of a spa, sauna, and hammam, all the while following the natural movement of vapor through the building, from the driest spaces to the most humid as a constant and continuous flow between the movement of new air in the drier northern areas and the extraction of stale air in the more humid areas to the south.
Today, I am again working on water vapor by trying no longer to contradict it, to direct it with walls, but through the simple effect of high and low pressure in an open space. To work with meteorology is to search for a lighter architecture, which modifies itself with time, depending upon the weather, according to the seasons, an atmospheric architecture, made of phenomena and sensory experiences. That is what I am searching to achieve today.
Philippe Rahm, born in 1967 studied at the Federal Polytechnic Schools of Lausanne and Zurich. He obtained his architectural degree in 1993 and currently works in Paris, France and Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2002, he was chosen to represent Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale in Venice and is one of the 20 manifesto’s architects of the Aaron Betsky’s 2008 Architectural Venice Biennale. In 2007, he had a personal exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide and was a resident at the Villa Medici in Rome (2000). He was Head-Master of Diploma Unit 13 at the AA School in London in 2005-2006, Visiting professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux-Arts of Paris in 2003, Mendrisio Academy of Architecture in Switzerland in 2005 and 2006, at the ETH Lausanne in 2006 and 2007 and at the School of Architecture of Paris-Malaquais in Paris in 2008. He is currently a Professor at the ECAL Lausanne and is working on several private and public projects in France, Poland, England, Italy and Austria.
Philippe Rahm's work can currently* be seen at the Guggenheim NYC , Pratt Manhattan Gallery , and at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture in Toronto . * at the time of publication
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I currently work as a designer in SOM's Education Lab, primarily on academic projects. I've practiced architecture since 2005, working in Florida, St. Louis, and New York. My project experience ranges in size from small art galleries and academic suites to large institutional buildings and ...