English versions of the following articles are available online

Title: The Energy our Territory Requires
Author: Máximo Pacheco. Minister of Energy, Gobierno de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: In this op-ed piece, the Minister of Energy invites us to face a crucial problem for a country such as Chile: without energy at reasonable prices the social inequality that we criticize will only expand. But the Minister also invites us to change the focus and thus «transform energy into a social equalizer,» with a State more active in the solution of this crucial problem.
Keywords: Chile, inequality, resources, electricity, development
[read more…]

Title: Colonizing the last frontiers: the potential of energy landscapes in Chilean Patagonia
Author: Anita Berrizbeitia. Director, Master in Landscape Architecture, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. / Tomás Folch. Director, Center of Landscape Ecology and Urbanism, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: The intense debate over HidroAysén, the hydroelectric project in Chilean Patagonia, has overlooked the real conditions of a landscape that some want to protect and others wish to intervene upon. Based on the analysis of the discourses around this project, this paper describes the potential (in terms of landscape management) of an intervention of this magnitude on a territory that in all truth is not so pristine.
Keywords: energy, landscape, debates, Patagonia, HidroAysén
[read more…]

Title: Domestic Astronomy
Author: Philippe Rahm. Design Critic in Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Abstract: Cold air sinks and hot air rises. Based on this principle, Domestic Astronomy proposes rearranging the interior of a home according to the temperatures required by each use, thus avoiding the physical subdivision of the spaces (walls and doors). This way it will be the airflows that determine functions so that thermal comfort does not force us to sacrifice the spatial fluidity so characteristic of modern architecture.
Keywords: temperature, light, section, domestic space, exhibition
[read more…]

Title: Evaporated Rooms. An Apartment for a Young Doctor
Author: Philippe Rahm. Design Critic in Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Abstract: In the renewal of this apartment, the assumptions made in Domestic Astronomy have been tested in the real world. Given a predefined floor plan, the intervention focuses on relocating the functions in section according to the temperature, light and humidity that each one needs. Thus, form follows the flows of energy, completely redefining the usual logics of architectural composition.
Keywords: temperature, air flows, section, domestica space, apartment
[read more…]

Title: Local Warming
Author: Carlo Ratti. Director, MIT Senseable City Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. / Matthew Claudel. Researcher, MIT Senseable City Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Abstract: If much of the energy utilized in heating is lost, what if instead of heating the air within the spaces we focus on directing heat toward the people that move through them? Amid the debate over ‘global warming,’ Local Warming invites us to change the focus of the discussion by proposing an alternative based on targeting caloric energy.
Keywords: heating, targeting, global warming, hearth, efficiency
[read more…]

Title: Office Buildings in Santiago: What are we doing from the point of view of energy consumption?
Author: Claudio Vásquez. Associate professor, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile / Felipe Encinas. Assistant professor, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. / Renato D’Alençon. Researcher, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Abstract: What kind of facade is the most energy efficient for a Mediterranean climate like Santiago? This article presents an energy efficiency analysis in offices built in Santiago between 2005 and 2011. The conclusions are far from what we see today: buildings with mixed facades (walls and windows) are more efficient than glazed facades.
Keywords: energy, consumption, office buildings, typological analysis, sustainability, Santiago
[read more…]

Title: Ethics of care of urban resources: maintenance and repair on a public bicycle system
Author: Martín Tironi. Professor, Escuela de Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: Maintenance and repair are actions that prevent the transformation of resources into waste. Thus, for the contemporary city to qualify as efficient, the invisible work of those who maintain and repair urban resources is essential. Delving into the invisible layers of the city, this research brings awareness to those, almost artisan, practices that, without much publicity, let us enjoy ‘intelligent’ cities or ‘sustainable’ transportation systems.
Keywords: maintenance, repair, ethics, resources, public bicycles, smart city
[read more…]

Title: Immobile: recycling the Citroën 2CV as inhabitable space. Chile, 1973
Author: Rodrigo Pérez de Arce. Professor, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: In late 1973 in Architectural Design, Martin Pawley published «Garbage Housing», a dossier including a proposal from Cornell for Chile. Through this episode (with the environmental crisis and the Chilean coup as backdrops) this article reminds us of a time when scarcity drove a creative approach to architecture, even considering waste as a resource and the idle capacity of factories as potential energy.
Keywords: recycling, Pawley, Garbage Housing, Citröen, Chile
[read more…]

Title: The price of cold
Author: Nicola Twilley. Editor of blog Edible Geography and collaborator of The New Yorker magazine, New York, USA.
Abstract: Based on a multidisciplinary research about food’s ecological footprint, this article shows that the exponential increase in refrigeration in recent decades has had several harmful effects on the environment: more energy is consumed and more gases that are harmful to the atmosphere are emitted. And, as if that weren’t enough, it also increases the production of waste, because since we have refrigerators we buy more food than we are capable of consuming.
Keywords: food, refrigeration, China, resources, climate change
[read more…]

Editorial. A last resource

Published in 1972, the The Limits to Growth report concluded that if the growth rates continued as they were, the earth would be out of resources by the middle of the twenty-first century¹. These alarming conclusions –that echo Garret Hardin’s criticism²– initiated one of the most successful discourses in the last fifty years: ecological awareness. A year later, the oil crisis of 1973 transformed these warnings into reality and demonstrated just how life could be without energy nor resources.

Although met with resistance in the beginning, the effectiveness of this discourse has been such that today we have internalized its message. In the last four decades we have learned that resources are finite, that limitless growth harms the planet, and if we do not make our energy consumption more efficient, the following generations will pay the price for the lifestyle that we enjoy today.

Even industry (the main target of criticism in the early seventies) has absorbed these ideas and developed products that are more respectful of the environment so much so that the discussion on ‘sustainable architecture’ is only possible thanks to an industry capable of providing products and materials that allow buildings to earn rigorous certifications. In this way, what previously required a good, environmentally aware architect is now resolved simply by completing a checklist.

But when everything is ‘green’ the world becomes monochromatic. So in contemporary architecture, we find ecological awareness in a critical balance. We know that we cannot ignore it, because construction is one of the main consumers of energy and resources. Yet ‘sustainability’ has become a cliché and maybe it is better to turn the page. Given this context, why dedicate an issue of ARQ to a consolidated argument instead of positioning some new topic?.

Architecture is like a continuous conversation that, when it becomes repetitive, changes topic to maintain interest. However, there are issues, such as energy and resources, that are too important to leave aside. At such a moment, a magazine such as ARQ has the responsibility to seek out arguments and points of view capable of refreshing these issues that despite their urgency appear exhausted. These new approaches are precisely what we wish to share in this issue.

Reopening the «Opinion» section, the Minister of Energy shows us the current challenges Chile faces in this area. Then, in the «Readings» section, Anita Berrizbeitia and Tomás Folch invite us to analyze (without prejudice) the possibilities of a controversial project such as HidroAysén; Rodrigo Pérez de Arce reminds us that, at the beginning of the seventies, the recycling of waste was being discussed in architecture and that Chile was at the center of these debates; Martín Tironi observes that maintenance is fundamental to the care of urban resources; Claudio Vásquez, Felipe Encinas and Renato D’Alençon demonstrate the energy inefficiency of many of the Santiago’s office buildings; and Nicola Twilley, finally, teaches us that refrigeration not only contributes to global warming but that is also leads us to produce more waste than we realize.

But there are also possibilities existing in the area of design. For example, Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos shows how the clever design of masses and voids can create effective ventilation on the scale of a public building, while Guillermo Hevia Arquitectos proves that these preoccupations can even be carried over into industrial buildings. We also present two projects by Philippe Rahm, a Swiss architect who during the last decade has developed what could be the most creative explorations pertaining to energy, even redefining the domestic space. Close behind, the MIT Senseable Lab proposes an ironic turn to the problem: to focus heat on people instead of heating spaces, an exercise in a neoliberal key that could dissolve the hearth, as its creators keenly observed. As an epilogue, the Spanish collective Basurama, brings us back to earth with a record of waste production (wasted resources) in America and Spain.

All of these approaches share a certain skepticism towards sustainability as a slogan, visualizing the possibilities that appear once we surpass the green step on the chromatic scale, and help us to rethink the critical dimensions of energy and resources in architecture.

While these issues have been around for forty years (and its reiteration can lead us to believe that they are already resolved on a structural level) the truth is that the urgency has not diminished over time. In fact, and even considering David Harvey’s skepticism in the nineties³, later updates to The Limits to Growth indicate that the scenarios foreseen in 1972 are already playing out and we are ever closer to the day in which will be out of resources.

Faced by such a frightening outlook, there may be one last thing to fall back on: the intelligence of architects to rethink the world we live in. At arq we commit all our energy to promote the rational use of this last resource⁴.

1. MEADOWS, Donella; et al. The Limits to growth; a report for the Club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind (New York: Universe Books, 1972)

2. HARDIN, Garrett. «The Tragedy of the Commons». Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859. (Dec. 13, 1968): 1243-1248.

3. Ver/See: HARVEY, David. «What’s Green and Makes the Environment go Round?» En/In: The Cultures of Globalization. Edited by Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998), 327-355

4. Ver/See: MEADOWS, Donella; et al. The limits to growth: the 30-year update (White River Junction, vt: Chelsea Green Pub., 2004). Bardi , Ugo. The Limits to Growth Revisited (New York, NY: Springer New York, 2011).