The work of the Swiss architect Philippe Rahm is founded on an analysis of the implications of climatic conditions for the definition of architectural spaces. In his projects, invisible parameters such as temperature and humidity are promoted from their usually subordinate, technical role to become the basis of a new type of sustainable architecture, far removed from the clichés associated with energy efficiency and with the potential to transform the traditional building.
Globalization has led to the diffusion of standardized styles and approaches and in so doing it has effectively reduced the ways in which the elements of comfort and typology are managed. Across the globe 21˚C is considered the 'ideal temperature', regardless of latitude or local building techniques.
Philippe Rahm seeks to re-establish heterogeneity at the global level, as well as inside the buildings he designs; each site has its own climatic identity and the buildings that colonize it are defined by parameters that condition ways of living. His architecture is characterized by deliberate gradations in temperature, humidity and so on, that oblige users to move around the building depending on the degree of climatic comfort they want or the activities they must perform. For this reason the plans and sections of the projects often feature concentric and open forms that allow for a differentiation of parameters. Tall, multi-storey residences allow for a distribution of temperatures that range from a minimum of 18˚C to a maximum of 22˚C.
Philippe Rahm studied at the Federal Polytechnic Schools of Lausanne and Zurich. He obtained his architectural degree in 1993 and currently works in Paris, France and Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2002, he was chosen to represent Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale in Venice and is one of the 20 manifesto’s architects of the Aaron Betsky’s 2008 Architectural Venice Biennale. In 2007, he had a personal exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide and was a resident at the Villa Medici in Rome (2000). He was Head-Master of Diploma Unit 13 at the AA School in London in 2005-2006, Visiting professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux-Arts of Paris in 2003, Mendrisio Academy of Architecture in Switzerland in 2005 and 2006, at the ETH Lausanne in 2006 and 2007 and at the School of Architecture of Paris-Malaquais in Paris in 2008. He is currently a Professor at the ECAL Lausanne and is working on several private and public projects in France, Poland, England, Italy and Austria.
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