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the ‘baths for queer defense’ proposes an architecture of diversity in puerto rico

following a theoretical investigation into the issues of gender binary public bathrooms at the university of puerto rico, and the discrimination faced by trans people, reily joel calderón rivera shares a conceptual design that proposes a more inclusive place. the project, titled the baths for queer defense and [de]liberation, seeks to offer spaces for protection, defense and deliberation, as well as relaxation, freedom and exposure of the body.

deliberating bodies [hot pool]

designed for university avneue in río piedras, puerto rico, – in front of vidy’s café, el 8 de blanco and a lutheran church – the project is positioned as a confrontation to the shops and institutions with a controversial history against the LGBTQIA+ community. therefore, the baths for queer defense and [de]liberation proposes a protective wall – whose façade is made up of pieces of urinals – that confronts its context and at the same time protects the bodies inside.

tower interior [warm pool]

within this protective wall, inclusive bathrooms, jacuzzis, movement-sensitive showers, relaxation and deliberation pools, nooks for diverse gender performativities, and terraces to sunbathe all provide places for trans people to coexist in harmony. also, in this project, a social media observation tower is erected to seek transphobic posts in order to defend trans people, thus reversing the surveillance roles. in essence, the design aims to make diverse bodies visible and realize what is not accepted within binary gender societies: the existence of alternative ways of living and expressing gender.

relaxed bodies [cold pool]

in programmatic terms, the scheme proposes a series of inclusive bathroom cubicles that confront a central space, so what is usually hidden in architectural designs is now exposed and visible. the location of these cubicles highlights the gender performativities of diverse people who do not need to hide to go to the toilet.

diverse body postures and performances [sun bath]

the project also reinterprets ancient roman baths and offers three pools that grow in size and temperature – cold, warm and hot respectively – with the purpose of accommodating groups of different sizes for deliberation and proposals for collective struggle and self-management. in this way, a group could begin in the cold pool and move to the hot pool while the number of bathers grows. the temperatures are ideal to calm the discussion and the space allows the wet bodies to expose themselves to each other while deliberating.

nooks for gender performativities [garden terrace]

these pools are connected by ramps taking into consideration functionally diverse bodies. in regular periods these pools of different temperatures work for the relaxation, healing and rest of bodies undergoing surgeries, in transition and in treatments.

exhibited bodies taking a shower of water and light [shower area]

the observation tower is made up of a virtual transphobia detection center and a troll room. this conceptual center employs anti-transphobic detectives who monitor social networks in search of transphobic posts. upon the appearance of transphobic content, detectives send the information to the trolls, who work to defend trans people on social networks. overall, with beautifully colorful visualizations, this speculative scheme by reily joel calderón rivera puts marginalized people at the center of the design, imagining an architecture of diversity and inclusivity. 

exposed bathroom cubicles, skylights, pipes [central space]

site confrontation [axonometric]

pieces of urinals façade, main entrance [front elevation]

terraces, cold pool, bathrooms, warm pool, social media observation tower [C section]

hot pool, jacuzzis, pipes, garden terrace [B section]

pieces of urinals on peripheral wall & main entrance [exterior perspective]

project info:

project name: the baths for queer defense and [de]liberation

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: lynne myers | designboom

This content was originally published here.

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