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Philippe Rahm
Philippe Rahm Architects

Convective Condominium

The design of this condominium building is based on the natural law of Archimedes that makes warm air rise and cold air decline. Often, the real difference of temperature in an apartment can be measured between the floor and the ceiling. This difference can be up to 10°C. Depending on our physical activities and the thickness of our clothes, the temperature doesn’t have to be the same in every room of the apartment. If we are protected by a blanket in bed, the temperature of the bedroom could be reduced to 16°C. In the kitchen, if we are dressed and physically active, we could have a temperature of 18°C. The living room is often 20°C because we are dressed and motionless on the sofa. The bathroom is the warmest space of the apartment because it is there we are often naked. Keeping these precise temperatures in these specific areas could economize energy use by adjusting the temperature to our match exact needs.

Related to these physical and behavioral thermal figures, we propose to shape the apartment into different depths and heights. For instance, the bedroom will be lower while the bathroom will be higher. The apartment would become a thermal landscape with different temperatures, where the inhabitant could to wander around as if in like in a natural landscape, looking for in which specific thermal qualities are related to the seasonal or contingent on the moment of the day. By deforming the horizontal slabs of the floors, different varying heights of the spaces are created with different temperatures are created across the interior spaces. The deformation of the slabs also gives the building its outward appearance.

If the design process follows the new goal of energy reduction linked to the recommendations of sustainable development, these new constraints can offer new shapes and new ways of living.

About The Designer

Philippe Rahm is a Swiss architect, principal in the office of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability. He starts to teach architecture design at the GSD, Harvard University, USA, in Fall 2014. In 2002, Mr. Rahm was chosen to represent Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale in Venice, and was one of the 25 Manifesto's Architects of Aaron Betsky's 2008 Architectural Venice Biennale. He is nominee in 2009 for the Ordos Prize in China and in 2010 and 2008 for the International Chernikov Prize in Moscow where he was ranked in the top ten. He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide (Archilab, Orléans, France 2000; SF-MoMA 2001; CCA Kitakyushu 2004; Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2003-2006 and 2007; Manifesta 7, 2008; Louisiana museum, Denmark, 2009; Guggenheim Museum, New-York 2010). In 2007, he had a personal exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Mr. Rahm was a resident at the Villa Medici in Rome (2000). He was Headmaster at the AA School in London in 2005-2006, Visiting professor at the Mendrisio Academy of Architecture in Switzerland in 2004 and 2005, at the ETH Lausanne in 2006 and 2007, at the School of Architecture of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts of Copenhagen in 2009-2010, in Oslo at the AHO in 2010-2011. From 2010 to 2012, he held the Jean Labatut Professorship in Princeton University, USA. He has lectured widely, including at Yale, Cooper Union, UCLA and the ETH Zürich. His recent work includes the First Prize for the 70 hectares Taichung Gateway Park in Taiwan currently under construction, an office building of 13000 m2 at La Défense in France for the EPADESA; a convective condominium for the IBA in Hamburg, Germany; the White Geology, a stage design for contemporary art in the Grand-Palais on the Champs-Elysées in Paris in 2009 and a studio house for the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster in 2008. Monographic books include “Physiological architecture” published by Birkhaüser in 2002, “Distortions”, published by HYX in 2005, “Environ(ne)ment: Approaches for Tomorrow”, published by Skira in 2006, “Architecture météorologique” published by Archibooks in 2009 and “Constructed atmospheres” published by Postmedia, Milan, Italy, in 2014.