Ingels’ Lecture “Hot and Cold” was held at the Architecture Association, in London explores how architecture responds and adapt to its climate. He is known for his narrative as he is a great storyteller. The lecture represents “Vernacular 2.0” (Bjarke Ingels – Hot and Cold, 2015) where architecture takes up its environmental surroundings and response to its climate it inhabits using local resources. This lecture was chosen for critical analysis of how architecture is the cause and the solution to climate-related problems as the threat climate change poses is real and buildings are mostly involved.
“Hot to Cold” represent Bjarke Ingels Group(BIG) vision of architecture where there is a lack of consideration of environmental factors of how they can be used to develop a building. Bjarke Ingels founded the group in 2006 where the architecture firm approaches disparate weather systems from all around the world and take into considerations the surrounding environment, culture, and climate.
Bjarke Ingels opens the lecture about the international sight of modernism co-in sided with building engineering such as the lever house in New York (1) and the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen (2) which created a lot of technological freedom that liberated the architecture such as the air conditioning, central heating where we became independent of thick walls and we became independent with windows, daylight, mechanical ventilation where we don’t have to open the windows to get fresh air.
As a result, the buildings started to look the same from all around the world without looking at its immediate surroundings.Ingels was talking about Rudosky who was reminiscing about the days where architecture would evolve through centuries by adapting through the surroundings that the local population find ways of using local materials, to respond to its local climate in ways that would make it inhabitable for this climate for human life. He was fascinated by what he called vernacular architecture like local people use their own materials and local techniques to respond to its environments, for example, the flatlands in China, the houses’ courtyards are sunken to protect the houses from the prevailing winds. But Ingels is actually using the technology that we have nowadays and built building that adapt to the environment. He called it “Vernacular 2.0”. The “Vernacular 2.0” relates to Le Corbusier’s interpretation of vernacular architecture.The VM houses design by BIG incorporates Le Corbusier’s residential units design such as the geometries of housing as Le Corbusier’s idea was to create apartments with unique sizes to promote the social diversity in the same building. Natural light was another factor that was included in the VM houses and it was named after its angular balconies that let the natural sunlight that the residents can enjoy. The interior corridors were rethought as a social space where natural light-starved endings to create a sense of community. The idea comes from the reinterpretation of Le Corbusier’s idea of “interior streets”. (homify.co.uk, 2014) Ingels’ vision of adapting the environment relates to Jonathan Hill, Weather architecture,”When environmental awareness is of growing relevance, the overriding aim is to understand a history of architecture as a history of weather and thus to consider the weather as an architectural author that affects design, construction and use in creative dialogue with other authors such as architect and user.” (Stilwell, 2017)But the “Vernacular 2.0” that Ingels is proposing is not going back and build like they did before architecture had technology but build in a different way. Figure 4 – World map of Koppen climate classificationThe map represents the climate of the world where the red represents “hot” and the blue represent “cold”. (Bjarke Ingels – Hot and Cold, 2015).The extreme the climate is, the more architecture is responding actively to either try to survive in a warm or cold climate. The skyscraper that they are building in Shenzhen, Hong Kong is one of the great example of vernacular architecture where Hong Kong is a very warm and humid climate and to build an office building in a subtropical climate, the use of daylight should be maximized, and the thermal exposure should be minimized. Most of the building in Hong Kong is made from glass which do not adapt to its local climate so to create shade, the building is completely faced to the north but blocks the sunlight from the south so when you look south you see these local’s bamboos walls that washed in daylight and when you turned around and look to the north it’s completely transparent. They came up with an interesting façade like the structure of a palm leaf, lamp screen and pleated dress.The different performance of the building makes it unique as the geometry of the building adapt to its surroundings and climate. He meant that with all the new sophisticated engineering and technology, we can simulate the environmental surroundings of a buildings and predict where to position the building to make maximum use of sunlight instead of electric light which will help to tackle climate change. We can find different ways of responding with the design of the building to its context as a “conscious architecture” should be reasonable to find solution to specific problems.”Architecture is always responding to prehistoric condition but the condition you can never escape is climate but there is other condition such the culture, the economy and the inhabits of the people” (Bjarke Ingels – Hot and Cold, 2015).The surrounding environments should be considered before building as when you look at the map of Manhattan since the 17th century, we have been creating increasingly land fill (figure 6) which put New York at a high frequency of hurricane and flooding. And when hurricane Sandy occurred, the New Yorkers were not prepared and protect. To protect the city without creating a sea wall, Bjarke Ingels combines the work of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs where Robert Moses wanted to plow a highway through Greenwich Village and Jane Jacobs rallied the local community and managed to mount such a great resistance to defeat the plans. So, Bjarke Ingels thought about the Big U or Dry Line, which is a protective system around Manhattan, where it will protect the residents from future climate disasters. It consists of multiple but linked and interact the neighbourhood which has its own set of functions In summary, Bjarke Ingels’ architecture can cause a massive impact at a planetary scale where we are the solution to tackle climate change. Projects like Dry Line are vital but somehow, we created all this land in Manhattan but now we must find smart ways of making our cities resilient. Somehow the lecture “Hot to Cold” revolutionized the way I think of architecture as instead of seeing a building as an empty box for people, but a design should respond to social, environmental, and historical needs.