ATMOSPHERE AS FORM IN ARCHITECTURE
Over the past 15 years the usage of the terms atmosphere, atmospheric, or atmotopo has increased exponentially to address a wide variety of ideas and concepts.
Different fields of knowledge such as ecology, energy, economy, art, urbanism, and architecture are using these terms in different contexts and with distinct meanings. Similarly, the idea of atmosphere has specifically permeated many design practices and is being used to address a wide variety of questions, ranging from the typological capacity of a given form to create a specific ambience, to the technical means to generate climatic situations, and to the perceptual dimensions of architecture. Furthermore, the term atmosphere not only refers to specific design questions but also to the ideologies underlying them, revealing that almost none of the elements connected to the question of atmosphere are aligned under the same ideology.
Discussing the idea of atmosphere in the context of design practices is a pressing issue today. The fact that a whole range of questions are being labelled with the term atmosphere suggests that there is an underlying need for further thinking and discussion—it seems urgent that we establish an arena in which to frame its problematic elements as well as its potentials.
AIRSCAPES aspires to create a forum for debate, a space within which the different perspectives can be discussed, addressing how the term atmosphere is being used in design theory and practice. AIRSCAPES involves a discussion of the similarities but also of the differences, the contradictions, and potentials among the different ways in which the term is being used.
AIRSCAPES is also a collection of essays on design theory and practice that, drawing on a wide variety of fields of knowledge—from architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design, to philosophy, thermodynamics, and physiology—, intends to discuss the idea of atmosphere within design practices, opening up new fields of aesthetical sensibilities.
AIRSCAPES is a collection of seven categories that, pertaining to core discussions within architectural thought, can frame the debate surrounding atmosphere from a variety of points of view.
Even these seven categories have been present in the lexicon of design practice and discussions during the last few years: They have, however, lacked a clear ontological and epistemological understanding. AIRSCAPES overlays the philosophical thinking of Gilbert Simondon, Gilles Deleuze, and Baruch Spinoza with contemporary theories on atmosphere, coming from thinkers such as Peter Sloterdijk, Bruno Latour, or Gernot Bohme, all of whom deal with themes that will aid us in our exploration of this multi-faceted concept.
AIRSCAPES questions the overarching notion of stability against other forms of equilibrium within architecture. Among other ideas, thermodynamics, meta-stability, potentiality, heterogeneity, and information are some of the key concepts that form the backbone of the book.
AIRSCAPES poses the hypothesis that the phenomenological vein within architectural debates on atmospherehas limited the scope of discussion, closing new paths on theory and practice and the possibility of an aesthetical renovation. From this vantage point, a materialist view of reality can shed light on this exploration; an ontological and epistemological understanding of materialism can open up new pathways.
AIRSCAPES defines, synthesizes, and classifies directionalities within atmosphere as form in architecture, providing a curated list of projects to reinforce the different ideas surrounding the concept of atmosphere.
Manuel de Landa, Kiel Moe, Sean Lally, Philippe Rahm, Aerocene.org, Rafael Beneytez, Javier Garcia German, Salmaan Craig, Silvia Benedito, Marie Bardet, Ersela Kripa, Stephen Mueller, Karin Ardon Dryer between other participants will discuss the very notion of atmosphere in architectural terms.