The Architecture of Bathing book launch

Thursday, November 5, 2020 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

The Architecture of Bathing: Body, Landscape, Art by Christie Pearson (MIT Press, 2020) seeks to expand architectural discourse critically and creatively, bridge audiences, and encourage dialogue between fields. This is the first book to examine traditional and contemporary communal bathing cultures globally from the perspective of art, architecture and landscape. It is the culmination of years of studying, traveling, sketching, photographing, listening and sweating in wonderful public bathing places around the world. Drawing on the Lefebvrian concept of the production of space, The Architecture of Bathing firmly embeds architecture into relational and material networks in dialogue between architects Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, Herzog and de Meuron, Kengo Kuma), artists (Ayse Erkman, Rachel Whiteread, Cai Guo Qiang, Roni Horn), canonical thinkers (Mary Douglas, Gaston Bachelard, Victor and Edith Turner, Georges Bataille), and contemporary theorists (Sylvia Federici, Luce Irigaray, Astrida Neimanis, Chantal Mouffe, Aaron Betsky, Suely Rolnik). Fifteen formal typologies are paired with ways of experiencing architecture to frame the examination of the complex spatial experiences, social relationships, and cultural mythologies that lie beneath the surface of my subject. The many illustrations articulate relationships that baths can support, and highlight how we meet the world both physically and symbolically. Cultural differences and similarities emerge: at times painfully laying bare social attitudes towards race, class, gender, and sexuality; at times amplifying tensions between public and private, sacred and profane, ritual and habitual, nature and culture. Architectures of public bathing emerge as dynamic civic spaces, where outdated collective agreements fade and new ideas of being together are tested.

Review links: 
Pin-Up Magazine and New York Times

View the Launch on YouTube