First issue of the critical magazine published by Cosa Mentale, in which the words of the architecture practice Bruther and of Laurent Stalder, professor of architecture history at ETH, confront each other around the theme of “hypercomfort.”
Keeping the body in its comfort zone is the secret watchword of our
daily environment. As soon as a door is crossed, as soon as an interior is
roamed, the environment must be controlled, air conditioned, sanitized.
Everything is done to make us feelling like we even breath anymore, even
sweat anymore, physical efforts are reduced, our security is guaranteed.
Our body has cut off itself from climatic, acoustic, light and security
variations, even if these are ultimately restricted in our latitudes. This
invisible normalization is not merely an infra-spatial issue. From comfort
to conformism, even conformation, there is only one step. This process is
already insidiously changing some of our behaviors. Who hasn't surprised
themselves to want a sweater when entering a shopping center, even in the middle of August? Sensory reactions return to the very place where we try to numb them.
How will we live together? Do we have to get out of our comfort zone? Should we share it? Maybe widen it? And what does this comfort deny us? Space, resources, ourselves? Hypercomfort, facing us with humour and seriousness to the paradoxes of regulation. By staging in a dramatic and euphoric way the climatic contrasts, the thresholds, the thermal chain reactions (hot, cold, wet, dry) but also the energy debauchery and technical inflation that hide behind our comfort zones, Hypercomfort reminds us of the price we pay for the fragmentation of contemporary spaces.
Stéphanie Bru and Alexandre Theriot founded the Bruther office in 2007 in Paris. Bruther's projects bring design back to basics, exploring the fields of architecture, town planning, landscape, research and education. They apply a design of resistance, free from any mark of mannerism, style, fashion or excess. Their projects suggest a delicate balance between strategy and form, rigor and freedom, particular and generic, immediacy and scalability. Combining program and future, their projects are synonymous with open infrastructures, capable of responding to a multitude of future potentialities and a vast malleability of uses. Bruther is part of a new wave of practices, which contributes to a radical renewal of French architectural culture. Winner of many prizes and competitions, the Bruther studio was the subject of a monograph entitled Introduction in 2014, and many other international publications (2G, released in June 2017 and El Croquis, released in 2018) and international conferences.
Laurent Stalder has been an architect and professor of history and theory at ETH Zurich since 2006. His researches and publications are aimed on the history and the theory of architecture from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century where it faces history of technology. His most recent publications include : "Hermann Muthesius. Das Landhaus als kulturgeschichtlicher Entwurf" (2008), "Valerio Olgiati" (2008), "Der Schwellenatlas" (2009), "God & Co. François Dallegret : Beyond bubble" (2011), "Atelier Bow Bow
. A Primer" (2013), "Fritz Haller : Architekt und Forscher" (2015), "Architecture/Machine" (2017) and "Architectural Ethnography" (2018). His essays have been published in AA Files, Arch +, Greyroom, Journal of Architecture, Werk Bauen & Wohnen and Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, among others.
As the self-renewing discipline that is architecture
, Éditions Cosa Mentale
picks up the torch of the critical magazine—which was their very first form. They wish to enrich the debate around architecture by bringing a word that confronts to the news. Architecture is at the convergence of questioning, a discipline nourished by cross-disciplinary approaches. As such, as a signature, Cosa Mentale endeavours to keep a critical point of view, enriched by a social and political look which the architectural discipline depends on, to highlight its complexity and aspirations.
For each issue, two contributors are invited to share their thoughts on a new theme.