Thermodynamic Optimism: Three Energy/Material Dialogues

Lisa Moffitt

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


The built environment is increasingly understood as part of a thermodynamic regime, yet the fundamental physical processes that govern that regime are not broadly understood within the discipline. This paper explores spatial
implications of the laws of thermodynamics in order to expand architecture’s
energetic epistemology. It then elaborates on a single topic of central concern to
developing a more generous and expanded reading of energy in architecture, the relationship between matter and energy. Drawing from student work completed in a University of Edinburgh third year design studio, “Drawing Energy Kerrera,” three energy/material dialogues are explored: fluid fronts, material as registrar, and material geographies. These reading offer a softer, more qualitative framework for engaging with energy generatively and introduces a methodological counterpoint or supplement to conventional metric-based analytic approaches for analysing energy in sustainable design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalEdinburgh Architecture Research
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Thermodynamic, Architecture, Material, Energy

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