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Ya s m i n e Vanneste
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Physically speaking frost appears when vapour is changing into solid ice particles when the temperature is going under 0°C. Ice columns are formed and c over the n earest s urface w ith a w hite c old me mbra ne .
T h e
in t en t io n of this book is to discover a wider meaning and potential of frost i tself and its characteristics or properties. For example, as in turning the negative aspects of f reezing into something positive, applicable to architecture. H ow c a n fros t influe nc e e nvironme nta l is s ue s on human scal e? H ow c a n w e a c t a nd inte ra c t, a s a huma n be ing, w ith t he f or m ation a nd de forma tion of fros t? H ow c a n w e us e this phenom enon to c re a te a c ove r? H ow c a n w e us e fros t a s a me dium t o i nf l ue nc e diffe re nt m a te ria ls ? A nd how doe s fros t c ha nge t he way we a c t in our e nvironme nt? The a ns w e r to the s e que s tions is g ive n by the ore tical and by e xpe rime nta l re s e a rc h. B e c a us e the re s e a rc h is done from 16th to 20th S e ptem ber, when fros t norma lly doe s n’t o c c ur in n a ture , a s ubs titute f or exper i me nting w a s us e d, i.e . a fre e z e r. Zooming in a nd e xc e s s ive foc us on the a ppe a ra nc e of f r ost i s t he ma in ide a be hind this a na lys is .
microscopical evolution, stadia of the formation of frost
above image: LIU, YaoMin; LIU, ZhongLiang; HUANG, LingYan; SUN, JunFang (2010) “Fractal model for simulation of frost formation and growth”, in: Science China, Technological Sciences, Vol.53, No.3, Science China Press, p.808 next page: frost on a car window, Creativity103 <http://creativity103.com/collections/Winter/slides/veedubPC177154.html> [accessed: 19/09/’13]
g e n e r a l the air t emperature at d aytime is higher then the air temperature at n ighttime. The air contains a certain amount of water. The percentage of water in the air is called the relative humidity. Physics have proven the higher the t emperature is, the more water it can contain. Because the temperature decreases at night, the w ater in the air also does. The excess of water (from daytime) in the air, finds itself a way down to the earth on plants, rocks, grass and b uildings. This is called dew. In cold weather the ground temperature can often drop below f reezing point. The dew on surfaces is cooled enough to turn into ice. But also more water, which gets sucked from inside the soil to the surface by capillary action, freezes. A n y o b j e c t , which surface drops below freezing point, has the ability to produce frost. Frost appears on surfaces of this object. By adding layers, the inner object or layers below the top layer, are protected from getting frozen. The presence of frost onto an object in a certain place depends on a lot of factors. And so is its intensity. The frost formation on a surface depends on the heat c apacity of the exposed material. The heat capacity is the amount of heat needed to raise the system’s temperature by one degree. The heat capacity of glass is smaller than the heat c apacity of steel. That’s why frost first appears on the window of a car and afterwards on the steel car frame.
s c a n n e d te x t b o o k to p l e ft : PERIÄINEN, Tapio (1969) Nature, man, architecture. A Study of the S tructure and Measurement of Man’s Relation to Nature in the Garden and D welling-house of Japan and the M editerranean Countries, Helsinki, p. 39 ima g e b o tto m le f t u n d er: G RE E N , Ste v e ( 2 0 0 9 ), Five Trees , F l i c k r, < h t t p : / / w w w. fl i c k ri v e r. c o m / p h o t o s / s t e v e _ g re e n / t a g s / f r o s t/> [ a c c e s s e d : 1 9 /0 9 / ’1 3 ]
Refining the subject of nature, i.e. frost, certain categories are still applicable:
o p t i c e l e m e n t s ............................................. v i s u a l s e n s a t i o n a u d i t o r y e l e m e n t s ............................................. a u d i t o r y s e n s a t i o n t h e r m a l e l e m e n t s ............................................. sensation of cold and warm c u t a n e o u s e l e m e n t s ............................................. s e n s a t i o n o f p a i n
Thinking about frost as an a uditory sensation p ushes me to compare the sound of w alking on white f rosted grass with sounds we n ormally hear e lsewhere. Listening to the b reaking of frost columns r eminds me of listening to the sound of eggs getting crushed or dried leaves getting c rumbled. The sound is pleasant and creates a peace and calm.
labyrinthine elements ............................................. sensation of equilibrium
Unless the pleasant feeling thinking about frost as a sense of hearing, frost can also cause unpleasantness. Frost as a s ensation of ‘pain’. Here pain is meant as an incident with a negative approach. In this e xample we apply the process of frost forming on a crack in concrete ( foundation). B ecause water expands when becoming ice, the crack will burst in more directions.
When watching a frozen field, serenity overwhelms you. It’s as if someone has switched off colours and hereby activity. The white and pure ice columns reflect the light. An enclosed space seemed never as open as when it is covered with frost. Because the ice columns a ttach themselves on the o uter lines of an object, they make the object seem more dense.
The sensation of cold and warm goes somehow together with the tactile sense. Touching a frozen object is quit annoying. You’re fingers stick to the frost and the cold feels like penetrating your warm skin. Somehow the ice wants to a bsorb the warmth of your fingers, so it can melt back into water. The ice columns get broken and reform themselves into a fluid.
t a c t i l e e l e m e n t s ............................................. s e n s a t i o n o f t o u c h v i s c e r a l e l e m e n t s ............................................. o r g a n i c s e n s a t i o n s o l f a c t o r y e l e m e n t s ............................................. sensation of smell and taste kinesthetic elements ............................................. sensation of movements
When water turns into ice, its volume increases with 9%. This phenomenon is moreover considered as something that is negative. Because water fills up to the outer corners of a volume when b ecoming ice, it has no place left to be. The volume either bursts or stretches along. This of course depends on the type of material the v olume is made of. The elasticity of a material is an important aspect. Taking this negative approach into account, we can now think about using it to bend it into a positive way to create a cover.
Co nside r
a wall, which is made from an e lastic, w ater resistant material, something like rubber. The wall contains a pattern of r epetitive o penings. The openings can be filled with water. Somehow a mechanism can make the wall become frozen.
We have three ways of making the room into something new. The three possibilities: a punctured wall, a wall with openings filled with water and a frozen wall, can give the room at every turn an other e xperience. Filling the openings with water will cause a deformed view through the openings. But not only the visual sensation will change. We can also e xperience another sensation of hearing. The sound in the room will no longer escape through the openings, but will rebound on the water. When the water gets frozen, the o penings are larger, because its volume has increased. Now more light can enter the room. The o penings are not transparent anymore, but they have a white, matte c olour. Visually you cannot see through the openings anymore. Nevertheless you are now covered from outside noise, b ecause the ice o perates more or less as an a acoustic isolation. Also the noise from inside the room will sound differently when rebounding on the frozen openings. This, maybe utopian idea of creating a room, the aura of which you can easily change, is, in my opinion, a way to unravel the possibilities of a rchitecture and its environment and maybe even to trigger something new...
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