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Model of a white high rise building against a black background
Sarah Grieve, Florian Lepinard, and Jacob Sertich
Student Work M.Arch

Deep Freeze: Chilling out in Terra Therma

401 Advanced Topics Studio
2019

The year is 2040, and Chicago is but a few decades shy of experiencing peak radical climate change that will render its environmental profile identical to that of Atlanta's. In preparation for life under extreme heat and humidity, the city launches an urban design initiative to repurpose a network of buildings into archipelagos of coolth. These urban blocks will become both refrigerators and air conditioners in their immediate environments.

One such project is an adaptation of Mies van der Rohe's Federal Center wherein the decommissioned government complex is turned into a center for frigidaria or very cold pools. Inside, citizens chase shadows to cool off and jump into freezing lagoons to chill out. Learning from contemporary municipal water-based cooling technologies and extrapolating ideas from environmental science, HVAC principles and physical chemistry, students will reimagine what was once a poster-project for the type of architecture that accelerated climate change, and turn its ferro-vitreous skeletal figures and their unifying plaza into a climatic modifier that tempers the world around it. In so doing, the studio will necessarily engage ideas on the substance and appearance of a cool architecture of the near future.

Related Faculty
Mohamed Sharif
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