Water Pumping Windmills, 1978 (from Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, An Appropriate Technology Working Atlas, Texas)


My PhD thesis deals with the history of the integration of climate data in the design process, in architecture but more generally in all design processes. The main part of my research consists in retracing the evolution of bioclimatic design from the first research carried out on climatology applied to architecture and urban planning, at the end of the 1940s, to the projects developed following the energy crisis, during the 1970s and 1980s. My research took the form of a vast investigation; I conduct numerous interviews across France and abroad with the actors of bioclimatic design and I have collected a large number of documents and archives on the subject. My research crosses many disciplines but I am particularly interested in the history of techniques and energies. My objective is to show all the richness of the bioclimatic design and to reveal the motivations of the various actors who contributed to the development of this approach, whether they are engineers, architects or inventors. To do this, I rely on the philosophy of techniques, including the work of André Leroi-Gourhan and Gilbert Simondon.

Douglas Balcomb's house heating system, First Village, Santa Fe, 1979 (from Progressive Architecture, april 1979)


Having collected a very large number of documents, particularly with regard to the period of the 1970s and 1980s, I was able to constitute a fairly rich panorama of the alternative techniques used to capture, store and distribute energy from the climate (solar, wind …) Some of these techniques are currently unknown or correspond to a few rare applications. The “Design by Climate” project aims to constitute a complete collection of these techniques, a classification according to their different operating modes and according to their performance. The first step is to establish an exhaustive collection of passive solar techniques, using exclusively solar energy to operate. Communicating and sharing these techniques is a second objective. The Anthropocene is an opportunity to reactivate many of these techniques, for a more sustainable future.
You can follow the research on the Instagram of Design by Climate.

Douglas Balcomb's house, First Village, Santa Fe, 1979 (from Progressive Architecture, april 1979), auteur : Elliott McDowell