Architects have long had an interest in the relation of their design interventions to surrounding climatic conditions. Concerns over site, orientation to the sun, and the relation of materials to heat and humidity are all embedded in vernacular design traditions, and have been essential to the provision of human shelter for centuries. With the emergence of modern architectural techniques beginning in the nineteenth century, the relation of a building to its climate, and the figuration of this relation, underwent significant transformation.
Climatic Effects documents and analyzes the robust and dynamic discourse around climate that developed as part of architecture’s modernization, and became the focus of many practices and pedagogies in the 1940s and 1950s. The drawings, diagrams, and photographs produced in this methodological discourse, quasi-technical in nature, led to novel parameters for how architecture could operate in the social milieu, and also encouraged design professionals to consider new criteria for their designs.
Climatic Effects establishes that visual and technical strategies to consider relations of architecture to climate not only had effects on the profession, but were also essential to a broader understanding of how economies and ecologies interact. The way in which architects imagined and represented the relation between humans and the environment was seen as central to the social patterns, material conditions, and professional processes that allow for a comfortable life within it. The images, concepts, and buildings developed out of these discussions simultaneously allowed for productive engagements between architecture and adjacent fields, and also emphasized the importance of research to architectural innovation.
An important goal of Climatic Effects is to substantiate an alternative history for the field, one that is focused on careful attention to environmental patterns, and on architecture as a means to interrogate and adjust the place of the human within these patterns.