Urinating at the Eisenman
The collaborative Supersudaca engages in what the group calls direct architecture. Writing in the new issue of Monu Magazine, they describe that this is “at a scale smaller than the building but at which effects can have urban proportions nevertheless. At a scale where nobody claims competence, there aren’t any responsibilities nor is there guilt. There we can exercise the knowledge of architecture by practicing a no-budget urbanism of minimum resources but maximum impact. A space where the main tool is ingenuity, where projects are executed without means or intermediaries.”
One such project is an anti-urinal banner for a neighborhood in Lima, Peru. “Since law is not enough a dissuasive element for controlling incontinent bladders, more powerful forces will have to be appealed. Nothing is more respected in this city than Jesus and Sarita Colonia, the informal Peruvian saint which protects those who operate outside law. The combination of such holy powers should assure its operability both on formal and informal believers.”
And judging by the pictorial narrative, it seems to have worked.
So speaking of public urination, Spiegel Online reported recently that Berlin's Holocaust Memorial became one massive public toilet in the first few months after it opened in 2005, which should have surprised no one as its many dark passages provide enough privacy.
The problem was mitigated when a temporary wooden pavilion with shops and toilets was built nearby, only to worsen during last year's World Cup. Permanent service buildings and public toilets are now called for.
In other words, appealing to decency and reverence is no substitute for good design. No amount of sacredness, historical importance, and even beauty can fully immune places from the incontinent.
So embrace it completely, after all it is surely most common public ritual, the most universal means of experiencing landscape apart from walking and seeing; or don't design anymore enclosed “contemplative” spaces and inward-folding, self-obscuring corners; don't give Richard Serra a commission; install obtrusive surveillance systems; give away free stadium pals; or...?
Urinating in London