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2G N.18 Architecture and Energy

Texts: Paul Virilio, Michael Jakob

23 x 30 cm
144 pages
English, Spanish
ISBN: 9771136964009
Paperback
2001

This issue sets out to inquire into the way in which architectures of energy model and express the world we are living in. It presents and discusses the discourse of energy so central to industrialized societies in highlighting a realm hidden for too long a time from our eyes: the realm where energy is actually produced or where it is in transit. There are strong reasons for presenting such a topic today: negative reasons reflecting the state of the world, a state that, as everybody knows after Rio, is the way it is because of decisions in energy politics and positive reasons related to a recent phenomenon: the rise of a new architecture of energy. The latter, that is, the architecture of power stations, substations, hydroelectric plants, etc., has gained renewed momentum during the last decade. Several, mostly European, constructions combine a high architectural quality and the desire "to be seen" (the two aspects are, of course, linked). Their new visibility recalls the "golden age" of electrical architecture from 1900 to the end of the Second World War, and stands as a strong argument against the dominant anonymous and trivial "non-architecture" in the energy sphere. Belonging to different realms (solar energy, hydroelectricity, transformers, windpower, etc.), these buildings testify to the change that has occurred. They demonstrate that a balance between the need for energy supply and environmental quality can be found, and that it can take the form of architectures whose aim is to signify, to be authentic architectural landmarks.

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