or Warm

By Camila Durán

In recent weeks, the news has not stopped announcing that the climate crisis is progressing faster than expected. The heat is more intense than expected. The fires suffered. However, the answer to climate change is not in the hands of a single individual. Not even from society. As long as large companies continue to use natural resources and produce pollution with the same momentum that they produce money, the discussion of climate change is out of our reach.

In art, more than in modern science, the discussion about the imitation of nature focused on the notion of "scheme" and "model". Aesthetic speculation focused on the possibility of forming an ideal scheme that would allow us to understand the universal structure of nature. Works such as Rule of Trees by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and The Study of Proportions by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) showed the artists' attempt to model natural forms from geometric schemes.

For the modern artist, nature occurred in experience in a contingent and diverse way. Only through a universal model could the essential structure of objects be contemplated and, in this way, even overcome and correct the imperfect appearance of particular things. As a consequence, nature was represented as a projection of rational archetypes: under this ideal the artist conceived himself as a constructor of the real

On the other hand, for contemporary art, representing nature through a geometric or mathematical model seems absurd that distances the observer from organic matter. For contemporary art classical standards are not necessary. And, in any case, this search process feeds not only on geometry, but also on other disciplines: many of them unstable and far from science

Ex-Machina House, images via

From the architecture there are some attempts to improve the situation. In a recent article in ArchDaily written by Daniela Porto, it is mentioned that cities are the spaces where there is the greatest warming. Many of these places do not have the necessary vegetation. Polluting industries, cars, and smog proliferate. However, by
using special white paints you can start a battle against climate change from the architecture. White paints reflect heat from buildings, allowing no other appliances to be used to create this feeling.

“The Coolest White, from UNStudio [...] created a new paint with a very high total solar reflectance (TSR) coating system, which allows buildings to absorb and radiate less heat than normal, reducing heat both within and outside the buildings. It also makes for a stronger coating with less abrasion over the years, contributing to less investment in maintenance and additional items to mitigate changing weather. The coating system is made with fluoropolymer technology, a protective coating that maintains its gloss and integrity. In terms of applications, it can be applied to ‘elements of metal facades and structures of aluminum, steel, GRP, and others, in industrial and commercial buildings, shopping centers, service stations, bridges, industrial coatings, etc.’ “

Far from the problems it addresses regarding personal relationships, the film ExMachina puts on the table an interesting topic for architecture regarding the cold vs hot relationship. Caleb is a young and naive programmer who wins a contest at the company where he works to collaborate with an artificial intelligence genius. The project consists of interacting with a robot to discover if she is human enough. At the beginning of the film our naive protagonist goes up in a helicopter to a house in the middle of a wooded area. The spectacular natural landscapes contrast with the interiors of the building (a construction that plays the role of a dwelling and a research laboratory). The house, by the way, seems to come from the imagination of Peter Zumthor, because it subtly interacts from its facade.

Ex-Machina House, images via

The warm outside view, however, stops abruptly inside the building, spacious and silent but deeply cold. From the rooms you cannot see the outside, which makes it a space that is not only cold but oppressive. The mention is relevant because one of the situations that climate change is forcing us into is to rethink the way we live indoors. As the heat increases, the human has to think about how to protect himself from the outside. How to guarantee that inside houses and buildings there is a climate that allows you to protect yourself from what happens outside?Of course, the most valuable questions are how to stop this climate crisis and how to start the process to reverse it. However, we must also look inside what happens inside our own homes, something that was accentuated during the pandemic caused by Covid-19. While we were outside we forgot some of the problems that existed within us. After the pandemic, suicide, domestic violence and psychological problems skyrocketed in certain Latin American countries. Perhaps the complexities of climate change can be combated with initiatives that lead to improvements in the environment and in humanity’s interaction with it. But as long as we don’t look inward, significant change seems still unattainable. What is architecture doing so that work and living spaces improve the interior of people in all aspects?