Atmospheric Infrastructures to Deal with the Transition

  • Nerea Calvillo
Keywords: air pollution, toxicity, infrastructures, commons, speculation


The air is one of the indicators of the Anthropocene. Since the Industrial Revolution it is an artificial environment, although Peter Sloterdijk claims that it was not until the 20th century that the air was designed, when the Germans used toxic gas as a weapon during World War I. And yet, as architect historian Rayner Banham pointed out, the air –and even more air pollution- has been mostly absent from architecture and urban debates. What do we need to know about it in order to operate in/with it? How can we, as architects, start dealing with it? Can we think about what Sloterdijk termed as “air design”, and which tools do we have to develop it? To respond to these questions, drawing from feminist technoscience and feminist theory literature I suggest to thinking about the urban air as a complex sociotechnical assemblage, to acknowledge its materiality, its effects, its bodies and politics. If, as a heuristic, we considered this aerial sociotechnical assemblage a city, what would its urbanisms be?

Visual Essay