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Clouds: Artificial Atmospheres

posted Jul 6, 2012, 6:00 AM by Patricia Martin

During the 20th century we witnessed the rejection of natural atmospheres and the emergence of artificial and static environments with the help of technological advances. Air-conditioned buildings and even climatically controlled exteriors proliferated, alienating citizens from local climate and natural atmospheres. It would be unfair not to recall the value of these technological advances for citizens living in extreme climates. But it is also necessary to remark their consequences: from the detachment of people from their surrounding natural atmosphere, to the climate change aggravated by the excessive energy consumption necessary to create these artificial environments. Montreal’s underground city and Las Vegas’s interior spaces exemplify the extreme of this practice.

Now, however, the focus of many designers is on the creation of natural environments artificially generated with the help also of technology. Although, this can seem senseless, these projects remind us the beauty and richness of natural environments and, by isolating natural processes, they reconnect people and atmosphere. In this post I bring together several examples of artificial clouds created during the last decade by architects and artist with this aim: to reconnect people and climate.

- BLUR BUILDING, 2002 Yverdon-Les-Bains (Switzerland). A project by: Diller & Scofidio

- BLIND LIGHT, 2007 London (UK). A project by: Antony Gormley.

- PAYSAGES EN EXIL, 2010 Toulouse (France). A project by: Bétillon and Dorval-Bory.

- CLOUDSCAPES, 2010 Venice Biennale (Italy). A project by: Transsolar & Tetsuo Kondo Architects