In The Architecture of Bathing: Body, Landscape, Art, award-winning architect and writer Christie Pearson analyzes communal bathing and its history from the perspective of architecture and landscape. The book is a celebration of swimming pools, saunas, beaches, ritual baths, and sweat lodges, viewed through the lens of architecture and landscape. Engagingly written, with more than 260 illustrations, many in color, the book 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, themes include tub and sensuality, river and flow, waterfall and rejuvenation, and banya and 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 in the interdependent environmental and cultural fabric of our world.