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Matteo Thun

Matteo Thun

For a whole decade Matteo Thun has been advocating Ecotecture, an approach to project design that is sensitive to both the ecology and the economy, creating a sustainable environment developing upon renewable resources and energy-saving criteria. The reasons for this interest are easy to find in the architect’s own life-story. Thun was born in Bolzano - a town that has always faced up to the ecological challenge and has ranked for some time as a leader in building research. (One thinks, for example, of the CasaClima venture.) In 1981 Thun joined Ettore Sottsass as a co-founder of the Memphis group, one of the promoting centres of radical design which had the merit of highlighting symbols and emotions amid the prevailing grey functionalism. By a natural process the design sights shifted from the industrial product to the existential space organised along holistic lines where the three terms of project design - man, architecture and environment - merged to create new forms of equilibrium. The Memphis method was, of course, intensely relational so it was safe to presume the more object-based features would soon be abandoned. This trend is also seen in the development of two other members of the group, Aldo Cibic and Michele De Lucchi who, in their separate ways, both sought an aesthetic solution in which nature played the primary role. Nowadays sustainable architecture is on the lips of all and sundry. It seems almost to have become a blanket term covering the most disparate approaches. This makes it all the more important to grasp what Ecotecture actually entails. Let us clear the field right away by saying that it has nothing to do with Eco-Tech as defined a few years back by Catherine Slessor. Eco-Tech derives from High-Tech and although it develops environmentally from there, it never questions the technological pyrotechnics which are totally soft-pedalled in Thun’s approach. Likewise Eco-architecture differs from Landform Architecture as experimented by...

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