The Temperature of Architecture

 

Title: The Temperature of Architecture
Publisher: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH
Edited by: Dietmar Eberle and Florian Aicher

The book of manifesto in structural form of a new conception of architecture


“I want to determine my relation to my environment myself.” This sentence of Dietmar Eberle’s introduces a book, just published by Birkhäuser, about one of the most widely talked-about new buildings in the German-speaking world. be 2226, an office building completed in 2013 by baumschlager eberle in Lustenau, Austria is a stroke of liberation – a stroke of liberation by an architect against a prevalent tendency in which the construction of buildings is shrinking more and more into the domain of “experts” and “technical eccentricity.” Eberle’s building is a “scandal”, as joint editor Florian Aicher writes, because it “does without everything which we have been told ad nauseam is indispensable.”      

The deliberate lack of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and of every item of technical equipment exceeding the minimum, is counterbalanced by a wealth of architectural qualities: high rooms, illuminated lavishly with natural light through large-sized windows, generous distribution of rooms, high-quality materials obtained and worked locally, and a careful yet never pedantic approach to the building’s structural elements create a structural space which speaks to all the senses, which brings both environment and content to a higher level, without the user needing to feel like a foreign body.  

The book is good at recording and explaining the manifold levels on which the building relates to its different users and its environment: thus, initially in a double-sided photo essay, photographer Claudia Klein leads the reader atmospherically into the surroundings of the new office building – and finally, using detailed pictures of various material features, out again. Alongside Dietmar Steiner, Kristin Feireiss, who was early interested in the project, presents her personal view of this “Utopia in realisation”, as – alluding to Heinrich Klotz – she calls the building.  

In addition to “energetic conception”, “control” and “plans and technical details” – all individual chapters, written by the experts involved – gallery-owner Wolfgang Häusler, or the artists whom he represents, document how they came to artistic terms with the building as a context for their own exhibitions.A further pictorial essay, photographed by Eduard Hueber and presented on high-gloss paper, is devoted to “architecture in images.” Essays on “Aspects of health”, “Pure air and comfort”, or “Building materials, building type, building site” demonstrate the broad range of topics in this detailed discourse, covering design, realisation and analysis of use of be 2226.

Thus the book can be seen as a contentual deepening and conceptual extension of a project which, as a manifesto in structural form, proclaims a new understanding of architecture, one in which Man – the user just as much as the planner – takes centre stage again. Or, as Dietmar Steiner puts it: “The new philosophy of energetic planning applied here is giving architecture its dignity back.”

 

Edited by: Dietmar Eberle and Florian Aicher
be baumschlager eberle 2226 – die Temperatur der Architektur / The Temperature of Architecture
Portrait eines energieoptimierten Hauses / Portrait of an Energy-Optimized House
2016, bound, 192 pages
numerous photographs and graphics
ISBN: 978-3-0356-0381-1
Birkhäuser publishers, Basel