Experiments on Thermal Comfort and Modern Architecture: The Contributions of André Missenard and Le Corbusier

Abstract : The early scientific researches into the thermo-regulative response of the human body during the 1920s and the 1930s normalized thermal condi- tions in working and educational environments to improve user’s perfor- mance. The European and American contexts of housing promotion and industrial development during post-war extended this approach to different environments. Geographers, physiologists and engineers encouraged manufactured in- door atmospheres that could overcome human shortcomings resulting from environmental and biological conditions. Climate, indoor atmospheres and human body were interlinked to develop the ideal environment for mod- ern society. Paradoxically, these original notions and researches have been used to promote both bioclimatic and weatherized architectures along the second half of the twentieth century. The French engineer, researcher and industrialist André Missenard was a prominent contributor to the study on the thermo-physiology of comfort as well as its experimental application to engineering and architecture. As a collaborator of the architect Le Corbusier, his influence not only attempt- ed technical fields, but to the whole notion of the ideal environment for modern society. Consequently, Le Corbusier’s works during the post-war became a collective laboratory on hygro-thermal control, where passive and active systems were constructs of what Missenard called ‘artificial climates’. Based on an original research at the Foundation Le Corbusier archives and the French National Library, this communication presents the design method of the Grille Climatique and the buildings for the Millowners As- sociation (Ahmadabad, India) and the House of Brazil (Paris, France) as study cases. As a result, the paper discusses the influence of physiology and environmental technology in the early approaches to thermal environments in architecture, what afterwards supported both bioclimatic and mechanical viewpoints.
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Ignacio Requena-Ruiz, Daniel Siret. Experiments on Thermal Comfort and Modern Architecture: The Contributions of André Missenard and Le Corbusier. Third EAHN International Meeting, Jun 2014, Torino, Italy. ⟨hal-01175874⟩

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