Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style

This exhibition examines the urgency of climate change through an architecture and design process that takes climate, atmosphere, and physiology as its primary material.

Event Details


San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut St., San Francisco, California 94133 United States


March 29, 2018 10:00 am - May 20, 2018 5:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



Swiss architect Philippe Rahm is known internationally for groundbreaking work at the intersection of climate, architecture, and physiological space. Rahm’s exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute embraces the urgency of climate change by proposing a roadmap for a field eager to adapt to and mitigate our changing climate.

Citing evidence that construction and maintenance of buildings account for nearly 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, Rahm offers a new set of questions around aesthetic choice: How does an architect, designer, painter, or sculptor choose materials or colors for an artwork? What are the criteria for choosing one material over another, one color over another?

In the context of accelerating climate change, Rahm argues that properties such as effusivity, emissivity, conductivity, and reflectivity should guide these decisions—a development that inspired Rahm to coin the term Anthropocene Style, referring to a new decorative style specific to our aesthetic and environmental era.


Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style is the first United States exhibition of internationally renowned Paris-based Swiss artist and architect Philippe Rahm. The exhibition manifests Rahm’s ideas surrounding the urgency of climate change through an architecture and design process that takes climate, atmosphere, and physiology as its primary material.

This exhibition runs in parallel with The Effusivity Pool, a show by Philippe Rahm architects, currently on view at the Instituto Svizzero in Milan, Italy. In 2018, a book surveying Rahm’s work over the past decade will be published by Lars Müller and include both exhibitions in San Francisco and Milan.


Philippe Rahm is a Swiss architect and the founder and principal of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability.

In Venice, Rahm represented Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale (2002) and was included in Aaron Betsky’s exhibition Out There: Architecture Beyond Building (2008). He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Manifesta 7; and more.

He has taught and lectured widely, including the AA School in London, Mendrisio Academy of Architecture in Switzerland, School of Architecture of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cooper Union, UCLA, and more.

His recent work includes the new 70-hectare Taichung Gateway Park in Taiwan, set to open in August 2018. Monographic books include Physiological Architecture published by Birkhaüser in 2002, Distortions published by HYX in 2005, Environ(ne)ment: Approaches for Tomorrow published by Skira in 2006, Architecture Météorologique published by Archibooks in 2009, and Constructed Atmospheres published by Postmedia in 2014.

Related Events

March 29, 6-9pm: Opening Reception for Philippe Rahm

April 28, 1-5pm: The Anthropocene Style Symposium

Gallery Details & Hours

Walter and McBean Galleries, SFAI—Chestnut Campus
Tuesday 11am–7pm; Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays
More information

Featured image: Philippe Rahm architectes, Diurnisme , French National Museum of Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2008. Photo by Adam Rzepka, Centre Pompidou. Bio image: Philippe Rahm, Spectral Light , video still, Artemide Showroom Corso Monforte, Milan, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Artemide, Milan

Event Photos