After Bath: Crossing the Social Skin
Aksoy, Rana Irmak
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CitationAksoy, Rana Irmak. 2021. After Bath: Crossing the Social Skin. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractWater is an immersive body, and bathing is a medium of not only physical but also psychical identification and connection, through the bodily proximity created between strangers. The thesis explores notions of body and identity in the urban context through a contemporary re-read of the Turkish bath from an intersectional feminist point of view.
Starting from the notion of gaze and objectification of female bodies, permeating into concurrent forms of oppression and solidarity, the thesis aims to liberate the bath from its orientalist architectural context and leak into the city of Istanbul by tapping into its water infrastructure. It explores ways of warming up (in terms of social intimacy) to create tactics of immersion in the public space for marginalized bodies.
By liberating the bath representationally from the male gaze and the orientalist canon, the project inverts and fragments the interior space of the bath and attaches it onto the existing public water infrastructure of Istanbul. Dispersed across neighborhoods and the waterfront, the “leaked bath” explores gradients of collectivity, identity, and immersion. Architecture takes on affective characteristics that break binaries of interior / exterior, heavy / light, permanent / ephemeral.
The interventions become a set of surfaces and desires: fountain, pool, deck, mist, shade, lingering, swimming... They attempt to take an interiorized typology and disperse it across the urban fabric to create spaces of comfort and engagement. They’re not about encasing but sheltering. They’re not about the thick poche but the dashed line. Partitions instead of walls, canopies instead of roofs, groundscapes as permeable surfaces... Depths of water and shade define levels of engagement and proximity, reactivating the collective body to cross the social skin and create new forms of solidarity.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370708