Confinement - MILLIØNS - The Temperamental Interior

The Temperamental Interior


MILLIØNS, Collectives II, tentative plan, 2016.

February 2021

Somewhere between the stereotomic stonework of classical architecture and the “service cavity” logic of the modern plenum wall lies a different conception of solidity in which the whole casuistry of modern comfort is intentionally destabilized by the energetic storage capacity of thermal mass.

When placed in conversation with sunlight and air, thermal mass obliterates the sovereignty of program by tethering existence to the dynamism of ever-changing interior thermal properties, which lag always behind exterior conditions. Raumplan replaces floor plan. Volume replaces space. Thermal vacillation replaces mechanical ventilation. Radically variable wall thickness replaces standardized widths. Life finds itself amid less rigid, less static considerations. It becomes less exact, more approximate. Catharsis and punctuated equilibrium serve as anchors. Comfort comes in waves, and is made more overwhelming by its regular absence. The ambiguities of temperature and temperament are given free play, replacing the stillness of thermo-programmed lives. Architecture is displaced to a dense field of cyclical realities: diurnal, seasonal, emotional, nutritional, recreational, physiological, respirational, perspirational. Modernity still demands contempt for all these “little things.”

Temperament again becomes an experimental arena, where deliberate physiognomic explorations into countercultural habits unmask the banalities and false exactitudes of psychrometric logic. No more floors or corridors or efficient circulation schemes. No more “room schedules” or amenity-based lifestyles. No more thermal isolation or total environmental control. In place of all these formulas arises a knowingly unstable atavism—the temperamental interior—which posits, deep down, on a proto-architectural register that is nearly formally autonomous, a philosophy of interiority that finally decouples life from the anesthetizing regularity of mechanical thermostasis.

The concept of an energetically unprogrammed architecture emerges, founded on active bodies living amid active surfaces in a deregulated interior, where life wells up in various spaces at various times—never establishing itself with permanence in any one location—coalescing for the duration of a spectacle saturnalia, dissipating later into the intimacy of solitude. Architecture as a platform for the exercising of new habits and temperaments, and daily life as lived research into well-being and self-care.

A ray of sunlight falls onto life. Physiognomic cults—solar cults of shadows and perfect brightness, cults of moving warmth and coolness—take the place of so-called modern culture, because that culture is no longer worth preserving. A voluntary way of living grows, a life in the sun and the moon and the high mountains. A severity toward oneself, and a seeking after everything strange and questionable in existence.

Confinement is a collaborative exhibition curated by gta exhibitions and e-flux Architecture, supported by the Adrian Weiss Stiftung and the ETH Zürich Foundation.

Modernism, Architecture
Autonomy, Everyday Life, Energy
Return to Confinement

MILLIØNS is a Los Angeles-based experimental design practice founded by John May and Zeina Koreitem.


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