My project is about the communal water network in Lotto. The project has three main ideas that reorganize the project distribution and use of water: the first idea is a critique of Reyner Banham's theory of automatic water distribution in a modern house, the second idea learns from practical water distribution in Mexico City, the third idea is my proposal for a hybrid of practical and ritual distribution of water in Mexico City.
Reyner Banham argued that a modern house has an auotmatic system of pumps and pipes that organize water usaage. Meters and motors regulate water usage across the house and the whole plumbing system is entirely automatic. Banham’s argument is that the modern house is equipped with so much plumbing and hardware that there is no need for people to with water distribution.
However, the reality in Mexico City is very different to Banham’s imagination. In a city with severe water scarcity, there is no automatic system to deliver safe drinking water to millions of people. Dilapidated pipes run for thousands of miles, and citizens have to organize water distribution with human labor and practical methods. People collect water in tanks, drive trucks with water barrels in a very human-centered ecosystem of water purification and distribution. Instead of Banham’s machine-utopia, Mexico City has a much richer human connection with water usage and distribution
The project has a communal purifying station to provide clean drinking water to the community. There is also a communal bathhouse where residents can spend leisure time together every day. Finally, there is a large communal laundry where people can socialize and clean their clothes together. Together, these three communal programs of purifying, bathing and cleaning transform the way that people share the practical and ritual aspects of water use in Mexico City
My project is about changing the attitude towards water collection and consumption. Instead of having individual water tanks, residents share a sophisticated recycling system, anchored by a purifying station, a bathhouse and a laundry. Purifying station: use the left over space in the corner where a doorman live, the tower collect rain water in rain season or get tap water directly from city system in dry season, and then purify the water and transmit to each family through the communal recycling pipes system. Bathhouse: Ground floor is shared bathing, and the upper floor is for family or individual to enjoy their bathing. Two small courtyard at the entrance lead to the women and men’ changing and shower room, the middle courtyard is shared by the whole community after shower steaming and cooling. Laundry: hand washing while socializing, use the courtyard to dry the clothes. provide more stable and consistent water and also recycle the water.
To conclude, my project does not completely reject Banham’s automatic system of resource distribution, but instead embraces aspects of practical and ritual life in Mexico City. Our site also offers an opportunity to combine Banham’s systematic approach with a humane understanding of the rituals of using water in Mexico City. These three programs celebrate the practical and ritual bonds between people as they drink bathe and clean together.