on praising shadows

“The cleanliness of what can be seen only calls up the more clearly thoughts of what cannot be seen.”

Jun’ichiro Tanizaki – In Praise of Shadows

Our next project is a bath house.  It leaves me to wonder what qualities of a bath house, besides a place of cleansing and rejuvenation, this kind of space could enclose.  In thinking of a bath house, I begin to think about the process of bathing.  There is a precedent, someone who has been in the fields tending to their crops all day, that they feel the need to relax.  They approach the bath house, steam emanating from this singular structure situated in a serene setting, undress, and water molecules slowly fill their pores, the same pores desiccated by the searing sun earlier in the day.  Steam continues to pour out, in gentle tufts carefully ventilated by slits on the roof.  Twenty minutes, thirty minutes, almost an hour.  The steam is no longer.  The man emerges, still bare,


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