I am starting the lose it with showers in new homes. They just keep getting bigger and bigger; as soon as I think they can’t possibly add another feature – POW! – another feature.
When I decided to write this post (this morning while I was in my shower) I spent some time thinking about what sort of image would best convey my issues?
- A large builder home shower
- How about a shower with 37 body sprays and rain heads
- Maybe one with more than 4 different tiles surrounded by frosted glass that had a large flower motif (I found loads of those by the way)
- Or something very beautiful but just…a bit…much
I decided to go with the later and it was easy to find a image that fit that my needs. I first saw the shower above about a year or two ago and thought it was an amazingly beautiful and extremely well detailed shower. I still think those things, in fact, I wish I had designed that shower. The thing about showers that I struggle with is the practical aspects of showers with creating the beauty of these showers. If you design modern houses, you know that you aren’t supposed to ignore the practical aspects of anything – Form follows Function – it’s a rule, it’s the rule.
Showers are getting larger and larger, they are surrounded by glass, they have slot drains at one end instead of the round drain right in the middle. Okay, I am going to digress for this one point – who first decided to put the drain in the middle of the shower? Did they think it would be awesome to have to stand on the thing while using the shower?
Okay – back on point
These large showers don’t hold in the heat very well. I suppose that’s why there has to be 37 body sprays and rain heads, so they can get enough hot water into the room to keep you from freezing. And who wants to clean all that glass? I know, most people who own these large modern homes aren’t actually the ones having to do any of the cleaning, a point I have made myself on many occasions. Where do you put your shower stuff? The poofs, the razors, the shampoo and conditioners? If you are me, I have a razor, a bar of soap, and a bottle of shampoo. My wife, on the other hand, has an veritable smoothie bar assortment of mango-this and moonlight lily that (and yes, she does in fact, smell great thanks for asking). But where does all this stuff go? Can you imagine your disappointment if there was soap scum on the glass of the shower above? Maybe they don’t really use it and they hose off in the garden so that the shower always looks as good as it does in the picture. Do you have to clean off the Mexican river pebbles – soap scum goes everywhere. How often do you have to do that?
Therein lies my struggle. I love that shower above, I mean love it. But the way it looks isn’t entirely the point of a shower is it? One of the major original objectives of modern architecture was make a certain quality of living available to the public through mass production and the mechanization of the construction process. It was never to have an end product where everything has to be perfectly clean put away or it looks terrible.
One of the pioneers of modernism, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier, famously issued the quote “A house is a machine for living in” in a collection of essays published in 1923 titled ‘Vers Une Architecture’ translated as ‘Towards an Architecture’ -a book that is literally required reading for every student of architecture. No doubt, he would be rolling over in his grave at the interpretations of the maxims that define modern architecture. Or maybe he’s rolling over to get a better look? I don’t know, maybe someone screwed up the translation and it really should be “A house is a machine to be cleaned” – I hope not, that’s a terrible rule.