Around 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.
Although 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.
Published by the EPFL website on 12.14.11
Roberto Gargiani unveils a different vision of Switzerland’s most famous architect - Le Corbusier. Published at EPFL Press.
Roberto Gargiani, professor at EPFL’s Theory and History of Architecture Laboratory 3, has spent the last six years carefully studying Le Corbusier’s lesser-known archives and visiting the buildings he designed from 1940 to his death in 1965 with his research assistant and co-author Anna Rosellini. A different Corbusier comes into focus; poet, mystic, philosopher and artist.