Cross-cultural thermal knowledge: The case of large-scale tobacco barns in Sumatra (Indonesia)

Medium: conference paper
Language(s): en 
Conference: 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Published in:
Page(s): 257-262
Year: 2018
Abstract: Based on fieldwork conducted in 2013 and 2014 in the former Swiss colonial plantation “Helvetia” in the plantation belt around the city of Medan (Sumatra, Indonesia), this paper highlights the structure of large-scale tobacco barns and the mechanisms of controlling their microclimates. One particular barn has been measured and various forms of representation have been fabricated (plans and diagrams). In these structures, vernacular and modern, informal and industrial influences are overlaid on top of one another. The study of tobacco barns might inspire broader reflections on the (Eurocentric) notions of comfort and climate control that incorporate both the natural as well as the cultural environment. Moreover, one could speak in this case of the formation of a new cross-cultural body of thermal knowledge, that isn’t derived from residential buildings and office spaces alone.

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