Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Historic Preservation: Bath house revisited

 I suppose it’s hard to expect anything different in late July from a blogger located in the Southeast … the thought of heat, the dealings with the temperatures, the slow broil as you walk outside for lunch. The exhaustion. The last minute “make that iced” to the barista. It’s hot out there. …I can’t help but wonder how others found their reprieve....which brings me to the bath house.

The bathhouse is an age old public use, that in my humble opinion, is one of most interesting ways historically and communally people gathered. Throughout civilization, bath houses have played some role in socialization and cleansing rituals. Some societies even attached religion to the practice. In Japan Misogi, is the ritual purification with water.  In Greece the practice of bathing was ritualized, becoming an art – of cleansing sands, hot water, hot air in dark vaulted "vapor baths," a cooling plunge, a rubdown with aromatic oils. In Portland, Oregon the Oasis is a transportable bath house built out of an airstream trailer, complete with grey water management systems and a tankless water heater ....By golly, water is just plain fun.

Well, one creative group has found a unique way to cool off America’s Big Apple and raise awareness for the River- floating pools! So I ask, is this the next generation of public bath houses?

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