a unique installation

Local Warming will present a vision of architectural climate control at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, opening June 7th 2014.

A staggering amount of energy is wasted on heating empty offices, homes and partially occupied buildings. Local warming addresses this asymmetry in a radical way, by synchronizing human presence with climate control.

A rank of responsive infrared heating elements are guided by sophisticated motion tracking, creating a precise personal (and personalized) climate for each occupant. Individual thermal ‘clouds’ follow people through space, ensuring ubiquitous comfort while improving overall energy efficiency by orders of magnitude.

Presented at:

Architecture Biennale
14th International Architecture Exhibition

Venice, Giardini and Arsenale,
7th June to 23rd November 2014
Opening times: 10 am – 6 pm

a story of heat
The earliest habitation 
technology was the grotto
A natural feature that primitive man sought for warmth, protection and sociability—there, he built the primordial hearth. Until the 20th century, the hearth remained a focal point: it was not only functional, but, as Frank Lloyd Wright noted, it was “the psychological center of the home.”
Digital controls adapt
to human patterns
At the convergence of bits and atoms, technology can understand and adjust to the body. Climate control becomes a dialogue. With today’s integration of smartphones and digitization, dynamic control systems modulate heat over time to match inhabitants.
Over time, heat has
become unmoored
Human history has seen an evolution of the hearth, a narrative of climatic liberation. From grotto to fire pit, from Victorian pipes to central heating and suburban thermostats, man exerts more and more control over his immediate environment. Technology accommodates an itinerant lifestyle.
A new paradigm of
Is ushered in with dynamic control over space. An individual thermal cloud follows each human: a personal climate that ensures comfort and decimates energy consumption. New sociabilities are forged as people share heat across digitally-integrated modes of living.
Exacerbating the asymmetry 
between energy and occupancy
A binary choice between ON and OFF guarantees comfort at the expense of efficiency. Buildings are heated or cooled 24 hours a day; empty corners are indiscriminately kept just as warm as those in use. To ensure constant comfort, man heats every space he might possibly inhabit.
Man no longer
seeks heat

... heat seeks man.

press - contacts
The material on this web site can be used freely in any publication provided that:
1. it is duly credited as a project by the MIT Senseable City Lab
2. a PDF copy of the publication is sent to senseable-press@mit.edu

For Further Contact
Concept and Project Lead:
MIT Senseable City Lab
Director: Carlo Ratti
Associate Director: Assaf Biderman
R&D Lead: Yaniv Jacob Turgeman
Engineering Lead: Leigh Christie
Project Lead: Miriam Roure
Curator: Matthew Claudel
Electrical Engineer: Carlos Graeves
Research Advisor: Rex Britter
Computer Vision and Tracking: Nick DePalma
Motion Control and Visualization: Matthias Danzmayr, Jacob Fenwick, Shan He, Pierrick Thebault
Fabrication and Design: Ricardo Alvarez, Thomas Altmann, Dorothy Bassett, Gene Chunyayev, Clara Cibrario Assereto, David Dowling, Feifei Feng, Sebastian Grauwin, Chris Green, Elyud Ismail, Sam Judd, David Lee, Jessica Marcus, Aaron Nevin, Jessica Ngo, Oleguer Sagarra Pascual, Kristopher Swick, Michael Szell, Remi Tachet des Combes
Director: Dina Katabi
Motion Tracking Design: Deepak Vasisht, Jue Wang
Exhibition Design and Production:
Carlo Ratti Associati
Project Architect: Saverio Panata
Design Team: Pietro Leoni, Walter Nicolino, Giovanni de Niederhausern
Exhibition Construction: DesignLab
Graphic Design: Jessica Svendsen
MIT Energy Initiative
Enel Energia
Special thanks to:
(Seth Avecilla and Madeleine Gallagher)