Energy is Everywhere and Nowhere

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“Energy is Everywhere and Nowhere” is the title of the energy pavilion in the 2017 Architecture and Urbanism Biennale in Seoul, South Korea, September 1st - November 5th 2017

Energy is an elusive concept. While being universally recognized it is rarely understood. We continually misinterpret our thermal interactions with the surroundings. We have curated interfaces  that elucidate often overlooked aspects of energy - from the potentials of low exergy buildings to the misperceived heat transfer from surfaces around us - contextualized within a framework of energy opportunities that are literally everywhere, but nowhere to be seen.

This exhibition reveals the manifestations of energy by unexpected means at three radically different scales: the human body, the building scale, and the urban scale. The various projects displayed explore the transfer of thermal energy which connects all three into an interdependent network of exchange.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the perception energy, which is conflated with the complexities of thermal comfort, building energy, and urban/regional/global distributions. Heat exchange can be influenced by many factors beyond the air temperature, yet we use air temperature as the sole proxy for whether a space is comfortable. First, we demonstrate the active role of clothing as a critical mitigator of thermal comfort affecting the perceived experience in architecture, but remaining awkwardly separate in the discourse. We re-unite these domains exhibit “fabric space”. Next we recognize the material domain of the tactile interaction with physical medium around us as the stairway transforms our sense of touch through various physical phenomena.   In the Installation, “Thermally Alive Space”, we exploit heat transfer by radiation, whereby higher or lower temperature surfaces exchange heat through blackbody radiation of electromagnetic waves. This exchange is independent of any interaction with the air temperature or movement This is made apparent in the steam punk heat pump display recognizing the technical beauty of the guts of the heating and cooling systems of buildings in the form of miniature chiller systems driving the heat conveyance between the radiant system and the ventilation system. The ventilation system shows how mechanical conveyance by fans is often a waste of potential when the there is the bouyancy of air readily able to respond to minor heating and cooling inputs to cause it to become lighter or heavier and drive air in and out of spaces. Finally, we recognize how these heat and cooling variation can be manifested at the urban scale in a project observing the movement of heat through the dense air conditioned fabric of Singapore, and place the motion of heat and energy in the truly global building environment of which South Korea is commiserate part.


Curators: Forrest Meggers and Dorit Aviv, Princeton University



Andrew Cruse, Ohio State University

Kipp Bradford, MIT Media Lab

Marcel Brülisauer, ETH Zürich

Kiel Moe, Harvard University

Salmaan Craig, Harvard University


Team: Eric Teitelbaum, Tyler Kvochick, François Sabourin,

Sean Rucewicz, Hongshan Guo, Melanie Daguin,

Yshai Yudekovitz


Exhibition Design: Georgina Baronian