Dreamscapes of Aurora: Geothermal Landscapes of Energy and Rejuvenation

“The people’s history of bathing is one of shared space. Histories and practices of the bath belong to histories and practices of the commons. Bathing routines are cultural rituals, architectural forms, and natural environments combined to make arts of living out of everyday necessity…Centered in the restless flux of our anthropo-scene, bathing is a way to dive into the complexities of culture-nature tension up to the points of dissonance and dissolution.”
                – Christie Pearson, The Architecture of Bathing: Body, Landscape, Art

This studio will focus on the geothermal landscapes of Iceland, exploring the illuminatory potential of this confluence of physical and metaphysical energy. Existing geothermal infrastructure will frame studies of renewable energy in the face of national and cross-national energy shortages and the global climate crisis. Concurrently, the studio will explore case studies of public bathing in Iceland and beyond, focusing on its cultural history and formal (as well as informal) typologies. Students will develop strategies for how to articulate correspondences between these systems across multiple spatiotemporalities.

The studio will engage the scale of the human body within Iceland’s supra-human landscapes of geologic and geothermal activity. Modalities of experiencing the landscape—from the somatic to the institutional—will be explored, pushing students to site-based design solutions that harness such overlapping energies to engage aesthetic and environmental dimensions in equal measure. The materiality and tactility of the body in water will be placed in counterpoint to the geologic timescale of molten energy moving from the core of the earth, from which we will seek to articulate an infrastructure of the sublime.