The Trombe Wall during the 1970s: technological device or architectural space? Critical inquiry on the Trombe Wall in Europe and the role of architectural magazines

  • Piero Medici IUAV


During the 1970s, before and after the international oil crisis of 1973, some European architectural periodicals were critical of standard construction methods and the architecture of the time. They described how architects and engineers reacted to the crisis, proposing new techniques and projects in order to intervene innovatively in the built environment, using energy and natural resources more efficiently.

This article will provide a critical analysis of the role of architectural magazines of the time, describing the technological innovation of the Trombe Wall in Europe. It will treat when, how, and what specific aspects were described. It will also carry out a critical analysis of the Trombe Wall itself: about its performances, its evolution throughout the 1970s, its integration in different houses, and its influence on inhabitants’ behaviour. Using three houses as case studies, an analysis of the architects’ efforts to integrate the technology of the Trombe Wall with architectural elements such as shape, aesthetic, materiality, and natural light will be carried out.

Though this article is historical in character, it aims to inform the contemporary debate, especially concerning issues of the built environment meeting the Paris agreement on climate change (AA, 2015).


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How to Cite
MEDICI, Piero. The Trombe Wall during the 1970s: technological device or architectural space? Critical inquiry on the Trombe Wall in Europe and the role of architectural magazines. SPOOL, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 1, p. 45-60, jan. 2018. ISSN 2215-0900. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2020. doi: