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N°6 Architectures of hyper-conditioned environments

Dossier coordinated by Daniel Siret and Ignacio Requena / AAU-CRENAU, ENSA Nantes.

Deadline for sending papers:
1 June 2019, PROLONGED TO JUNE 21, 2019

Relegated for a long time to the field of building sciences, conditioning techniques – ventilation, air-conditioning, lighting, sound or odorisation systems – play a decisive role in the contemporary urban and architectural production. They are fully implemented in commercial architecture, which promotes experiential and sensory marketing. They are developed in accordance with regulations of energy efficiency in buildings that establish new requirements in terms of flux between architecture and environment. They become necessary in inhospitable climates (tropics, deserts, poles), in some constrained spaces (places of care, entertainment, conservation or specific facilities), or in extreme environments (underwater, underground or extra-terrestrial architectures). They naturally question our relation to the environment and to our living spaces, to energy and material flows, and to the visible and invisible technologies that rule our living environments.

  • 1 Mumford, Lewis. 1934. Technics and civilization. New York, Harcourt-Brace.
  • 2 Giedion, Sigfried. 1948. Mechanization takes command: a contribution to anonymous history. New York (...)
  • 3 Banham, Reyner. 1969. Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment. Chicago, University of Chicago (...)
  • 4 See for example on the topic of air conditioning: Cooper, Gail. 1998. Air-Conditioning America: Eng (...)
  • 5 We can think of the dystopian world described by Stanisław Lem, in his novel The Futurological Cong (...)
  • 6 Such as those produced by the lighting system designed by Coelux, artificial skies in spring and ar (...)

Addressed since the 1930s by L. Mumford1, analysed in the post-war period by S. Giedon2 or R. Banham3, and widely studied ever since4, conditioning techniques in architecture have taken over many aspects of our inhabited environments. The air is conditioned in terms of temperature and humidity, deodorised, and even potentially infused with substances whose effects are linked to an emerging psycho-chemistry5. The so-called natural lighting, significantly anthropized by filtering of increasingly complex glass products, is modulated day and night by artificial lighting devices, which can sometimes have fascinating effects6. The sounds of the environment and of human activities blend with informative, recreational or promotional signals that are disseminated in individual and collective sound bubbles with blurred boundaries. The sole visual appearance of the world is nowadays conditioned by screens and projections of various nature, and by the advent of augmented reality.

The converging implementation of conditioning techniques in the contemporary production of inhabited space leads to what we identify in this call for papers as “hyper-conditioned” environments. Ultimately, the resulting spaces no longer offer any connection with the (natural, urban) environment in which they are set. Decontextualized, they are thus defined by the fracture that they impose from the prevailing conditions around them. Hermetical, they can only be grasped from the inside, through immersion and personal or collective experience, which makes them resistant to the classical modalities of visual representation through blueprints, drawings or pictures. The retelling of an experience or boards of bio-static indicators (temperatures, sound, light levels, chemistry, fluxes), ultimately become the most solid descriptive tools, as well as the most ambiguous, for these spaces.

This special issue aims at understanding the way hyper-conditioning techniques influence the vision we have of the discipline of architecture, of the architects and other designers’ competences and of the mechanisms for space making. Three perspectives are suggested.

Experiencing the hyper-conditioned environment

  • 7 On this topic, see Böhme, Gernot. 2017. The Aesthetics of Atmospheres. New York, Routledge.
  • 8 Sennett, Richard. 1994. Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization. New York, W (...)
  • 9 See for example: Shove, Elizabeth. 2003. Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Conveni (...)
  • 10 For example, like those suggested by Philippe Rahm.

The first perspective deals with the experience of hyper-conditioned environments, between delight and rejection, shock and fear, disorientation and familiarity. The characterization of this experience raises questions regarding new atmospheric aesthetics7, nowadays indistinguishable from shopping malls and mobility environments (airports, train stations), festive or sport locations, some work places or housing. More questions are thus asked, regarding the limits of the human body when it comes to confinement, sensory overload, “disturbing sensations”8, or the experience of the transition between one confinement to another (from the office to the mall, from the transports to home). We can discuss the hypothesis of a desensitisation of the inhabitants ultimately happening alongside the standardisation of ambiances and the homogenisation of normalised comfort9. The articles should rely on case studies regarding hyper-conditioned environments across the world or on installations that temporarily reproduce their characteristics10.

Making architecture in the age of conditioning

  • 11 See for example: Erwine, Barbara. 2017. Creating Sensory Spaces. The Architecture of the Invisible. (...)

The aim is to understand how conditioning techniques renew the ways we conceive architecture, in particular the modes of representation, evaluation or experimentation for conditioned or re-conditioned environments. We will study the relations between the architects and their partners in the different fields of science and techniques playing a part in the conditioning of space11, from thermal or acoustic engineering to environmental psychology, from digital simulation to psychophysical experimentation, and to the emerging professions along those lines. Moreover, the contemporary awareness on ecology raises the question of the evolution of conditioning techniques – between low-tech and high-tech – and of the relations between architecture, technologies and norms. Simultaneously, we can focus on the imagination around conditioning, which spreads throughout the practices of architecture and their literary or cinematographic expressions, for example. Sociotechnical articles based on situations with built projects or fictional propositions are expected.

Hyper-conditioning as influence

  • 12 See, for example: Pillon, Thierry. 2018. Les couleurs d’ambiance. L’exemple des bureaux dans les an (...)
  • 13 A research topic that was started by Philip Kotler at the beginning of the 1970s (Atmospherics as a (...)
  • 14 See the exhibition by the Canadian Centre for Architecture called Our Happy Life. Architecture and (...)

The last perspective for analysis considers the implementations of conditioning, its potential influence on bodies and minds, the resulting vulnerability and the potential manipulations that are connected to it. For a long time channelled by hygienist, productivist12 or commercial13 approaches, conditioning in architecture is nowadays part of the “emotional capitalism” perspective14, and takes place in the most ordinary living spaces. Therefore, we should question its modes of action and effects on the uses, and simultaneously consider new relations between architecture, environment and landscape. Therefore, we are expecting articles based on socio-anthropological, historical or political approaches about the conditioning, re-conditioning or de-conditioning of architecture.

Procedure for the transmission of draft articles

Proposals for articles will be sent by e-mail before 1st June 2019

to the Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère’ editorial office :
secretariat-craup@culture.gouv.fr

For more information, contact Aude Clavel on 06 10 55 11 36

The articles must not exceed 50 000 characters, including spaces.

Languages accepted: French, English.

Articles must be accompanied by:

1 biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and / or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).

2 abstracts in French and English.

5 key words in French and English.

Instructions to authors

1 / General rules

Italic: words in foreign languages in relation to the language used, therefore op. cit., Ibid., cf., a priori, a posteriori, etc.

No use of bold (with the exception of titles) nor capitals (with the exception of the beginning of proper names, institutions, capitals for titles in English, etc.).

2 / Body of the text

The text must be entered in the Word software, using Times New Roman, size 12, line spacing 1.5, without any special formatting, except titles, headings, captions and paragraph breaks.

3 / Quotations

Quotations of less than 3 lines will be inserted into the text and placed between quotation marks.

Quotes of more than five lines will be indented to the left and right, size 10 (not 12), and without quotation marks.

4 / References

The bibliographical references will be grouped according to author’s name alphabetical order at the end of the article in a section titled "Bibliography", according to the following model:

For a book: First name Last name, Title, City of publishing, Publishing house (Collection), year of publication, page.

For a collective work: First name Last Name and First name Last name of dir./coord./eds./etc., Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page, or First name Last name et al., Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page.

For a chapter of a collective work: First name, Last name, (dir./coord./eds./etc.), Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page.

For a journal article: First Name Last Name, "Article Title", Journal Title, Vol./N °, Date, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of Publication, page.

For electronic reference: First name Last name, “Title of article”, Journal title, vol./n°, date, [online] [url], accessed on [date].

5 / Illustrations, charts and tables

The photographs accompanying the text should be scanned in high definition (300 dpi, 15 cm minimum) in Jpg or Tiff formats. Text files will be distinct from graphic files.

The author must verify that the images / figures of which he is not the author are free of rights.

Otherwise, he must apply to the owner of the image / figure before submitting it to the magazine.

Illustrations, charts and tables must be legendary in a specific way:

The title of the illustrations should be placed above the illustration.

The legend and credits (source, copyright, etc.) must be placed under the illustration on two separate lines.

Editorial line

Placed in the fields of architectural, urban and landscape research, the Cahiers initially developed from the 1970s in research labs of the French schools of architecture. On becoming an online international journal, the Cahiers initiates today a new formula targeted towards the research communities concerned by intentional transformations of space, whatever the scales. The journal aims at meeting current interests and issues in these fields, seeking to renew them and to open new directions of research. Three main research issues are more directly questioned. One specifically concerns theoretical aspects, in order to develop exchanges and discussions between theories of design, planning, architecture and landscape. Another issue refers to the materiality of the city, the technical know-how involved in spatial transformation, but also the material dimension of of transfer and mobilization phenomena, often analyzed in other journals from a-spatial angles. Lastly, the third issue questions the project and its design, which holds a special place in the sciences and the practice of space (performative roles of projects, theories of practice). These three poles call for interdisciplinary works, dedicated to trace in-depth explanations of the transformations of the built environment at the Anthropocene Era. The expected scientific production refers to common criteria of peer reviewing processes. It could pay a particular attention to the issues of pictures and visual production in a field where images can serve as discourse.

Thematics folders

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère online issue two or three time a year a thematic folder dedicated to a specific and problematized theme, and which consists of around ten articles in French and English.

A call for papers is broadcasted for each thematic heading. Proposals may be in French or English. The evaluation is peer-rewiewed.

Headings

The online magazine has 2 headings to accommodate miscellaneous articles, and outside thematic folders.

Research news: Various reports: theses, entitlement to supervise research, reviews of works, exhibitions.

Research materials: interviews, practitioners’ discourses, translations, reference texts...

Proposals may be in French or English.

The texts are evaluated and peer-rewiewed.

Comité de rédaction/Editorial Board

Chief Editor : FREDERIC POUSIN

MANUEL BELLO MARCANO

FRANCK BESANÇON

GAUTHIER BOLLE

ENRICO CHAPEL

BENJAMIN CHAVARDES

LAURENT DEVISME

YANKEL FIJALKOW

SANDRA FIORI

FRANCOIS FLEURY

XAVIER GUILLOT

CAROLINE MANIAQUE

BEATRICE MARIOLLE

VALERIE NEGRE

DANIEL SIRET

HELENE VACHER

Editorial Assistant : AUDE CLAVEL

Notes

1 Mumford, Lewis. 1934. Technics and civilization. New York, Harcourt-Brace.

2 Giedion, Sigfried. 1948. Mechanization takes command: a contribution to anonymous history. New York, Oxford University Press.

3 Banham, Reyner. 1969. Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

4 See for example on the topic of air conditioning: Cooper, Gail. 1998. Air-Conditioning America: Engineers and the Controlled Environment, 1900-1960. Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press; Ackermann, Marsha E. 2002. Cool Comfort: America's Romance With Air-Conditioning. Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press.

5 We can think of the dystopian world described by Stanisław Lem, in his novel The Futurological Congress (1971), or of the Hormonorium project, presented by Décosterd and Rahm in 2002 during the eighth Venice Biennale of Architecture.

6 Such as those produced by the lighting system designed by Coelux, artificial skies in spring and artificial suns frozen in an eternal Mediterranean summer. Cf. https://www.coelux.com

7 On this topic, see Böhme, Gernot. 2017. The Aesthetics of Atmospheres. New York, Routledge.

8 Sennett, Richard. 1994. Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization. New York, W.W. Norton.

9 See for example: Shove, Elizabeth. 2003. Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience. Journal of Consumer Policy, 26:4. DOI: 10.1023/A:1026362829781; Healy, Stephen. 2008. Air-conditioning and the ‘homogenization’ of people and built environments. Building Research & Information, 36:4. DOI: 10.1080/09613210802076351

10 For example, like those suggested by Philippe Rahm.

11 See for example: Erwine, Barbara. 2017. Creating Sensory Spaces. The Architecture of the Invisible. New York, Routledge; Edensor, Tim & Sumartojo, Shanti. 2015. Designing Atmospheres: introduction to Special Issue. Visual Communication, 14:3. DOI: 10.1177/1470357215582305

12 See, for example: Pillon, Thierry. 2018. Les couleurs d’ambiance. L’exemple des bureaux dans les années 1950-1960. Communications, n°102. « Exercices d’ambiances. Présences, enquêtes, écritures », under the supervision of Maxime Le Calvé and Olivier Gaudin.

13 A research topic that was started by Philip Kotler at the beginning of the 1970s (Atmospherics as a marketing tool, Journal of Retailing. 49:4, 1973), which continues in numerous contemporary studies. See for example: Healy, Stephen. 2014. Atmospheres of consumption: Shopping as involuntary vulnerability. Emotion Space and Society. 10(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.emospa.2012.10.003 ; Julmi, Christian. 2016. Conquering new frontiers in research on store atmospheres: Kinetic and synesthetic qualities. Ambiances [En ligne]. DOI: 10.4000/ambiances.723

14 See the exhibition by the Canadian Centre for Architecture called Our Happy Life. Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism, CCA, Montreal, from May 8 to October 13, 2019.

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