What are possible rituals that could relate body and water today – in both public and intimate realms? Understanding architecture as a mean to shape experiences, the urban “bath house”, “spa” or “water facility” is a place capable to house leisure, pleasure, health or hygiene, but essentially is an immersive space to engage water. It is assumed that the spatial experiences of the user – and the memories they generate – result from the articulation of three architectural systems: Relations, Atmospheres and Materials.
How can architecture trigger it’s ability to establish “a collective way of life” and, in a more in- timate scale, how does it relate to sensual experiences, personal affections and to particular spatial memories? Building for a water ritual is a personal research on material and building strategies in the pursue of a certain atmospheric quality.
Building for a water ritual results from a transformation of a preexisting parking lot in one of the formerly industrial areas of Zurich. Floor by floor, pillars are cut off the slabs and walls of rammed earth are infilled. A few cut outs in the conrete slabs assure vertical circulation within the newly formed space. The craning concrete slabs around the building protect the earthen walls from erosion.
Worldwide, 2.8 billion tonnes of cement are produced annually. This means that the release of carbon dioxide bound in lime, even under optimal process control, results in an output of at least two billion tons of CO2 or 6% of the world’s annual CO2 emissions. In Switzerland, this figure is as high as 9% of all man-made emissions. There are two main reasons for this: 1. burning the cement required for concrete production is very energy-intensive, 2. however, the greater part of the released carbon dioxide dissolves as geogenic CO2 from the limestone during the burning process.
Sand is the megastar of our industrial and electronic age - we are building on him. But sand is not the same as sand: the construction industry demands grain sizes and rough shapes that are only found in rivers, lakes and oceans. Mountains and rock formations have been weathering into gravel, sand and dust for millions of years. Precipitation then carries the material through watercourses into our oceans. Sand consists mostly of quartz, a mineral made of silicon dioxide. It is one of the most common materials on the earth’s surface and “harder” than steel. This property makes sand so valuable for our industry. The worldwide mining of sand for the construction industry and in particular concrete production is already leading to a noticeable shortage of sand as a raw material. This is especially important because desert sand is not suitable as a building material due to its grain structure. However, once it has been bonded in concrete as an aggregate, it can no longer be recovered. Globally, between 47 and 59 billion tonnes of material is mined every year of which sand and gravel, hereafter known as aggregates, account for both the largest share (from 68% to 85%).
Building systems are becoming increasingly complex with implications for operation and costs. Clay has a regulating effect on the humidity and heat storage of a room. It can both absorb and release moisture. Clay is therefore particularly suitable for residential buildings or the storage of sensitive goods. Pollutants in the interior endanger health and are often found in building materials. Excavation material can be used as a healthy building material directly in buildings. As the finest rock components, clay particles cause the binding of the earth’s material and are decisive for the suitability of clay as a building material.
6th semester Arch Bsc ETH
Studio Cecilia Puga