Air. Architecture in celestial scale

Air. Architecture in celestial scale
The Earth's shadow, 03.06.2023, 20:40, The Polish Jura. Photo: Centrala.
It is a sense of wonder that makes us feel at home in the Earth's atmosphere

Warsaw, Poland.
Team members
Simone De Iacobis
Małgorzata Kuciewicz
Field of work
Architecture, Landscape architecture, Ecology, Visual Art, Research
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

Our practice focuses on studying the biographies of places, drawing lessons from the past, and reviving neglected architectural concepts. On this basis, we develop our own initiatives to envisage the future of space. We work as a duo but we often collaborate with art historians and establish partnerships with experts representing diverse fields, such as artists, scientists, activists, and performers. Together, we devise social programmes for cultural institutions, comprising field trips and exhibitions. We recognise that by altering the ideas and narratives about the city, we transform the city itself. We restored the forgotten work of Alina Sholtz, whose team rebuilt Warsaw's green spaces after the war. The exhibition 'The Clothed Home: Tuning In To The Seasonal Imagination', which explores the history of moderating indoor microclimates with textiles before the invention of air-conditioning, has been travelling since 2021. Chronobiology, the science of biological rhythms and designed discomfort, is an important aspect of our projects. As water gardeners, we demonstrate the feasibility of reintroducing hydrobotany into architecture and severing the dependence of urban water on electricity and chemicals. Following our contribution to the Venice Biennale 2018, we have pursued the concept of "Amplifying nature”, a performative architecture approach that emphasise the processual rather than objectual aspect of architecture. Instead of thinking of architecture in terms of nouns - space, house, street, city - we affirm the wealth of its verbs form, reflecting movement, change, flows, and actions. We understand different natural phenomena as components of architectural designs, their co-creators. We have wondered how our experience of working with urban wetlands, aquatic botany and vanishing atmospheric phenomena might translate into designing urban microclimates. How can thermodynamic interdependencies between various forms of life and existence build our future?

We are immersed in water in its gaseous state, submerged in matter that is in a constant state of flux. We live at the bottom of an ocean of air, and the storm seems to be coming. Now, in preparation for future meteorological unknowns, we need to better understand the elements. Our project aims to revisit the foundations of meteorology and thermodynamics. The presence of a thin layer of air around our planet enables us to observe meteorological optics. Until recently, we were not aware of its importance. Today we focus on the connection between our living planet and these celestial wonders. We want to re-establish awareness of, among other things:

-The Earth's shadow, the fleeting moment when the rotation of our planet is visible. Unfamiliarity with this phenomenon can lead to confusion with smog. Many people who observe it experience the overview effect (but grounded).

-The non-roundness of the solar disc. Studying the distortion of the Sun caused by thermal stratification of the air can reveal various thermodynamic interdependencies.

-Earthshine refers to the ashen glow on the Moon's darkened part. This is the light of our atmosphere reflected from the silver globe. Monitoring its changing brightness helps to track our planet's albedo, an important indicator of global warming.

We employ the methodologies of architects and draft blueprints for new observatories in the form of follies, landforms, or garden designs. These, however, are merely pretexts for telling the story of the most awe-inspiring piece of architecture on our planet - the dome we all share. We began distributing self-published leaflets and led "crepuscular walks" for small groups. We collectively and physically experimented with how to navigate on local tides in the ocean of air. It's possible to have a personal experience of the heavens above and a sense of wonder, even in times of such dire climate prospects. Our aim is to share our findings with a wider audience of aeronauts.