Fifth year BARCH studio
Instructor: Bosuk Hur
This project qualified for the 2018-2019 Substance Forum.
Located directly adjacent to the San Francisco City Hall, Starpool combines the bathhouse’s intimate, vulnerable program with the planetarium’s exploration of the cosmos to transform the patron’s understanding of the human condition. As a machine for the creation of existential crisis and resolution, the user is immediately confronted with a dramatic and jarring buildingscape, underscored by the bathhouse tradition of nudity. This point of our radically social journey features a number of baths tied to telescopes, planetariums, or astronomic viewing ports which, when juxtaposed with a complex and overwhelming architecture, beg the patron to question societal boundaries imposed by state, corporate, or traditional actors in the face of our infinite universe and relative smallness.
As the user moves through the complex, the daunting architecture shifts, then briefly breaks to reveal a familiar sky made unfamiliar by the previous cosmic exploration, a sort of re-grounding before the conclusion of our journey. Finally, using hyper-formalized architecture at scales in tension, the user is thrust into the columbarium bath, a massive, open free space accessed primarily through a 30-foot plunge from our suspended circulation pool. This is the resolution, the space shared by patrons for reflection, relaxation, socialization, and play, now consciously and honestly situated just beneath the surface of our relatively small rock, propelled through an infinite universe.