Architecture is the tangible culmination of your parents’ disapproval. Wedged between an illusive ideal and perpetual apprehension, reality becomes a space of conflict, marred by its history but yet still malleable. The spa emphasizes the conflict between the domestic, enclosed sphere on the attached apartment building and the public disclosed space of the urban sidewalk, while maintaining the specific programmatic requirements for the spa. Levels of visibility and enclosure vary throughout the building; the preservation of anonynmity, furthered by the auxiliary program of a Botox Clinic, helps make visibility more comfortable.
Just months after opening its doors (and hidden entrances) to the tense masses of New York City, SoWHo Spa was forced to close. A few apartment-dwellers, fed up with their “cozy” living spaces and recent vulnerability to a new IKEA marketing strategy, began to expand their apartments into the spa facilities. Poorly-sorted recycling, intact bicycles, and drunken party guests were among the first of many items to be found scattered around the second floor of the spa. After two months of negotiation with the attached apartment complex, no agreement could be reached and the informal development continued. The spa guests became increasingly confused by the living room furniture and demolished walls bordering the exterior/interior hallway, and after an incident involving a misread location for a massage room, legal action required the spa to shut down.