landscape & digital designer
The Precipitron; Industrial Vernaculars & Environmental Instruments
BY MEG STUDER
@ VOL 25
ON OCT 06, 2016
A quick glimpse into climate control history, in the vein of Banham's Well-Tempered Environment: The imagery/narrative starts from my parent's air-cleaning Precipitron installation (WWII-era Pittsburgh) and uses it as an armature for sketching the socio-technical construction of atmosphere, enclosure, and air-pollution regulation . First, it situates ‘electrostatic precipitator’ technology and development within the much longer battles over coal smoke control and nuisance abatement, from progressive politics back to rants about London's acidic coal-smog, in Evelyn’s Fumifugium (1661). Second, it will looks at the mid-century commercial and domestic markets for Westinghouse's Precipitrons, examining the liberal, gendered approaches to pollution (and consumption) in the American context. It will conclude by reviewing today’s electrostatic environment, extrapolating and visualizing the current links between our everyday power use and Precipitron installations, estimating annual particulate capture under the EPA's Clean Power Legislation.