German Concrete

Entête.pngAround the turn of the 19th century, the culture of the Enlightenment, alongside the emerging needs for modernisation and industrialisation, give rise to a particular interest in technical aspects of construction. Originating in the scientific, mathematical and technical approach to architecture that several theoreticians of the Enlightenment promoted, this becomes stronger in the late 18th century through the unification and modernisation processes by which Germany is evolving from being an aggregate of several backward states and small political entities still based around medieval forms of administration and an agriculture-based economy into a united, modern and industrialised country.

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Solar thermal technology in building

8993613-3d-illustration-of-men-installing-solar-panels.jpgAlthough the solar thermal technology is mature with competitive prices, it is not yet playing the important role it deserves in the reduction of buildings’ fossil energy consumption. The generally low architectural quality characterizing existing building integrations of solar thermal systems pinpoints the lack of design as one major reason for the low spread of the technology. As confirmed by the example of photovoltaics, an improvement of the architectural quality of building integrated systems can increase the use of a solar technology even more than price reductions and technical advances. As opposed to electricity produced by photovoltaics, heat is very sensitive to transportation losses. Therefore solar thermal collectors have to be mounted very near to the consumption place – i.e., on the building itself – making it even more urgent to correctly address the architectural integration issue.

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Alberto Sartoris : une expérimentation visuelle foisonnante

3262340-fine-image-3d-of-concrete-tunnel-and-lateral-lights-abstract-background.jpgUne collection témoin - Au fil d’une trajectoire qui se confond avec le XXe siècle, l’architecte et promoteur artistique italo-suisse Alberto Sartoris (1901-1998) a accumulé une somme impressionnante de documents de toute nature. Sa collection unique de photos d’architecture moderne a été étudiée et rendue accessible online (http://athanase.epfl.ch). L’on connaît mal en revanche sa bibliothèque, forte de 15 à 20 000 volumes, où figurent notamment, en éditions originales, les références majeures du modernisme international, tant artistique qu’architectural.

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