A fine spring day in Paris in 1832
The living space of contemporary people today is confronted to a complete turnabout of its categories: between artificial and natural, inside and outside. The Artificial, that was only concerning the climate inside the house is now affecting the planet Earth itself. Today the atmosphere has been transformed into artifices by human activity as witness the phenomena of pollution and global warming. It used to be a clear dichotomy between the inside of the house considered as artificial, and the outside, considered as natural, the whole world and its climates have become products of human activity. If nature is now also expelled from the exterior of habitat, might we not imagine a turning about of this situation, by reintroducing nature into the interior, by making the interior of a building more natural than the exterior, which it no longer is?
My proposal reconstitutes chemically and mechanically the geology and atmosphere of Paris prior to the appearance of wholescale pollution in the 19th century. My work unfolds in the framework of sustainable development applied to construction design. In terms of energy and cost, a soft automatic air renewal system is the best method available today for renewing air inside a well insulated, weatherproof building, bringing in fresh air for breathing. The dual flow system heats air coming into the building by putting it into contact with air exiting the interior. This method enables the retrieval of up to 80% of the heat calories ordinarily lost. My proposal integrates this new technique as a new object in everyday living space. The renewal of air inside a building is necessary for rejecting the excess of humidity produced by our metabolism which is used up by muscular activity. The wood inside the ventilator helps regulate humidity by absorbing the vapour particles in damp air. Inversely, when the air is dry, wood restores humidity. Before it reaches Paris, the air is swept by winds over the landscapes of the Parisian basin, crossing forests and limestone soils and becoming charged with the smells of plantlife. it is this specific surrounding milieu that is reproduced to give a particular quality of air. A compass card enables me to proportion fragrances of wood inside the dual-flow ventilator. The air diffused in the interior is a miniaturised synthesis of the air of Paris before the industrial era.
The share out of temperature in a room is never homogeneous. Hot air rises because it is lighter, building up at ceiling level while cool air remains at floor level. The ideal for the human body would be a warm temperature at feet level, and a colder one at the top.
My proposal is to create a convective air current by dividing the radiator into two parts like two platforms. Masses of hot air at ceiling level are brought down when they are cold down by the ceiling radiator. (18C)
The objective is to enable the occupant to identify places to which he or she may ‘migrate’ to find temperatures suited to the activity in hand, to clothing, or to preferences, within a range of 22 to 18 C. I propose 3 chairs of different heights, that enable to live in different levels, different layers of the air, different temperatures. Like a floor heating system, I propose integrating an electrical heating circuit in a platform built with different types of limestone, quarried in the Parisian basin. The prevalent winds that come to Paris range from south-west to north-east, and it is in this sense sector of the interior that the two platforms are laid out. The result is a miniature reproduction in the interior of the dominant air currents that carry the air mass to Paris. The average amount of electricity consumed by a family for lighting is about 400 KWh per annum. This figure can be halved by using new light sources which consume less energy. The incandescent light bulb, only 7% of the electricity is turned into light, the remaining 93% is expended in heat. I propose designing with a lamp that uses LED because they use very little electricity thanks to the research of Alfred Lewy, we know that certain circadian hormonal cycles are in phase with the luminosity of natural light, between day and night. In view of this, I propose instating the time dimension by synchronizing electrical light with the solar cycle and to synchronize the body clock to the cycle of natural luminescense. The lamp induces variations in the intensity of light emission over 24 hours, with artificial sunset at 9.26pm and sunrise at 6.07 am, corresponding to the 15th of May. The choice of the 15th of May 1832 before the coming into service of the first coal powered factory in France, which marks the beginning of the disruption of the ecological cycle by vaporization into the atmosphere of fossil carbon, responsible for the Greenhouse effect and climate change. What I propose is a ‘day before’ to be experienced in an interior, comparable to a fine spring day in Paris in 1832.