Swiss architect speaks with Kent State architecture students

Colin Baker

Philippe Rahm, a Swiss architect, presented at the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design Wednesday. He encouraged Kent State architecture majors considering a practice in design to make use of the environment around them.

Rahm, whose firm is based in Paris and Rome, is a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has won international competitions for contracts based on his proposals, according to his firm’s website.

Rahm said more eco-friendly construction is a conscious and economical decision, and these principles are used in his project for the Jade Eco Park in Taiwan.

“Vegetation and trees are used in urban parks for cooling and reducing air pollution,” Rahm said. “These also decrease energy usage. With more plants and some climatic cooling devices, less air conditioning needs to be used.”

Rahm’s lecture was part of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s annual guest lecture series, featuring standout individuals in the field.

Rahm said the best environmental designs to use are green roofs and varying materials for buildings, and for parks to use grass walkways over streets.

In addition, Rahm showcased his redesign of the public spaces in the former French National Radio building, which used spaces for dining areas, as well as steel and wooden tables and chairs.

“Steel and glass have the highest levels of light and heat diffusion,” Rahm said. “Using these in my renovation project, we created cafe spaces for the winter and summertime.”

After most of the crowd had left, William Willoughby, the associate dean of CAED, said he enjoyed the lecture and the annual appearances.

“The lecture series has been a part of CAED for decades and dates back to at least the 1960s,” Willoughby said. “I hope the students here learned a lot from this lecture.”

Colin Baker is the architecture and construction reporter. Contact him at [email protected].