052-1113-23L  Architectural Design V-IX: Borderline(s) Investigation #10 AIR (A.Theriot)

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersA. Theriot
Periodicityevery semester recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentPlease register (Link) only after the internal enrolment for the design classes (see Link).

Project grading at semester end is based on the list of enrolments on 1.11.2023 (valuation date) only. This is the ultimate deadline to unsubscribe or enroll for the studio.


052-1113-23 UArchitectural Design V-IX: Borderline(s) Investigation #10 AIR (A.Theriot) Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.
Permission from lecturers required for all students.
No course 24/25.10 (seminar week).
16 hrs
Tue09:45-17:30ONA E 25 »
Wed08:00-17:30ONA E 25 »
A. Theriot

Catalogue data


A fish asks itself: "What is water"? We can answer this question in its place. We can describe what it feels like to stand in a thunderstorm or go swimming. But can we just as easily answer the question: "What is air"?
ObjectiveAir is to humans what water is to fish: something both omnipresent and invisible. An element that is essential to our survival, and in which we are so constantly immersed that we are unable to describe it in simple words.

Air is a context

Air has no shape. Air is malleable. Air is volatile. And yet air sustains us. It's how we breathe. It also defines our environment. We talk about the "air of the times". We say "it's in the air". This air is the atmosphere of the times. In French, we also say "air de musique". So air is a little more than background noise. It's a secret rhythm specific to a moment, an era or a place. It is the secret melody of the here and now.

Air stimulates exchanges

While we can define the "zeitgeist", air, as an atmospheric entity, is impossible to grasp. Air is in constant motion. Air is a vector of exchanges, and all architecture must accommodate these exchanges. The ventilation and air conditioning of a building are based on the permanent trajectories of stale air and healthy air. A building is never inert. A building must breathe. Designing an architectural project means designing a lung: knowing where the air comes in and where it goes out, and how it is transformed. The air circuit is the invisible framework of the space.

Air is a preponderant unspeakable.

Air is a paradox. Informative and invisible, it is nevertheless the very material of space. The most elegant buildings are often presented as bubbles or capsules. Jewels in which even the air becomes precious. You can breathe better inside than outside. The best-performing structures are those where materials are lightened, where air circulation is given pride of place.
Talking about air is like talking about silence in music: it's the counterpoint to the composition, an emptiness that gives even more value to the full. But as soon as we talk about silence, it disappears. To speak of it is to run the risk of altering it. The same applies to air. There is of course the possibility of materialising it, or even capturing it, in inflatable structures. But this is not the only possible strategy. Air can be given importance, while at the same time being deliberately allowed to escape.
So it's not easy to talk about air in terms of architectural composition. There's a great risk of weighing down its lightness. We have to be aware of the importance of this invisible part, without underlining it.
Invoking air means invoking three dimensions. The first is a wider socio-cultural context than just the urban one. The second is the dynamic of exchanges - including invisible exchanges - that will shape a healthy spatiality. The third is the very mystery of this element, at once primordial and elusive, which makes it, in essence, the secret fuel of all architecture.
ContentWe aim to seize economic requirements to transform constraints into levers, producers of qualities. These may well be tangible or intangible, prosaic or poetic, constant or unstable, general or occasional... As long as they are initiated by the economy and located far from any rationality. Creating generosity, “excesses” that make the strength and uniqueness of a place.
The semester will unfold in three chapters:


From the 22.09 to the 24.09
This trip is mandatory and will include a workshop with the photographer Johannes Schwartz

- Three sessions with the artist Hunter Lounge
- 3D visualisations
- Structure
- Facade and envelope


This semester will be organized with a twin studio in AAM.
Topics, reviews and trips will be shared with the studio of Stéphanie Bru.
Prerequisites / NoticeGroup work only.

Introduction: 19.09.23, 9h00 Kunsthaus Langenthal
Intermediate crit: 11.10.23 / 14.11.23
Final crits 21.12.23
Extra costs: Approx. CHF 200.-- per student.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Media and Digital Technologiesassessed
Project Managementassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Sensitivity to Diversityassessed
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityassessed
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection assessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits14 credits
ExaminersA. Theriot
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationUltimate deadline for changing enrolments for this course is 1.11.2023, 24:00 h.
After this date it is strictly forbidden to enrol for the course or to delete the enrolment!

Learning materials

Main linkInformation
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


General : Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers
Permission from lecturers required for all students

Offered in

Architecture BachelorArchitectural Design (from 5. Semester on)WInformation