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The Architecture of Bathing: Body, Landscape, Art

The Architecture of Bathing: Body, Landscape, Art

by Christie Pearson


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A celebration of communal bathing—swimming pools, saunas, beaches, ritual baths, sweat lodges, and more—viewed through the lens of architecture and landscape.

We enter the public pool, the sauna, or the beach with a heightened awareness of our bodies and the bodies of others. The phenomenology of bathing opens all of our senses toward the physical world entwined with the social, while the history of bathing is one of shared space, in both natural and built environments. In The Architecture of Bathing, Christie Pearson offers a unique examination of communal bathing and its history from the perspective of architecture and landscape. Engagingly written and richly illustrated, with more than 260 illustrations, many in color, The Architecture of Bathing offers a celebration of spaces in which public and private, sacred and profane, ritual and habitual, pure and impure, nature and culture commingle.

Pearson takes a wide-ranging view of her subject, drawing on architecture, art, and literary works. Each chapter is structured around an architectural typology and explores an accompanying theme—for example, tub, sensuality; river, flow; waterfall, rejuvenation; and banya, immersion. Offering examples, introducing relevant theory, and recounting personal experiences, Pearson effortlessly combines a practitioner's zest with astonishing erudition. As she examines these forms, we see that they are inextricable from landscapes, bodily practices, and cultural production. Looking more closely, we experience architecture itself as an immersive material and social space, embedded inthe interdependent environmental and cultural fabric of our world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262044219
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,136,259
Product dimensions: 8.35(w) x 10.31(h) x 1.22(d)

About the Author

Christie Pearson is an award-winning architect, writer, and urban interventionist. An Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, she is coeditor of the architectural journal Scapegoat.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1


1 Tub: Sensual Form 19

2 Thermae: Tactical Eroticism 51

3 Public Baths: Gathering Community 75


4 Waterfall: Rejuvenation 103

5 Spring: Purity and Impurity 121

6 Sea: Rhythmic Theater 147

7 River: Flow Dynamics 171

8 Pool: Play of Volumes 193

9 Pond: Reflection and Depth 217


10 Banya: Immersive Technologies 241

11 Hammam: Ritual Generators 265

12 Jjimjilbang: Ecological Networks 289

13 Sauna: Composing Contrast 309

14 Sento: Artificial Landscapes 331

15 Sweat Lodge: Healing Transgressions 355

Coda 381

Acknowledgments 383

Notes 387

Bibliography 399

Index 405

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