May 26–Sep 19, 2021

Natural History of Architecture

how the climate, epidemics and energy have shaped the city
21, bld Morland, 75004 Paris Map
Tue–Sat 10:30 am–6:30 pm, Sun 11 am–7 pm

The history of architecture and of the city, as we know it since the second half of the 20th century, has most often been re-read through political, social and cultural prisms, forgetting the physical, climatic or health reasons which it has nevertheless founded, from urban planning to the shape of buildings.

Architecture arises from the need to create a climate to maintain our body temperature at 37°C, raising roofs and walls to shelter from the cold or the heat of the sun. Originally, the city invented itself as an granary to store and protect grain. The first architectures reflected the available human energy. The fear of stagnant air generated the great domes of the Renaissance to ventilate the miasmas. The global epidemic of cholera which began in 1816 committed the great urban transformation of the 19th century. The use of white lime which runs throughout modernity is above all hygienic. More recently, oil has made it possible to develop cities in the desert ... and today CO2 rebuilds the architectural discipline on itself.

The exhibition offers a triple chronological route: an unprecedented history of architecture and cities based on natural, energetic or health causes, the evolution of construction materials but also evolution, through scaling objects, energies and lighting techniques. This new approach, which one could qualify as objective, brings the eras together and forges unexpected links. The secular whiteness of the roofs of Shibām in Yemen resonates with the project of modernity, the invention of the decorative arts with the current thermal curtains, the domes with the ventilation of the HBMs ... The whole brings out the real foundations of forms, materials and the necessary arrangements for living, storing, refreshing, protecting, ventilating, treating ...

The exhibition and the accompanying book shed light on the natural, physical, biological or climatic conditions, from prehistory to the present day, in order to understand how to face the major environmental challenges of our century and build better tomorrow in the face of climate change. climate emergency and new health challenges.