Events

February 11, 2013

Daniel Barber, University of Pennsylvania

Climatic Effects: Humanism, Environmentalism, and the Architecture of the Comfort Zone, c. 1957

Department of the History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania

Time: 3:30pm
Location: 337 Cohen Hall, University of Pennsylvania

Right after World War II there was a flurry of interest – amongst architects, physicists, sociologists, and others – in the relationship between architecture and climate. In the US, innovations in the methods, materials, and technologies of building design were seen to be significant to alleviating the challenges of both suburban expansion and global economic development, and were the subject of numerous government, industry, and university research projects. This paper will summarize this interest through the work of Victor and Aladar Olgyay, twin Hungarian émigré architects whose research at MIT and Princeton culminated in the publication of Solar Control and Shading Devices in 1957. I will argue that interest in climatic design methods led to a reconceptualization of the human subject that architecture was seen to serve, while simultaneously outlining the relationship between design practices and the ecological conditions of the planet.

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