“There are cases that can be solved by making the invisible visible.” – Mushishi: Zoku-Sho, Banquet at the Forest’s Edge
The Expiratory Atmospheric Pressure Laboratory (EAP LAB) is a research facility designed for studying the physical and psychological effects of breathing within variable atmospheric spaces. Studies carried out in the past have looked at athletic performance, sleeping disorders, decision-making abilities, and therapeutic applications regarding oxygen deprivation. However, these studies tend to ignore the spatial characteristics of the environment and focus more on devices that control airflow. For this project, space is the machine for breathing.
All aspects of form are generated through a series of exercises that treat the traditional architectural object as a collection of volumetric particles that transition from a single solid mass. The aesthetic qualities of this transition are additionally manipulated by wrapping, pinching, and torquing the form into a bulbous thing. It is through this process of sculptural sublimation that things, once invisible and small as a particle, ultimately become visible as a solidified gaseous form.
Atmospheric and breathing research is carried out by controlling the hourly rate of oxygen renewal in each room. Standard rates of oxygen renewal are designated for offices, hallways, lobbies, and all mechanical, maintenance, and storage rooms. Special rooms for studying, sleeping, eating, relaxation, and physical training are reserved for both lower and higher rates of oxygen renewal per hour. A similar logic applies to the site, but instead of controlling oxygen levels, the site acts as a machine to clean the air pollution from the surrounding buildings and vehicles. Larger ventilation pillars are used to collect pollution and bring it into the facility to be cleaned and filtered. The site is designed for people to experience noticeably different atmospheric effects depending on the quantity and quality of breathable air in their environment.
Design, research, and prototyping with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL), University of Calgary, including Jason Johnson, Ryan Cook. 2014.