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Dossier : Entanglements of Architecture and Comfort beyond the Temperate Zone

Urban Climate Indoors: Rethinking Heating Infrastructure in China's Non-Heating Zone

Sascha Roesler et Madlen Kobi

Résumés

Résumé

Intérieurs urbains : repenser les infrastructures de chauffage dans la zone non chauffée de la Chine. Cet article s’oppose à une vision eurocentrée des questions de climatisation et d’architecture en s’intéressant aux pratiques de chauffage dans la région « non chauffée » du sud de la Chine. En application de la politique gouvernementale des années 1950, la Chine fut divisée entre un Nord chauffé, doté d’infrastructures de chauffage, et un Sud non chauffé. La plupart des immeubles de grande hauteur construits dans cette zone sont dépourvus d’isolation et hébergent une classe moyenne toujours plus nombreuse, se chauffant dans de mauvaises conditions : principalement à l’aide d’appareils électriques portatifs, ou en ne chauffant qu’une partie du logement. La méthodologie associe analyse ethnographique et analyse du discours, théorie architecturale et science du bâtiment. La plupart des données de terrain — dont les visites à domicile et les entretiens avec les résidents et les experts — ont été recueillies au cours de l'hiver 2017-2018, dans la partie nord de la zone non chauffée, en particulier dans la ville de Chongqing. Cette approche des problématiques architecturales de chauffage envisage les bâtiments comme des médiateurs, à mi-chemin des dimensions micro et macroscopiques, entre le Nord et le Sud, entre l’intérieur et l’extérieur.

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Entrées d’index

Index de mots-clés :

chauffage urbain, isolation, climatisation

Index géographique :

Asie, Chine, Chongqing

Index chronologique :

XXe siècle
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Texte intégral

  • 1 Jiat-Hwee Chang and Tim Winter, “Thermal Modernity and Architecture,” The Journal of Architecture, (...)
  • 2 David Eisenberg and Peter Yost, “Sustainability and Building Codes,” in Stephen M. Wheeler and Tim (...)
  • 3 In this article, we use the term “thermal infrastructure” to refer to material elements related to (...)

1When it comes to the historical reconstruction of climate control in the twentieth century, progress is usually the byword, the global spread of air-conditioning being only one example. However, as we outline in this paper, “thermal modernity” is manifested not only by the continuous distribution of infrastructure such as building services,1 but also by the radical exposure to hot and cold temperatures. In many cases, modern architecture has turned a blind eye to the climatic requirements dictated by the urban environment; all over the world, thin-walled concrete and brick structures have been constructed without insulation or heat-storing capacities, and in the absence of any building services. According to recent estimates, only about one-third of the world’s population “lives and works in resource-consumptive buildings—the sort of buildings described by modern building codes.”2 In many parts of the world, in the residential sector, cities are characterized by the absence of thermal infrastructure (district heating network and building services technology). As a result, the residents must take action to control microclimates, both inside and outside their buildings.3

2This paper highlights a specific heritage of thermal modernity in the cities of South China. Since 2011, more than 50 percent of China’s population has been housed in cities. Meanwhile, some 75 percent of the country’s total energy is consumed in cities, 30 percent by the housing sector.

1. China’s Great Heating Divide

  • 4 Shu Meng, “It’s time we turn on the heat in southern China,” Global Times, Nov. 1, 2013. URL: http (...)
  • 5 In many contexts, the design parameters for achieving certain indoor climatic conditions by means (...)
  • 6 This paradigm was articulated notably by the American geographer George Cressey. Writing on the cl (...)

3Unlike European countries, China’s thermal standards for buildings are not consistently oriented to outside temperatures. Heating demand is evaluated on the basis of a geographical rationale, rather than a thermal one. Accordingly, the paradigmatic distinction for buildings is the one between “north and south,” instead of a distinction between “inside and outside.” Adopting a Soviet model, the Chinese Communist government gave northern regions with colder climatic conditions priority in the development of district heating. Until the economic liberalization that occurred after Mao’s death, it was forbidden by law to provide residential buildings in southern China (defined as “everything south of the Qinling-Huai River”4) with district heating (fig. 01). The approach, a striking departure from the modern idea of a thermal universalism,5 implicitly followed a cultural geography of peoples and their supposed thermal resilience.6

Figure 1: China’s Great Heating Divide.

Figure 1: China’s Great Heating Divide.

Source: The authors.

The Non-heating Zone

  • 7 In addition to the Huai River Heating Policy, building construction today has to comply with diffe (...)
  • 8 See: Douglas Almond, Yuyu Chen, Michael Greenstone and Hongbin Li, “Winter Heating or Clean Air? U (...)

4Even today, that political decision, also known as the Huai River Heating Policy, has a tremendous impact on the everyday life and environment of the vast country. In the North, a strict district heating calendar rules: regardless of the prevailing outdoor temperatures in Beijing, the network heats all buildings from November 15 to March 15. Meanwhile, heating solutions in the South depend on a wide range of individual possibilities and installations of electric-powered devices (fig. 02). However, over the decades, the strict ban on heating has been replaced by a kind of indifference on the part of the state. The crude geographical separation into “north” and “south” governing the implementation of district heating infrastructure is increasingly supplemented by a more fine-grained standard determining regional building practices.7 While northern China must deal with both significantly elevated levels of air pollution and associated higher mortality rates due to the widespread heating systems based mainly on coal, the population south of the demarcation line is exposed to the cold without any official protection from building services during the winter months.8 The personal comfort of the residents depends to a large degree on the socio-economic status of the individual household.

Figure 2: A comic illustrating the perceived injustices of indoor comfort in winter, Southern China (left side), Northern China (right side).

Figure 2: A comic illustrating the perceived injustices of indoor comfort in winter, Southern China (left side), Northern China (right side).

Source: http://news.ycwb.com/​node_58712.htm. Accessed 10 May 2020

  • 9 Fieldwork Interview, 29 December 2017.

5The southern part of China—the so-called “hot summer and cold winter zone”—is commonly associated with tropical and subtropical conditions of high humidity and hot summers. Winters in the northern regions of China’s South, however, are cold and wet. Average temperatures of 3 to 7°C (37° to 44°F) between December and February vary only slightly between day and night. In megacities such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guiyang, and Chongqing, much of the housing stock is not designed to produce a noticeable difference between inside and outside temperatures. Likewise, heating practices are not aimed at producing a homogeneous indoor climate throughout the home. In virtually millions of cases, in fact, the climatic conditions in the unheated and uninsulated high-rise apartments of the urban centers are comparable to those of farmhouses in the countryside. In 1998, during a cold snap, the pipes inside unheated residential buildings in Shanghai were actually freezing (fig. 03). Those who suffer the most from changing urban climate conditions are the low-income families. Although the Socialist regime goal of the Huai River Heating Policy was to do away with class differences in living standards (banning thermal infrastructures for all), it actually evolved into a new kind of thermal inequality. In the words of a resident of Shanghai, “nowadays, if you have money, you can solve the heating problem by yourself. People don’t rely on the government’s help.”9

Figure 3: Shanghai (China), Feb. 10, 2013.

Figure 3: Shanghai (China), Feb. 10, 2013.

Source: BBC, Hatty Gottshalk, Your week in pictures. URL: https://www.bbc.com/​news/​in-pictures-21380897.

Studying Climate Control in China’s Non-heating Zone

  • 10 On the definition of these three thermal agencies, see Sascha Roesler, “Man-Made Weather. Toward N (...)

6The politically-motivated heating practices might well be improved by a cross-cultural understanding of climate control. The Huai River Heating Policy and the resulting forms of climate control force thermal comfort scholarship to reconsider yet again the normative concepts and objectives with regard to ​​sustainable construction, exemplified by highly insulated building envelopes, let us say. In a cross-cultural perspective, and considering China’s non-heating zone, “climate control” (or climatization) has to be examined as an interplay of three crucial agencies, “thermal structures,” “thermal practices,” and “thermal regimes”10:

  1. The first agency in climate control concerns thermal structures. It is usually the exclusive focus of architects when it comes to “the well-tempered environment.”11 Thermal structures refer to both the load-bearing “structure” (as a passive controller of the environment) and the infrastructure provided by “building services” (as an active controller of the environment).
  2. The second agency in climate control is thermal practices. Occurring inside and outside buildings, these practices can be defined as the ones related to a specific material culture regarding the use of objects involved in climate control. Thermal practices include how people inhabit their houses according to the season or the time of the day, or how they vary their manner of dress and diet to deal with changing outside temperatures.
  3. The third agency ultimately relates to what we would call thermal regimes. This concept denotes the complex relationship that societies form with their urban climate in different periods. Frequently, modern thermal regimes are superimposed upon naturally-given environmental conditions, such as the thermal standards applied in cities. Thermal regimes acquire their political and legal dimensions through governance, standards, and zoning.
  • 12 Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life [First published as Homo Sacer. 1. Il p (...)

China’s Great Heating Divide (ghd) and its associated dual heating system demonstrate clearly how these three thermal agencies are interrelated. An analysis of the heating system in China’s non-heating zone is incomplete if reference is made to only one of the three agencies. Undoubtedly, the influence of political regulation is fundamental, but only the consideration of the micro-spatial thermal practices and the building structures—with their missing insulation layer—complements the analysis. The unheated, uninsulated buildings of the non-heating zone nicely exemplify the “politicization of life”:12 the biopolitical horizon of modernity wherein the comfort of the single individual is determined by government policy. Michel de Certeau has introduced the two terms “strategy” and “tactic” in his Practice of Everyday Life in order to shift the focus in the social analysis away from those who rule to the ordinary people. An architectural study on heating in the non-heating zone must focus on the mutual exchange between the government’s strategies and the everyday tactics of the inhabitants. Architects seeking to conceptualize everyday climate-control practices in urban areas need to go beyond any one-sided focus on thermal structures (building envelopes and building services) and conceptualize practices, structures, and regimes as interlinked.

2. Body-territories of Chongqing: Everyday Life without Thermal Infrastructures

  • 13 “There is a popular saying in China that ‘南方人过冬靠属性,北方人过冬靠装备’ (Southerners spend winter because of (...)
  • 14 China installed the first boilers for central heating in buildings in Harbin, Changchun and Xi’An. (...)
  • 15 Ibid., p. 27.
  • 16 “La modernité technique a conjugué l’énergie sur le mode de la centralisation, de l’expansion et d (...)
  • 17 Ibid., p. 54.

7A Chinese saying goes: “Southerners get through winter with their attributes, Northerners survive it relying on equipment.”13 Bodies and building services appear as complementary ingredients of a specific Chinese thermoregulation. The central heating system of northern China relies on centrally-allocated power plants to heat water and pump it out to the radiators in the various apartments. Such a system, initially developed under the guidance of Soviet experts, was part of large social projects aimed at modernizing the country, often combining industrial facilities and housing units with public heating infrastructure (fig. 04). Due to precarious economic means, the first buildings that enjoyed central heating were factories, workshops, and dormitories.14 Only in the 1970s were urban apartment buildings included in the district heating system.15 Thermal modernity, not only in Russia and China, but globally, has promoted energy “in the mode of centralization, expansion, and connection;”16 architectural historian Fanny Lopez speaks of a “cult of the great infrastructure.”17

Figure 4: Joseph Stalin’s great plan for the transformation of nature, presented in 1948.

Figure 4: Joseph Stalin’s great plan for the transformation of nature, presented in 1948.

Source: Fanny Lopez, Le rêve d’une déconnexion. De la maison autonome à la cité auto-énergétique, Paris: Éditions de la Villette, 2014.

  • 18 Madlen Kobi, “Contours of an Urban Architectural Anthropology: Built Environment, Climate Control (...)
  • 19 Lisa Heschong, Thermal Delight in Architecture, Cambridge, MA; London: MIT Press, 1979, p. 44.
  • 20 Sascha Roesler, “Man-Made Weather. Toward New Climatic Research in Architecture,” op. cit. (note 1 (...)

8In China’s South, however, an everyday culture of coping with winter conditions has emerged. Against the background of a lack of large-scale and building-scale heating infrastructures, specific thermal practices and a material culture of personalized or privatized heating have sprung up in the official non-heating zone.18 American architect Lisa Heschong refers to microclimates in everyday life as “thermal places,” those spaces where specific climatic conditions promote certain social activities: “Places with desirable thermal qualities naturally tend to become social spaces as people gather to take advantage of the comfort found there. Examples of places with important thermal qualities that are also social spaces abound in every culture.”19 Thermal places refer both to the local climatic conditions and to the thermal practices of the users. Their usage and their meanings rely on the time of day and season, as well as on the requirements and expectations of the users. To best describe the thermal practices of the residents, we conduct what we call, “microclimate ethnographies.”20 Besides analyzing the construction of the building envelopes, we assess the thermal practices and material culture of heating ethnographically, gathering information by means of home visits and semi-structured interviews with residents and experts.

Body techniques

  • 21 Wu Song was one of around 20 in-depth informants of the household analysis in Chongqing. His pract (...)

9The following ethnographic case study, of a 35-year-old social scientist, Wu Song, highlights the use of a combination of electrified and non-electrified warming objects .21 Due to study opportunities and his subsequent employment as a researcher, Song moved some years ago from the Tibetan area in Gansu to Chongqing (fig. 05). He lives alone in a rented two-bedroom apartment on the 16th floor of a high-rise apartment building in a residential compound built in 2010 (fig. 06). Song’s apartment is functionally furnished and sparsely decorated. When we visited in December 2017, he immediately pointed out that his balcony and living room picture window both face south, and are sunny all year round. Song says that one can comfortably sunbathe on the balcony in winter (shai taiyang). Asked whether he feels cold indoors during winter, he replied, “well, it is okay. I use a blanket, and I drink warm water. In addition, I occasionally stand up to cook something that warms from the inside. [...] In winter, I get up in the morning, work a bit. Around lunch, I am cooking, then I am eating. Only then do I feel really warm. After that, I usually go out or sit down again and then I start cooking again. Look, here in the kitchen is a mobile hotplate. I sometimes put it on the table and then I put the food on it. When the hotplate is on the table, it also warms me a bit. Food is an important warming source.”

Figure 5: View over Chongqing (China), a city without heating infrastructure, Dec. 2017.

Figure 5: View over Chongqing (China), a city without heating infrastructure, Dec. 2017.

Source: Katja Jug.

Figure 6: View of Wu Song’s high-rise residential compound (Chongqing, China).

Figure 6: View of Wu Song’s high-rise residential compound (Chongqing, China).

Source: Madlen Kobi.

10A tour through his apartment reveals that he employs a diversity of small objects to heat his body in winter (fig. 07). From an infrared heater (xiao taiyang), purchased mainly for his mother, who recently visited for a few weeks, to a thermos (nuanping), always filled with hot water, a number of his possessions were related to body warming. On the sofa, for example, he kept a folded winter blanket, ready if needed. He had hung dehumidification pouches in the closet to protect his clothes from molding and he had an electric blanket on his bed. Each of these conveniences was used depending on his activity and location in the apartment. Every room also had a heating and cooling unit. Song explained that he rarely uses the heater in the wintertime, deeming electricity too costly to use for himself when he is alone. He turns on the heater in the living room only to create a warm atmosphere for guests, generating a socially enjoyed “thermal place” in the sense of Heschong. Song uses the different aids and appliances according to the practices that take place in his apartment.

Figure 7: Layout of Wu Song’s Apartment with mobile heating objects (in red), Chongqing (China), Dec. 2017.

Figure 7: Layout of Wu Song’s Apartment with mobile heating objects (in red), Chongqing (China), Dec. 2017.

Source: Madlen Kobi.

  • 22 Madlen Kobi, “Keeping Warm in Subtropical Winter. When Everyday Life Disrupts the Concept of Hyper (...)
  • 23 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning. 1500 B.C. – A.D. 1911, London: Tiranti, 1962, (...)
  • 24 Interview with Wei Zhang, Zurich, Sept. 20, 2019.

11In an uninsulated apartment, the human body plays a central role that disappears with homogeneous climate control. Depending on the season and time of day, sufficient food, warm clothing, and a change of location, within the apartment or the city itself, are the foundations for creating “thermal delight” even under cold winter conditions.22 An actual reversal of the modern practice of going through winter wearing lightweight clothing in heated rooms was already emphasized by British architectural historian Andrew Boyd when analyzing thermal conditions in China in the 1960s. He refers to the “greater adaptability” of a thermoregulation, one primarily based on warm clothing. “An important part of the [heating system] (…) was undoubtedly clothes. Reversing the modern practice of light clothes and full central heating, the Chinese in winter wore fur-lined or quilted gowns and thick felt-soled shoes in a slightly warmed house, which had the advantage of greater adaptability to going constantly in and out of doors.”23 In thermal terms, the interior and exterior are more closely connected. A former resident of Chongqing emphasized the significance of everyday rituals today in adapting to changing climatic conditions flexibly: “The windows are always open during winter. […] That has to do with everyday rituals. You come home, you take a hot shower and then put your domestic clothes on. […] That’s the feeling of winter, wearing three layers of clothes, rather than one.”24

Electric Devices

  • 25 In 1993 in Shanghai, only 0.3 air conditioning units per 100 families were available; today, there (...)
  • 26 Harold Wilhite, Hidetoshi Nakagami, Yukiko Yamaga and Hiroshi Haneda, “A Cross-Cultural Analysis o (...)

12Since the 1980s and the economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping, people in China have been furnishing their apartments according to their own needs and financial possibilities. In contrast to the radiant heating system of urban apartments in the North, convection-based solutions prevail in similar dwellings of the South. Heating forms in the South rely on electricity supply. Space heaters used to warm up single rooms, and heating pads designed to warm parts of the body are increasingly affordable to residents in the non-heating zone.25 For lower income groups, the most popular solution is a selective heat source, such as the so-called “little sun (xiao taiyang),” a round heat lamp that can be used whenever a quick warm-up of individual body parts is required (fig. 08). The “little sun” is omnipresent in southern China (under the desk, next to the bed, on the sales counter, and so on). The heat given off by the device in its immediate surroundings is a source of enjoyment to the people in the thermal place it creates. Sometimes, the “little sun” is positioned under a table to warm the legs of the people around it, an installation known as kotatsu in Japan.26

Figure 8: The “little sun (xiao taiyang),” a round heat infrared radiator, Chongqing (China), Dec. 2017.

Figure 8: The “little sun (xiao taiyang),” a round heat infrared radiator, Chongqing (China), Dec. 2017.

Source: Katja Jug.

  • 27 Sensations of warmth differ, as Changcheng, a heating engineer from Shanghai pointed out: “It depe (...)

13Increasingly, upper middle class families consider the installation of under-floor heating, providing with a cooling effect in summer and a warming effect in winter. But many homeowners decide against the installation, arguing that winter in Chongqing is so short to install and operate the system cost-effectively. Selecting this or that heating system depends on socio-economic factors, but also on personal preferences.27 Heaters are deliberately turned on to generate thermal comfort related to social practices such as eating, sitting together, or sleeping. Indoor temperatures in different seasons and the socio-economic potential to save on heating also intervene in decision-making.

  • 28 “The body-territory [corpo-territorio] poses a problematic form of corporeal identity that in beco (...)
  • 29 Ibid., p. 33.
  • 30 Ibid., p. 26.

14In order to link the individual body with the urban environment, Italian philosopher Tiziana Villani introduced the term of the “body-territory,” an epistemologically new, and certainly “problematic form of bodily identity” that emerges in the cities of the global South and beyond. No longer based on the distinction between the organic and the inorganic, it involves the bodies of the citizens by means of associations with urban microclimates.28 In the same vein, Matthew Gandy speaks of a “blurring of boundaries between the body and the city”29 and recommends the investigation of a “cyborgian sensibility”30 he sees emerging at the interface of infrastructure, environment, and the human body.

3. Excursus: The Thermal Heritage of Heating with Open Windows

  • 31 Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, London: Repeater, 2016, p. 9.

15A cross-cultural theory of climate control, elaborated in reference to China’s non-heating zone, must be formulated in two ways. First, it must describe the buildings in all their climatic peculiarities as part of a thermal biopolitics that underscores the omissions of ghd policy. Secondly, such a theory must highlight the buildings as the result of a thermal heritage, thus recognizing specific Chinese forms of thermal sensations. One could speak of specific “affects,” “modes of perception,” and “modes of being” or, to put it another way, of ways of building and living that are specifically associated with the apartments in the southern part of China.31 For scholarship of architectural historiography, the thermal continuity between inside and outside in the Chinese non-heating zone marks a difficult-to-explain epistemological zone of ​​uncertainty and an intellectual challenge. In Europe, the history of (central) heating and the history of insulating building envelopes are intertwined; they are part of one historical development. In China, however, these developments are not connected in the same manner. According to a Chinese witticism, entering an apartment in China’s non-heating zone during the winter months means going outside (that is, into the cold). In many cases, being indoors entails wearing warmer clothing than one would outdoors.

The Microclimates in the Generic City

  • 32 Johannes Duiker, “Die Freiluftschule,” in Karl Triebold (ed.), Die Freiluftschulbewegung. Versuch (...)
  • 33 Matthias Brunner mentions the following projects: Sinay (1947), Tremaine (1948), Rados (1958), Sin (...)
  • 34 Richard Neutra, “Landscaping. A New Issue,” in Contemporary Landscape Architecture and Its Sources(...)

16What one observes in cities such as Chongqing and Shanghai in winter today is a form of heating of permeable spaces that has been handed down in Europe and the United States in the form of a few experimental architectural projects. We are talking here about pedagogically-motivated architectural projects such as the Openluchtschool in Amsterdam, built by Johannes Duiker between 1929 and 1930, or the L’école de plein air in Suresnes, built by Eugène Beaudoin and Marcel Lods between 1932 and 1935. Duiker’s school was one of the first European architectural projects to have a modern ceiling heating system, so that even in winter, lessons could be held with open windows (fig. 09). As Duiker had stated, they “must be openable to everyone.”32 Richard Neutra visited the school as early as 1930 and continued to tap the inspiration in his own projects. Among them was the Desert House in Palm Springs (usa), built in 1947, which had mechanically heatable and coolable outdoor spaces around the pool area. Neutra remained one of the few prominent modern architects who propagated the heating of outdoor spaces and permeable interiors.33 In 1937, he stated that even with cold outside temperatures, the interiors could be heated with open windows: “windows and sliding patio doors on the lee side can be kept open even in cool weather.”34 In architectural historiography, the combinations of open windows and heating endorsed by these projects have been understood as transitional; they fall between the hygiene discourse of the first half of the century and the comfort discourse (combined with energy efficiency standards) of the second.

Figure 9: Open air school for the healthy child, Johannes Duiker arch., 1929-1930, Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

Figure 9: Open air school for the healthy child, Johannes Duiker arch., 1929-1930, Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

Source: Unknown.

  • 35 Rem Koolhaas, “The Generic City,” in Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, S,M,L,XL, New York, NY: The Monac (...)

17In Southern China, on the other hand, that architectural tradition is still commonplace. It thereby attests to a reconnection with a modern architectural tradition that has been abandoned in Europe. Contrary to the thermal standards in Europe, the practice of heating permeable interiors has been growing rapidly since the early 1990s. While more and more urban residents do use some form of heating in their apartments, the thermal tradition of leaving windows open for air circulation has hardly disappeared. In his influential 1997 essay on Asian cities, “The Generic City,” Rem Koolhaas describes with an ironic undertone the idiosyncratic quality of the indoor microclimates, thereby conveying an accurate idea of indoor climate control in times of rapid social change. The new technological “means” to heat and cool “mimic inside the building the climatic conditions that once ‘happened’ outside—sudden storms, mini-tornados, freezing spells in the cafeteria, heat waves, even mist; a provincialism of the mechanical.” The microclimates of the generic city oscillate between “incompetence” and “imagination.”35

  • 36 Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, op. cit. (note 31), p. 11.
  • 37 On the heterotopic character of the notion of “the zone” see Martin sexl, “Die Zone als heterotopi (...)

18The conceptional insignificance of architecture as a mitigating means contrasts sharply with the fact that buildings are crucial to how and where the cold of the winter in the non-heating zone is primarily experienced, namely: inside the buildings first. This reversal of narratives and experiences of the season can be described as a form of “montage”⸻“the conjoining of two or more things which do not belong together.”36 The architecture of the non-heating zone can be described as a “montage-machine, a generator of weird juxtapositions” that deploys the winter inside of buildings. As montage-machines, the buildings of the “Generic City” in southern China create an aesthetic-thermal zone of experience that is tangible in dreams and in surrealism such as in Andrei Tarkovsky’s films. Think of “the zone” in Stalker, for example, which subjects the ecological differentiation between inside and outside to surprising inversions. The inside is also outside and vice versa (fig. 10).37

Figure 10: View of the “Zone.” Film still taken from “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1980.

Figure 10: View of the “Zone.” Film still taken from “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1980.

Source: Andrei Tarkovsky.

The Microclimates of Feng Shui

  • 38 Florian C. Reiter, “Feng Shui and Architecture: Common Knowledge and Sensation in China,” in Flori (...)
  • 39 Reiter distinguishes three lines of meaning of Feng Shui: “The first group shows the assessment of (...)
  • 40 Ibid., p. 6.
  • 41 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning, op. cit. (note 23), p. 82f.

19The widespread cultivation of a blurred transition between inside and outside also points to a Chinese conception of nature transmitted in feng shui. In the thermal practices in the northern non-heating zone, one can detect a sensational predisposition that has been conveyed with feng shui; it can be described as “the field of common knowledge and sensation in China.”38 As an everyday form of knowledge and sensation, feng shui is represented in the built environment, in human behaviors, and in written sources,39 unifying symbolic, aesthetic, and architectural aspects in each case. “Nature was believed to hold the divine vital energies,”40 that must be supported by adequate urban planning, architectural, and micro-spatial measures. From a feng shui point of view, any form of disruption of the “vital energies” (by adding thermal insulation to buildings, say) must be avoided. “Chi” is the name of a traditional understanding of “energy,” and its flow should not be interrupted, but moderated and directed instead. Boyd describes the permeability of traditional houses in China during winter as follows: “The whole window wall of a room on the courtyard side was composed of a panel of windows and doors. Windows were of thick translucent paper; in spring they were rolled up and the rooms opened to the outside air. Wide eaves protected them from rain and from the midday summer sun. […] The paper windows had a certain amount of thermal resistance, but tended to let in blasts of wind. External shutters could also be fitted.”41

  • 42 Joseph Needham, “Geomancy (Feng-Shui),” in Joseph Needham and Wang Ling (eds.), Science and Civili (...)
  • 43 See Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning, op. cit. (note 23).
  • 44 “In many ways fêng-shui was an advantage to the Chinese people, as when for example, it advised pl (...)

20Feng shui is based on a notion of energy that also has thermal implications, as Joseph Needham pointed out: “Every place had its special topographical features which modified the local influence (hsing shih) of the various chhi of Nature. The forms of hills and the directions of watercourses, being the outcome of the moulding influences of winds and waters, were the most important, but, in addition, the heights and forms of buildings, and the directions of roads and bridges, were potent factors.”42 In feng shui, wind and water are to be channeled and controlled in such a way that a balance of natural forces results within and between the buildings.43 The traditional discourses on feng shui have influenced the climatic alignment of cities and buildings by means of urban planning and architectural regulations, as Needham explains. In this respect, feng shui can be conceived as a Chinese counterpart to European traditions of climate-conscious building.44

21The Chinese mentality to connect systematically inside and outside conditions even during winter can be traced both short-term to Chinese modernism and long-term to feng shui as a Taoist mode of sensation. Feng shui provides the “long durée” in terms of a mental history, thus, the counterpart to those forms of thermal experience that were developed only in the second half of the twentieth century. In contemporary everyday life, short-term and long-term modes of perception are entangled. Although feng shui seems rather an unconscious factor in architecture and household practices in Chongqing today, for the explanation of a striking Chinese equability concerning the cold weather inside the buildings, it may be appropriate to refer to this notion of thermal heritage.

4. Energy Transition in Light of Chongqing’s Building History

22In direct contrast with flat cities like Beijing, where the city’s parcellation along work units (danwei) led to a grid-like organization of urban space, Chongqing has always been shaped by its heterogeneous topography. The hills and river courses have significantly influenced the built environment, leading to meandering streets and hillside constructions. Although globalized notions of comfort are present in a few select Chongqing buildings due to the employment of standards such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (leed), they are widely absent in the urban fabric in general.

Typological Developments

  • 45 Ren Zhou (ed.), Chongqing Architecture Annals. Management Committe of Chongqing City Urban and Rur (...)
  • 46 Ibid., p. 87.

23Architecture in the socialist period between 1949 and 1976 was still marked by the sparing use of materials. Historical data from Chongqing shows that house foundations in the 1960s were predominantly built out of locally available materials such as stone slabs (pianshi) and rubble (maoshi). Walls were built out of mud (tuqiang), stones (shitou), or bricks (zhuan).45 In 1985, 33% of urban-built structures consisted of bricks and wood, and only 50% consisted of steel, concrete, or mixed constructions.46 Buildings from the 1960s and 1970s have very thick outdoor walls (60-70cm). Since the late 1980s and the transformation of the construction industry into a profitable economic sector, thinner walls without insulation layers have been built, so that companies could save on investment by using fewer and cheaper materials. What’s more, the Socialist houses were designed with greater concern for the high humidity in Chongqing. Studying the buildings from the Socialist period, one can observe architectural characteristics that refer to cross-ventilation. Facades often have openings above windows or doors, and staircases were built outside the closed house structures, separated from the outdoors only by net-like structures that allowed air to circulate (fig. 11). The importance of air exchange is also inscribed in the orientation of buildings and apartments. In apartments and long corridors, the windows and doors were often built on opposite sides (e.g. north and south walls) of the building. These are the structures that pay tribute to a heritage of cross-ventilation. Some experts from the building industry emphasized that the same thermal tradition influenced their own design practice today; for example, when they provide for light and air shafts in new high-rises.

Figure 11: House façade of a residential house in Chongqing (Shapingba district, China), September 2017.

Figure 11: House façade of a residential house in Chongqing (Shapingba district, China), September 2017.

Source: Madlen Kobi.

  • 47 Leon Glicksman, Leslie Norford and Lara Greden, “China. Environment and Culture,” in Leon Glicksma (...)

24Since the 1990s, high-rise buildings have proliferated in the urban area of Chongqing, a phenomenon mainly related to the popularization of elevators. By law, any building over six stories tall must have an elevator. Most of these new high-rises lack insulation in their outside walls, so the effective (and energy-efficient) cooling or warming of the indoors is impeded. Residential high-rise buildings of newer generations “suffer from poor construction quality. Exterior building envelopes have little insulation, loose single-glazed windows, poor siting, and inferior materials.”47 A mandatory thermal standard has existed only since 2016. Furthermore, there may be several air leaks in a façade, e.g. where split-unit air conditioners have been installed by the residents. Taken together, all of these factors weaken the building’s passive protection from the climate outdoors. Accordingly, the majority of all the city’s high-rise buildings are constructed without insulation. Given the burgeoning middle class, more and more people in the southern non-heating zone thus heat uninsulated homes.

Toward a Second Central Heating Network in China?

  • 48 Ibid., p. 9.
  • 49 Carmen Richerzhagen, Tabea von Frieling, Nils Hansen, Anja Minnaert, Nina Netzer and Jonas Russbil (...)
  • 50 Scott Campbell, “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban Planning and the Contradictions (...)

25Thermal modernization raises questions about how the energy sector can cope with the demand, expected to rise in the coming decades. “The trend of massive energy use in China has raised global concerns,” Leon Glicksman, Leslie Norford, and Lara Greden remarked in 2006,48 noting that the residential building sector accounts for some 30 percent of the country’s energy consumption.49 This trend provokes “strong conflicts among economic growth, environmental protection, and social justice” as the overall goals of planning.50 The heating practices in China’s non-heating zone serve as a prime example of the conflict-laden goals of sustainable development, namely: to provide for a green city, a growing city, and a just city all at the same time. More than any other climate policy decision, the Great Heating Divide reflects the complex interactions of society, economy, and ecology that also characterize today’s climate change debate.

  • 51 Shu Meng, “It’s time we turn on the heat in southern China,” op. cit. (note 4).

26From an overall perspective which may be Chinese or even global, the lack of comfort in southern China has only secondary relevance. However, the lack of a district heating system is increasingly becoming part of the region’s public debate. Rising standards of living and comparisons with northern China and the West have led to a desire for warmer living environments. The relevance of the ghd policy today is questioned in newspaper articles and internet blogs, and the distribution of comfort, the reduction of energy costs, and the protection of the environment are being discussed accordingly. In the North of the country, climate-related issues are pointedly emphasized with regard to air pollution (due to the central heating system) and overheating of the apartments. In the South, discussions revolve around life in the unheated apartments and the blackouts caused by the growing number of air conditioners used in summer. In northern cities of the non-heating zone, cold winters led to a brain drain: some employees preferred a job in the North of the country, since they found the loss of comfort during winter too taxing. In a 2013 article in “Global Times,” journalist Shu Meng writes: “In every winter, I fantasized about a world where southern parts of China also had their own heating system.”51 In 2013, China experienced its coldest winter in thirty years. Since climate change stimulates lower winter temperatures nationwide, calls for a district heating infrastructure in the south have been growing.

  • 52 Liqi Liu, “Controversies about the heating supply demarcation,” Da Jingmao, vol. 12, 2012, p. 69-7 (...)

27Of the many arguments against the establishment of a second central heating network in China, there is one in particular that bears the greatest weight: setting up a central heating system would entail an exorbitant increase in energy consumption, a rise that would far exceed the present one generated by the use of small electric devices.52 However, energy transition in southern China is often thought of as a technical-infrastructural problem that should be solved by engineers and through an abolishment of the ghd.

5. Architecture as Infrastructure: Rethinking Heating in China's Non-Heating Zone

28Epistemologically, architecture does not play a central role within China’s current thermal regime; rather, it is the blind spot that results from the focus on large-scale infrastructure and individual apartments. Despite that, architecture has a key role to play in solving the comfort problems in the non-heating zone. As an infrastructure sui generis, buildings have to be upgraded both conceptually and physically. Rather than focusing on new heating networks in the South, the thermal relevance of architecture should be strengthened. Three pioneering approaches, revealing the relevance of the building scale for a sustainable energy supply in the non-heating zone, deserve special attention: connecting inside and outside, cultivating a diversity of microclimates, and living at low temperatures.

Architectural Approaches to Thermal Infrastructures

291) An ecological modernization of the building stock in southern China has to refer first to the shared mentality of connecting the inside and the outside. Rather than focus solely on concepts of “energy efficiency”—and thus implicitly on the assumption of a homogeneous indoor climate in the future—the starting point for new architectural-thermal concepts must be connecting the apartments with the exterior, the characteristic usage of the urban space. The West Village in Chengdu, also located in the northern zone of the non-heated south, was designed by Chinese architect Liu Jiakun and completed in 2015 (fig. 12). Liu deliberately interweaves interior and exterior, as is outlined above. The 135,000 sq. meter site forms a multilayered terrain consisting of courtyards at different levels, ramps, and a scaffold-like building enclosure. Smaller courtyards, e.g. for cultural events, are part of larger ones; in winter they serve as common rooms outside the apartments (fig. 13). In the intentional interweaving of interior and exterior spaces—green, public, and private spaces, as well as the buildings—a design attitude that meets the ecological and thermal challenges of today's Chinese cities is manifest. Buffer zones create dynamic interactions between indoors and outdoors. These buffer spaces are also multifunctional spaces that adapt to the seasonal and diurnal fluctuations. They were, and continue to be, a vital part of China’s thermal heritage. They are used both as walk-in and as non-accessible rooms, and, depending on the season, provide solar heat gains or serve as insulation layers. Taken together, these attributes make buffer zones an essential tactical resource for residents seeking comfortable living conditions despite the lack of district heating.

Figure 12: Birdview of West Village, Chengdu (China), designed by architect Liu Jiakun, 2015.

Figure 12: Birdview of West Village, Chengdu (China), designed by architect Liu Jiakun, 2015.

Source: Chen Chen.

Figure 13: Daytime activity in the courtyard, West Village, Chengdu (China).

Figure 13: Daytime activity in the courtyard, West Village, Chengdu (China).

Source: ArchExist.

  • 53 Koolhaas speaks of the “direct relationship between repetition and architectural quality: the grea (...)

302) Due to the fragmented ownership of residential property in China, thermal concepts taking the individualized character of buildings into account must be developed. Conceptually, the generic skyscrapers of southern China are similar to those in a 1909 cartoon from “Life” magazine, understanding skyscraper typology as a stack of individualized floors (fig. 14).53 A high-rise building no longer represents a homogeneous interior space, but a framework of story-related interventions with various microclimates. To investigate and construct microclimates as an architect requires a keen sense of the cultural complexity and temporal dynamics of such thermal places. The 70-hectare Jade Eco Park in Taichung (Taiwan), designed by Swiss architect Philippe Rahm and American landscape architect Catherine Mosbach, pioneered strategies and provides a methodological tool kit for exploring the city from the perspective of its users and inhabitants. The site’s movement-oriented and body-centered (multi-sensory) approaches are models of exploring the microclimatic dynamics of cities and their social and cultural values today. On different paths through the park, visitors encounter various thermal sensations (heat, humidity and pollution) based on actively- and passively-conditioned microclimates. Beyond conventional ideas of comfort, the non-moral thermal approach of Rahm and Mosbach is a model for how urban microclimates can be designed consciously. The experience of being in conditioned indoors is also provided in the so-called “outdoor space”—and vice-versa. At the same time, the park mirrors the thermal requirements of the contemporary city and plays with the artificiality of urban microclimates.

Figure 14: The high-rise as stalked landscapes. Cartoon taken from Life Magazine, 1909.

Figure 14: The high-rise as stalked landscapes. Cartoon taken from Life Magazine, 1909.

Source: Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York. A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhatten, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 1979.

  • 54 Bo Adamson, Passive Climatisation of Residential Buildings in China. A Feasibility Study, Lund: Bu (...)
  • 55 Ibid., p. 5.

313) The willingness to live at low temperatures is still quite widespread in southern China—an enormous ecological potential that architects are wise to explore. In view of the lack of thermal infrastructures, further development in southern China must concentrate on “passive” approaches, without, however, overlooking the further technical instrumentation of the apartments. As Swedish engineer Bo Adamson admitted back in the late 1980s, “passively heated buildings have no specified temperature during the winter; the room air temperature floats with the ambient climatic conditions.”54 Adamson, co-founder of the German “Passive House Standard,” was a pioneer of assessing the architecture of the non-heating zone. Winter heat gains result both from solar radiation and from the waste heat generated in everyday life: “The low indoor temperatures in the non-heating zone in China during the winter will rarely be accepted in the future. If heating is required the recent building design will require a considerable fuel supply. (…) However, it is of great interest to study to what extent it is feasible to improve the building design in order to arrive at a reasonable indoor climate without any other heating than solar insolation and ‘free heat’ from people, cooking and electrical appliances, i.e. by passive heating. The cost of a possible heating system can be traced in the cost of the improvement of the building.”55 By considering both the technical-architectural constitution of the buildings and the practices of the residents, Adamson developed a conceptual framework for how to approach energy transition in the non-heating zone. Energy transition rests upon climatic considerations, the technical improvements of the building envelopes, and the inclusion of the technical equipment usage.

Conclusion: On Alternative Thermal Modernities

  • 56 Bruno Latour, “To Modernize or to Ecologize? That’s the Question,” [First published as “Moderniser (...)
  • 57 See Sascha Roesler, “Heizen bei offenem Fenster. Architektur und Ökologie in Chinas urbanem Süden (...)

32The scale and impact of the thermal regime the Huai River Heating Policy introduced into architectural history were unprecedented. In the context of a “globalization of environmentalism,”56 one may wonder what inspiration the empirical experiences and normative assumptions of China offer for sustainable architecture today, especially in contrast to developments in Europe and the United States. Due to its sheer size and the speed of its urbanization, China faces challenges that affect ecological thinking in architecture as a whole. An architectural theory able to introduce the thermal heritage of southern China into “a global intellectual history of heating concepts”57 is a prerequisite for new ecological insights.

  • 58 Kiel Moe, Insulating Modernism. Isolated and Non-Isolated Thermodynamics in Architecture, Basel: B (...)
  • 59 Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, “On Alternative Modernities,” in Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar (ed.), Alter (...)
  • 60 Ibid., p. 18.

33The documented situation in Chongqing counters the common view of modern architecture consisting of insulated buildings that hermetically separate indoors from outdoors;58 architecture in Chongqing has never gained the status of a protecting shelter. In winter, people cannot rely on the buildings to fulfill a warming function, and they do not expect them to. Instead, they have developed different thermal practices to stay warm. The thermal modernity encountered in Chongqing is evidence that people “make themselves modern,” instead of “being made modern” by external forces.59 Because the constellations of thermal structures, regimes, and practices are place-specific, we can deduce that in every city around the globe, thermal modernity responds to local culture and politics.60 Architecture has no container-like function to enclose thermal spaces, but thermal modernity emerges in and through objects and practices within. Concerning climate control in urban areas, China’s non-heating zone forces architects to reconsider and reconceptualize the relationship between architecture and infrastructure. An architectural view of heating in the non-heating zone conceives buildings as agencies, mediating between the macro- and the micro-scale, the South and the North, between inside and outside.

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Notes

1 Jiat-Hwee Chang and Tim Winter, “Thermal Modernity and Architecture,” The Journal of Architecture, vol. 20, no. 1, 2015, p. 92-121. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2015.1010095.

2 David Eisenberg and Peter Yost, “Sustainability and Building Codes,” in Stephen M. Wheeler and Timothy Beatley (ed.), The Sustainable Urban Development Reader, London; New York, NY: Routledge, 2004 (The Routledge Urban Reader Series), p. 194. Original version in: Environmental Building News, vol. 10, no. 9, 2001, p. 8-15.

3 In this article, we use the term “thermal infrastructure” to refer to material elements related to climate control within buildings, in particular building services, insulation, and heating pipes. Those infrastructural materialities are dependent on thermal policies and standards set by governments and the building industry while we conceive inhabitants’ practices as responses to those thermal infrastructures.

4 Shu Meng, “It’s time we turn on the heat in southern China,” Global Times, Nov. 1, 2013. URL: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/755253.shtml. Accessed 30 October 2019.

5 In many contexts, the design parameters for achieving certain indoor climatic conditions by means of active or passive design, were dictated by specific geographies, microclimates, and topographies. However, a rising trend regulates thermal standards in architecture universally. Over the course of the twentieth century, thermal comfort has become a measurable standard calculated by heating, cooling, ventilation, and air-conditioning experts.

6 This paradigm was articulated notably by the American geographer George Cressey. Writing on the climate in “China’s Geographic Foundations” (1933), he remarked, “One China is in the South, a land of abundant rainfall [...]. The other China is in the North, a country of limited and uncertain rainfall.” George Cressey, China’s Geographic Foundations. A Survey of the Land and its People, New York, NY; London: McGraw-Hill, 1933, p. 14.

7 In addition to the Huai River Heating Policy, building construction today has to comply with different regulations depending upon the seven defined climate regions in the official Uniform Standards for the Design of Civil Buildings from 2019 (GB 50352-2019).

8 See: Douglas Almond, Yuyu Chen, Michael Greenstone and Hongbin Li, “Winter Heating or Clean Air? Unintended Impacts of China’s Huai River Policy,” American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, vol. 99, no. 2, 2009, p. 184-190. URL: http://ceepr.mit.edu/files/papers/Reprint_219_WC.pdf. Accessed 22 June 2020.

9 Fieldwork Interview, 29 December 2017.

10 On the definition of these three thermal agencies, see Sascha Roesler, “Man-Made Weather. Toward New Climatic Research in Architecture,” FCL magazine, special issue Sascha Roesler (ed.), Natural Ventilation, Revisited. Pioneering a New Climatisation Culture, 2015, p. 8-13. Our three thermal agencies resemble the three dimensions of co-evolution of sociotechnical systems and everyday practices outlined by Elizabeth Shove (Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience. The Social Organization of Normality, Oxford; New York, NY: Berg, 2003 (New Technologies. New Culture Series), p. 46-49) which she defines as “sociotechnical devices/objects,” “habits and practices” and “sociotechnical systems (conventions and arrangements)”. While Shove emphasizes the symbolic and material qualities of devices/objects, our notion of “thermal structure” explicitly expands the materiality of comfort regimes to architecture and the built environment. On the other hand, Shove’s use of “practices” is the same to our use of this term and her “sociotechnical systems” are partly congruent with our “thermal regime.”

11 Reyner Banham, The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment, London: Architectural Press; Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1969, p. 25.

12 Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life [First published as Homo Sacer. 1. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita, Turin: Einaudi, 1995. Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen], Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998, p. 119ff.

13 “There is a popular saying in China that ‘南方人过冬靠属性,北方人过冬靠装备’ (Southerners spend winter because of their attributes, Northerners get through by relying on equipment).” URL: https://www.quora.com/If-every-province-of-China-declared-war-against-each-other-which-would-win. Accessed 29 December 2017.

14 China installed the first boilers for central heating in buildings in Harbin, Changchun and Xi’An. In 1958, the first steam pipe of the central heating Guanghua line broke ground in Beijing and provided central heating for representative buildings in Zhongnanhai and along Chang’An Street including the Great Hall of the People or the Museum of the Chinese Revolution (today’s National Museum of China Li Jiang, “The whole story of the South-North Heating Line Partition,” Lantai Neiwai vol. 2, 2015, p. 27. (江蓠, “南北供暖线划分始末,” 兰台内外.) URL: https://kns.cnki.net/kcms/detail/detail.aspx?dbcode=CJFD&filename=LTLW201502020&dbname=CJFDLAST2015. Accessed 30 June 2020.

15 Ibid., p. 27.

16 “La modernité technique a conjugué l’énergie sur le mode de la centralisation, de l’expansion et de la connexion.” Fanny Lopez, Le rêve d’une déconnexion. De la maison autonome à la cité auto-énergétique, Paris: Éditions de la Villette, 2014, p. 54.

17 Ibid., p. 54.

18 Madlen Kobi, “Contours of an Urban Architectural Anthropology: Built Environment, Climate Control and Socio-Material Practices in Winter in Chongqing (Southwest China),” Social Anthropology, vol. 27, no. 4, 2019, p. 689-704. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12718.

19 Lisa Heschong, Thermal Delight in Architecture, Cambridge, MA; London: MIT Press, 1979, p. 44.

20 Sascha Roesler, “Man-Made Weather. Toward New Climatic Research in Architecture,” op. cit. (note 10), p. 11.

21 Wu Song was one of around 20 in-depth informants of the household analysis in Chongqing. His practices are similar to those of many of our informants from an urban middle class we define as people with a decent, regular income, who either own or rent apartments in multistory buildings, and who are able to afford the rising electricity bills generated by the use of air conditioning in summer and heating devices in winter. To impede traceability, all names of informants in Chongqing in this paper were anonymized.

22 Madlen Kobi, “Keeping Warm in Subtropical Winter. When Everyday Life Disrupts the Concept of Hyper-Conditioned Environments in Chongqing (Southwest China),” Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale urbaine et paysagère, no. 6, 2019. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/craup/2880. Accessed 10 April 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/craup.2880.

23 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning. 1500 B.C. – A.D. 1911, London: Tiranti, 1962, p. 82f.

24 Interview with Wei Zhang, Zurich, Sept. 20, 2019.

25 In 1993 in Shanghai, only 0.3 air conditioning units per 100 families were available; today, there are around 250 air conditioning units per 100 families. Interview with Prof. Long, Tongji University, Shanghai (China), Nov. 29, 2017.

26 Harold Wilhite, Hidetoshi Nakagami, Yukiko Yamaga and Hiroshi Haneda, “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Household Energy Use Behaviour in Japan and Norway,” Energy Policy, vol. 24, no.  9, 1996, p. 797. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-4215(96)00061-4.

27 Sensations of warmth differ, as Changcheng, a heating engineer from Shanghai pointed out: “It depends on whether we use an electric radiator, under-floor heating, or an airconditioning unit. If we use the air-conditioning in the heating mode, we only produce hot air. It might be comfortable to sit in front of the unit where the hot air is coming out, but the heat is only temporary. The walls remain cold, and so does the room. This is, of course, much less comfortable than a heating radiator.” Fieldwork conversation, Nov. 2017.

28 “The body-territory [corpo-territorio] poses a problematic form of corporeal identity that in becoming ever more routinized has tended to dissolve the distinctions that formerly existed between the organic and the inorganic”. Tiziana Villani, Athena cyborg. Per una geografia dell’espressione: corpo, territorio, metropoli, Milan: Mimesis, 1995, p. 118. Quoted and translated in: Matthew Gandy, “Cyborg Urbanization: Complexity and Monstrosity in the Contemporary City,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 29, no. 1, 2005, p. 26. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2427.2005.00568.x.

29 Ibid., p. 33.

30 Ibid., p. 26.

31 Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, London: Repeater, 2016, p. 9.

32 Johannes Duiker, “Die Freiluftschule,” in Karl Triebold (ed.), Die Freiluftschulbewegung. Versuch einer Darstellung ihres gegenwärtigen internationalen Standes; dargebracht dem 2. Internationalen Kongress für Freiluftschulen, Berlin: Schoetz, 1931, p. 200.

33 Matthias Brunner mentions the following projects: Sinay (1947), Tremaine (1948), Rados (1958), Singleton (1959), Bucerius (1966), Kemper (1967), and Pescher (1969). See Matthias Brunner, “Heating and Cooling the Open Airs. The Kaufmann Desert House and Palm Springs,” in Sascha Roesler and Madlen Kobi (eds.), The Urban Microclimate as Artifact: Towards an Architectural Theory of Thermal Diversity, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2018.

34 Richard Neutra, “Landscaping. A New Issue,” in Contemporary Landscape Architecture and Its Sources, Exhibition Catalogue (San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Art, 12 February-22 March 1937), San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Museum of Art, undated, p. 22. Quoted in Matthias Brunner, Ibid.

35 Rem Koolhaas, “The Generic City,” in Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, S,M,L,XL, New York, NY: The Monacelli Press, 1997, p. 1980-1994.

36 Mark Fisher, The Weird and the Eerie, op. cit. (note 31), p. 11.

37 On the heterotopic character of the notion of “the zone” see Martin sexl, “Die Zone als heterotopischer Sehnsuchtsort,” in Claudia Schmitt and Christiane Solte-Gresser (eds.) Literatur und Ökologie. Neue literatur- und kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven, Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag, 2017, p. 157-168.

38 Florian C. Reiter, “Feng Shui and Architecture: Common Knowledge and Sensation in China,” in Florian C. Reiter (ed.), Theory and Reality of Feng Shui in Architecture and Landscape Art; International Conference in Berlin, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013 (Asien- und Afrika-Studien der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 41), p. 1.

39 Reiter distinguishes three lines of meaning of Feng Shui: “The first group shows the assessment of living quarters and tombs […]. The second group is devoted to divination […]. The third group concerns the individual fate and physiognomy […]. What united them all are one cause, namely Ying-Yang and the Five Elements.” Via the “imperial library” of the Ch’ing Dynasty (eighteenth century), a codification of knowledge and its different strands has taken place. Ibid., p. 3.

40 Ibid., p. 6.

41 Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning, op. cit. (note 23), p. 82f.

42 Joseph Needham, “Geomancy (Feng-Shui),” in Joseph Needham and Wang Ling (eds.), Science and Civilisation in China. 2. History of scientific thought, Cambridge: University Press, 1956, p. 359.

43 See Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning, op. cit. (note 23).

44 “In many ways fêng-shui was an advantage to the Chinese people, as when for example, it advised planting trees and bamboos as windbreaks, and emphasized the value of flowing water adjacent to a house site. […] it embodied […] a marked aesthetic component, which accounts for the great beauty of the siting of so many farms, houses and villages throughout China.” Joseph Needham, “Geomancy (Feng-Shui),” op. cit. (note 42), p. 361.

45 Ren Zhou (ed.), Chongqing Architecture Annals. Management Committe of Chongqing City Urban and Rural Development and Bureau of Chongqing City Architecture Management, Chongqing: Chongqing University Press, Chongqing Xinhua Printing House, 1997, p. 130. (周任(ed.), 重庆建筑志。重庆市城乡建设管理委员会和重庆市建筑管理局。重庆:重庆大学出版社出版发行,重庆新华印刷厂印刷.)

46 Ibid., p. 87.

47 Leon Glicksman, Leslie Norford and Lara Greden, “China. Environment and Culture,” in Leon Glicksman and Juintow Lin (eds.), Sustainable Urban Housing in China: Principles and Case Studies for Low-Energy Design, Dordrecht: Springer, 2006 (Alliance for Global Sustainability Bookseries, Science and Technology: Tools for Sustainable Development), p. 11.

48 Ibid., p. 9.

49 Carmen Richerzhagen, Tabea von Frieling, Nils Hansen, Anja Minnaert, Nina Netzer and Jonas Russbild, Energy Efficiency in Buildings in China. Policies, Barriers and Opportunities, Bonn: DIE, 2008 (Studies. Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, 41), p. 25. URL:

https://www.die-gdi.de/uploads/media/Studies_41.2008.pdf. Accessed 30 April 2020.

50 Scott Campbell, “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development,” Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 62, no. 3, 1996, p. 298. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01944369608975696.

51 Shu Meng, “It’s time we turn on the heat in southern China,” op. cit. (note 4).

52 Liqi Liu, “Controversies about the heating supply demarcation,” Da Jingmao, vol. 12, 2012, p. 69-71. (刘丽琦, “供暖划界的争论,“ 经贸.)

https://kns.cnki.net/KCMS/detail/detail.aspx?dbcode=CJFQ&dbname=CJFD2012&filename=DJMZ201212020&v=MTc4MjRkTEc0SDlQTnJZOUhaSVI4ZVgxTHV4WVM3RGgxVDNxVHJXTTFGckNVUjdxZlllVnZGQ2ptV3I3TElTZkc=. Accessed 30 June 2020.

53 Koolhaas speaks of the “direct relationship between repetition and architectural quality: the greater the number of floors stacked around the shaft, the more spontaneously they congeal into a single form.” Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York. A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, [First published in 1979], Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 1994, p. 82. In the early 1980s, the American architecture and environment collective site (Alison Sky, Patricia Phillips, James Wines) gave this idea a decidedly ecological twist. The climatic conditions change depending on the individual domestic landscape. For site, buildings consist of platforms that invite different treatments as green urban landscapes.

54 Bo Adamson, Passive Climatisation of Residential Buildings in China. A Feasibility Study, Lund: Building Science, 1992 (Rapport tabk, 3006), p. 8.

55 Ibid., p. 5.

56 Bruno Latour, “To Modernize or to Ecologize? That’s the Question,” [First published as “Moderniser ou écologiser. À la recherche de la Septième Cité,” Écologie politique, no. 13, 1995, p. 5-27], in Noel Castree and Bruce Braun (eds.), Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millenium, London: Routledge, 1998, p. 221-242.

57 See Sascha Roesler, “Heizen bei offenem Fenster. Architektur und Ökologie in Chinas urbanem Süden, (Heating With the Windows Open. Architecture and Ecology in China’s Urban South),” werk, bauen + wohnen, vol. 32, no. 7/8, 2018, p. 29.

58 Kiel Moe, Insulating Modernism. Isolated and Non-Isolated Thermodynamics in Architecture, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2014.

59 Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, “On Alternative Modernities,” in Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar (ed.), Alternative Modernities, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001 (Public, Culture), p. 18.

60 Ibid., p. 18.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: China’s Great Heating Divide.
Crédits Source: The authors.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 57k
Titre Figure 2: A comic illustrating the perceived injustices of indoor comfort in winter, Southern China (left side), Northern China (right side).
Crédits Source: http://news.ycwb.com/​node_58712.htm. Accessed 10 May 2020
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 126k
Titre Figure 3: Shanghai (China), Feb. 10, 2013.
Crédits Source: BBC, Hatty Gottshalk, Your week in pictures. URL: https://www.bbc.com/​news/​in-pictures-21380897.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 155k
Titre Figure 4: Joseph Stalin’s great plan for the transformation of nature, presented in 1948.
Crédits Source: Fanny Lopez, Le rêve d’une déconnexion. De la maison autonome à la cité auto-énergétique, Paris: Éditions de la Villette, 2014.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 236k
Titre Figure 5: View over Chongqing (China), a city without heating infrastructure, Dec. 2017.
Crédits Source: Katja Jug.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 169k
Titre Figure 6: View of Wu Song’s high-rise residential compound (Chongqing, China).
Crédits Source: Madlen Kobi.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 185k
Titre Figure 7: Layout of Wu Song’s Apartment with mobile heating objects (in red), Chongqing (China), Dec. 2017.
Crédits Source: Madlen Kobi.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Figure 8: The “little sun (xiao taiyang),” a round heat infrared radiator, Chongqing (China), Dec. 2017.
Crédits Source: Katja Jug.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Figure 9: Open air school for the healthy child, Johannes Duiker arch., 1929-1930, Amsterdam (The Netherlands).
Crédits Source: Unknown.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 123k
Titre Figure 10: View of the “Zone.” Film still taken from “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1980.
Crédits Source: Andrei Tarkovsky.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 114k
Titre Figure 11: House façade of a residential house in Chongqing (Shapingba district, China), September 2017.
Crédits Source: Madlen Kobi.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 202k
Titre Figure 12: Birdview of West Village, Chengdu (China), designed by architect Liu Jiakun, 2015.
Crédits Source: Chen Chen.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 183k
Titre Figure 13: Daytime activity in the courtyard, West Village, Chengdu (China).
Crédits Source: ArchExist.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 195k
Titre Figure 14: The high-rise as stalked landscapes. Cartoon taken from Life Magazine, 1909.
Crédits Source: Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York. A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhatten, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 1979.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/8061/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 185k
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Référence électronique

Sascha Roesler et Madlen Kobi, « Urban Climate Indoors: Rethinking Heating Infrastructure in China's Non-Heating Zone »ABE Journal [En ligne], 17 | 2020, mis en ligne le 09 décembre 2020, consulté le 20 janvier 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abe/8061 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/abe.8061

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Auteurs

Sascha Roesler

Swiss National Science Foundation Professor, Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland

Madlen Kobi

Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland

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Licence Creative Commons
La revue ABE Journal est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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