“There are cases that can be solved by making the invisible visible.” – Mushishi: Zoku-Sho, Banquet at the Forest’s Edge
This is a case study project for the Expiratory Atmospheric Pressure Laboratory (EAP LAB) which is a facility designed for exploring the therapeutic and physiological applications of breathing within variable atmospheric spaces. It is about studying athletic performance, sleeping disorders, and decision-making abilities in ways that focus less on the devices of airflow and more on the spatial characteristics of the environment. 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.