Dasha Murashkina

Dasha Murashkina

Het alle wateren badhuis. AAM (Netherlands)

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The project idea has emerged simultaneously with the graduation thesis. My thesis work, “Shapes of sincerity”, explores the concept of sincerity in architecture. As the outcome of the work, I have questioned my ability to design while humbly altering the existing context, highlighting the actuality of pre-given factors, rather than “masking” or concealing the reality.

While choosing the typology that would allow me to explore the concept of sincerity deeper, I’ve developed an interest in architecture of public bathing, which led to a broader research of bathing traditions, water-related concepts and rituals, and local connotations of them. To exercise the idea of designing a bathhouse, I’ve chosen a location in the direct surrounding which was almost asking for interaction: the Don Boscokerk in Maastricht. Built in 1958 by the request and effort of the neighbors, it became abandoned by 2017. Since then, the building that was formerly a heart of the neighborhood, transformed into a massive brick “ghost”, forgotten and vandalized.

It was a church: the soul is gone, the shell is there. It would be wrong to erase this past, and at the same time, it is irrelevant to preserve. The spatial qualities of the church I found important to keep: its oneness, and its heterotopian otherness. The building is not redesigned, but rather "undressed": the roof structure is exposed, the floor is removed, revealing the basement. The windows are closed using the bricks of the demounted entrance. The weather conditions, however, are welcome to do their job: the roof is partially open to the sky, the groundwater access is added to the floor. Water, absence of water, excess of it, winds, rain, snow, air temperature, light and darkness, sun rays and moonlight, molds and grass sprouts - the chaos is invited to be the creator of the momentary scenes.

What is the result and the goal of this intervention? Can you still take a bath here? Or would you? Is it a holy place or a blasphemy? The answer would depend both on the perceiver and the environmental conditions, which are pushed to create a dialogue with each other.

Is it a bathhouse without a tradition or a church without a religion? Does that make it contentless or fluid? Will this transformation bring it back to life or push it further to the chasm of decay? I can not know, but I would like to let it happen and watch it unfold.




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