This research project aims to analyse the “Thermal Regimes“ of Santiago de Chile associated with its political and economic development of the last decades. The main objective is to investigate the development of energy-efficient regulations in housing production, focusing on passive strategies, as means to modernise the building stock. Emerging globally, thermal performance’s best practices take the form of standards whose significance must be questioned.
By definition, standards operate within an essentialist view of comfort, set by technical and socio-cultural conventions in history. While thermal comfort is a highly malleable and subjective notion, regulations have to define its different parameters with fixed values and numbers, providing the legal framework to its institutional enforcement. These criteria are often developed outside of the built environment, with methods of building science and rational approach in contrast to inhabitants’ daily practices. Nevertheless, expertise and codes are constructed from knowledge based on empirical studies and their implementation takes place in a given site at a given time. Thermal regulation is always subject to negotiations during its translation into built form. So, in this entangled relationship between reason and experience, I will follow the thermal standards, starting from their formation and diffusion, to their interpretation and application.
Controversies are not solely about the opposition of users’ practices against technical concerns and economic principles, but also about the hybrids of human and nonhuman entangled within it, as well as the place of the expertise. The goal is to understand the traces and outcomes of thermal standards, what form does the passive, thermally comfortable house ultimately take in Santiago. Questioning the relevance of standardisation and learning from it at the same time, new modes of thermal governance and agencies of passive climate control would be proposed.