Examining discomfort’s physical, emotional, conceptual, psychological and aesthetic dimensions, the contributors to this volume offer an alternate, cultural approach to the study of architecture and the built environment. By attending to a series of disparate instances in which architecture and discomfort intersect, On Discomfort offers a fresh reading of the negotiations that define architecture’s position in modern culture. The essays do not chart comfort’s triumph so much as discomfort’s curious dispersal into practices that form ‘modern life’ – and what that dispersion reveals of both architecture and culture.
The essays presented in this volume illuminate the material culture of discomfort as it accrues to architecture and its history. This episodic analysis speaks to a range of disciplinary fields and interdisciplinary subjects, extending our understanding of the domestication of interiors (and objects, cities and ideas); and the conditions under which – by intention or accident – they discomfort.
Thinking Through Discomfort (David Ellison and Andrew Leach), 2. ‘Good God Mrs Nicholson!’ Slaves and Domestic Disquiet in Eighteenth-century Scotland (Dolly MacKinnon), 3. Thoreau’s Economy (Andrew Ballantyne), 4. Wandering Sensations: Supernatural Discomforts and Modern Domesticity (David Ellison), 5. Climatic Discomforts: [Sub]tropical Climates, Racial Character and the Nineteenth-century Queensland House (Deborah van der Plaat), 6. Technological Progress as an Obstruction to Domestic Comfort: Hugo Van Kuyck and the Introduction of the American Example in Post-war Belgium (Fredie Floré), 7. Everything but the Orgy Truck: Shopping for Radical Architecture at MoMA, 1972 (Alexandra Brown), 8. It’s Not me, It’s You (Andrew Leach), 9. The Wolfers House by Henry Van de Velde, as Occupied by Herman Daled (Bart Verschaffel), 10. Blind Windows: A Particularly Domestic Discomfort (Chris L. Smith), 11. Reality without Restraint: Bathtime in the Villa dall’Ava (Christophe Van Gerrewey)