ABSTRACT

The miasma theory, which emerged in Ancient Greece and spread through the middle ages until the nineteenth century, claimed that air was a poisonous vapour that spread disease. Vitruvius believed cities had to protect from the winds to block bad omens from entering buildings. Ovid said that ‘air and water corrupt, if not moved’ and encouraged breeze in buildings. In the most primitive forms of architecture, air movement was one of the most desired physical phenomena. However, in the mid-twentieth century, air in buildings became filtered, heated, chilled or treated and boxed inside ducts in laminar flows of homogenized temperature and speed. The consideration of air in modern building has become limited to laminar flows and architecture focused on structural, tectonic and helio-technic1 concerns.