Dialectic Atmosphere of Architecture: on Aesthetic Experience and Meteorology
Keywords:atmosphere, architecture, meteorology, air, imagination, flying, sensing, breathing
This paper seeks to trace the genealogy between two different terms of ‘atmosphere’. On the one hand, the term is primarily understood as a meteorological phenomenon. On the other hand, the word ‘atmosphere’ has found its way into the field of aesthetics, as the spatial diffusion of a certain mood. But, as Tim Ignold remarks, current aesthetic approach to atmosphere is mostly all about sensory experience, with no mention of meteorology at all. Similar to this exclusion, current attitudes to climate change often reduce nature-culture relations to a merely technical concern. The purpose of this paper is to permeate these two divergent positions through three different architectural concepts. The first one – Flying refers to Derek McCormack’s theoretical concept of balloon flight, combining the imaginative force of flying with balloon’s technical ability to enable this desire. This position is further reviewed through balloon-like architecture of 1960s, as in its contemporary revival. The second concept – Sensitivity starts from the premise that our imaginative and perceptual activities are forced – not in the static beauty of ideal weather conditions, but in their constant oscillation and contingency. This state is elaborated in the work of architect Philippe Rahm. Finally, the third concept Breathing is a critical response to a meteorological idealization, which is manifested in technical perfection of Le Corbusier’s exact air. As opposed to such intellectual air control, postmodern approach explores imaginative force of an anti air – dust, pollution, fog.
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