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Mollier Houses

©François Lauginie

Mollier Houses, 2005

Philippe Rahm
  • Architect (1967)

Philippe Rahm’s approach is to build bridges between the fields of architecture, art and the sciences. He has been developing a “physiological architecture,” which, through chemical, biological and electromagnetic breaks and shifts in the proposed environment disrupt our circadian rhythms and distort our perception of space and time (Hormonorium, 2002; Ghost Flat, 2004). Since 2004, working alone, Rahm has been pursuing his quest for another sort of spatiality, a meteorological architecture composed of atmospheres in which climate issues are integrated in the early stages of the project. Utilizing no other medium than energy itself (addition or subtraction of heat, variation in the intensity of light, qualitative and quantitative modification of the air, humidity, etc.), Rahm’s projects tend to reduce the distance separating the emitter and the receiver to a minimum, with no intermediary construction. For Rahm, architecture is much more than a question of form or composition: it is something that here becomes invisible, a place of symbiotic exchanges between space and our bodies. In Digestible Gulf Stream (2008) he introduces a thermal asymmetry; the Life de Saint Nazaire (2008) reproduces a summer climate in winter, dispersing an ocean spray that we breathe in and ultraviolet light that penetrates our skin; and at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Estonia, a gradual variation in the natural climate is created.

Philippe Rahm (Pully, 1967) studied architecture at the Federal Technical Institutes of Lausanne and Zurich in Switzerland. He founded his firm with Jean-Gilles Décosterd (1963) in 1995 in Lausanne. He went on to create his own firm, Philippe Rahm Architects, in 2008 in Paris. He and Jean-Gilles Décosterd, represented Switzerland in 2002 at the 8th Venice Biennale of Architecture. Their work was featured in numerous international exhibitions (Archilab, 2000; SF-MOMA, 2001; Centre Pompidou, 2007; Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), 2007) as well as the biennales of Lisbon, Valencia, Tirana, Prague and Graz. Rahm was a resident at the Villa Medici (2000) and laureate of the program of the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, Japan, 2003). He is a professor at the ECAL in Lausanne, was a guest professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2003, at the Mendrisio Academy of Architecture, Switzerland in 2005.

Nadine Labedade