50000 TONS OF ETHER
The construction of the planetarium in Jena in 1926 is considered the first realisation of a dome-shaped shell building. Since then, the concept of the spherical building has had a steep career: Initially it served to represent the visible cosmos, and then it has become more and more a form imagined as a housing in extraterrestrial spaces in which people can survive in an artificial atmosphere outside Earth. In a time of threatening climate developments, in which man proves incapable of controlling nature and understanding complexity, – the dome house appears as a space dwelling, a so to speak mini world. It is a control fantasy that is supposed to banish the fear of catastrophe.
The sphere fulfils an important function: it symbolises security as well as enclosure and at the same time it is a sign of complete artificiality. This form and the attempt to control limited closed systems is by no means new: the idea of round houses is closely interwoven with the history of modern utopian concepts of life. We follow genealogically and associatively images of dome-shaped architectures across time and space. Using Aby Warburg’s method of the picture atlas, we look for recurring patterns and themes. We ask ourselves how we can make an archive tangible in space and we design our own images.