Liquid Plumber Essay

Even the High-tech architects who see all architecture as a form of glorified plumbing largely stay away from the toilet.Zaha Hadid’s posthumously released porcelain “sanitary fittings” took her signature curves into the bathroom, blending toilet and bidet into the walls, but left the basic architecture of the toilet intact.It is the space where the hidden interior of the body comes into intimate contact with the hidden interior of the building, two plumbing systems temporarily connected.

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Newspaper articles attacked him for an arrangement which, they claimed, would only make sense in a brothel.

The press was also scandalized by the half-height wall screening the bathroom from the bedroom. 19, 1927), a Swiss critic wrote: “Are we, in the future, to disregard the smell and the noise for the sake of an interesting spatial creation …

From Adolf Loos and his poetry on American plumbing to Le Corbusier, who used the bidet as a polemical device by placing it in the middle of the living space of the house, to Paul Rudolph and his Manhattan penthouse whose entrance lobby provides a view up through the bottom of the glass bathtub above, Modern architecture challenged traditional morality.

Loos’s writings are full of scatological references.

Modern architects spent a lot of time in the toilet — not simply searching for modern plumbing but seeing the toilet as crucial a way of modernizing architecture.

For them, the question was not so much what it meant to enter the toilet as what it meant for the toilet to enter architecture.To talk about architecture without talking about toilets is to operate in denial of whole array of sexual, psychological, and moral economies.For all the endless apparent talk about the body in architecture, architects don’t really want to talk about it. A history could be written of this deodorizing effect.Loos was a great influence on him, and in 1924 he placed a bidet in the pages of his journal heading the article "Other Icons, the Museums," where he wrote, “The true museum is the one that contains everything.” The bidet is seen by the architect as an everyday object that one day will be in a museum and will speak about the culture of the 20th century.The bidet was also a major polemical device in Le Corbusier’s domestic architecture.Toilet technology is designed to whisk away all visual, acoustic, and olfactory evidence of both the interior of the body and the vast interior of this abject urbanism — such that what is happening can quickly be disavowed, even while it is happening.This ability to keep the smells and noises of the toilet at bay is linked to a wider disavowal of sweat, spit, phlegm, pus, vomit, semen, menstrual blood, and vaginal juices.No one wants to acknowledge the transaction or especially the fact that each toilet is directly connected to the toilets in the neighboring buildings, and on and on in a vast unspeakable empire.To enter the toilet is not to enter the smallest room in a building but to enter a space as big as a city whose smells, noises, flows, and chemical processes are deeply threatening.Postmodern architecture, for example, was toilet free.There was no Postmodern toilet, no desire to return to Greek plumbing while celebrating Classical pediments.


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