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Scholarship of Design
Climatic Design and Its Others:
“Southern” Perspectives in the Age of the Anthropocene
Jennifer Ferng, Jiat-Hwee Chang, Erik L’Heureux & Daniel J. Ryan
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Drawing on cases from the tropical and subtropical worlds (in Australia and Southeast Asia), we employ southern architectural examples to interrogate normative assumptions around climatic design. As the foundation for a new history of climatic design, this article seeks not only to challenge northern, temperate views of climate in the age of the Anthropocene but also to emphasize tropical zones as a significant paradigm for architects to consider. Our three case studies (i.e., early climographs, the Singapore building code, and the Malay house) delve into some of the Others of climatic design in the southern hemisphere, reassessing the legacy of Asian vernacular architecture. Together, these examples offer new interpretations on race and labor, passive cooling, building codes, and visual models used by architects to represent tropical climates. These case studies reveal that southern climatic models are not simply neutral representations and remain deeply entangled with biased assumptions around cultural identity, place, and historical contexts.

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