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Architecture as a meteorological design

Strolling through Milan during Design Week means being overwhelmed by events, openings and exhibitions, such as "The Effusivity Pool - the anthropocene style" by architect Philippe Rahm inaugurated last week at the Swiss Institute , a cultural platform wisely used to promote scientific exchange and artistic between Switzerland and Italy.

The architect, known for his attention to the physiological and meteorological dimension of architecture, invites visitors to take off their shoes, enter the 'pool', and challenge the materiality of the elements.

What is a wall really made of? Or a land? […] What are the criteria for choosing one material over another?

To these questions 'The Effusivity Pool' offers a broader answer than a purely aesthetic choice: it proposes to experiment an interior space whose materials are chosen on the basis of physical, thermal and climatic values, such as reflectance, emissivity, effusiveness and conductivity.

How did this idea come about?

"In a period where climate change or ecology are top topics and constantly updated, I think it is the right time to address the energy and climate issues that are changing our era." Without consciously realizing it, we have witnessed, from the beginning of the history of architecture, a shift of interest and priority, a passage from void, space and climate towards solidity, the structure, these being in reality only secondary means to define the interior space.

And today, what has changed?

If the structure and the load-bearing elements are no longer the expressive basis of a space, new reasons are needed to choose one material instead of another. This is how Philippe Rahm's attention shifts towards those components that remain invisible, such as physical behavior and thermal properties, aspects that concern the interaction between space and man, without necessarily being linked to form and what let's see. "The project stems from the belief that objects have no precise boundaries, but live in very close connection with us. I chose four different materials for this 'pool': aluminum, stone, wood and wool, and I studied their intrinsic capacity for effusiveness. . "

How does it work?

When sitting or lying in the 'Effusivity Pool', the body comes into direct contact with one of the materials and, depending on the type and the coefficient of effusiveness, it will exchange heat more or less quickly with it, feeling the material cold or hot.

By touching a not very effusive material such as wool or wood, the skin will very slowly release its heat to the environment, keeping the body temperature high and feeling a sensation of warmth.

On the contrary, by touching a highly effusive material such as aluminum or stone, the skin will very quickly lose its heat, feeling a sensation of cold.

The different thermal characteristics of the 4 materials, therefore, offer a variety of comfort zones to be freely chosen within the pool, creating a progression from the coldest to the warmest.

Why are there any lights on the ceiling?

The installation is completed by the "physics of colors": a double magenta and celestial light line creates a psychological partition of the space that will influence the body temperature by absorbing radiation. In the magenta zone, the body absorbs more heat, while in the celestial zone the body remains colder.

The Effusivity Pool represents a physiological, psychological and biological experience where it is the man who physically experiences the project materials. How is all this possible? Take off your shoes, enter the "effusive pool" and feel the heat and the cold!



The Effusivity Pool © Erica Scalcione for WMMQ

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