Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The psychological importance of a door

Magritte's painting. "Surprise Answer"
Some years ago I accompanied my husband to see a house in Riverside. First time for me to go to Riverside, and could not imagine the trip would be so terribly long if we took the 91 Freeway at 3pm. A trip that would take 1 hour for us, took five hours, only to arrive at the mountains, and from there, we were driven somewhere in the dark, uphill. Considering we had to stay approximately one hour, then go back, (maybe it would take two hours), I found it reasonable to ask the homeowner permission to use the restroom. She offered me to use the master bathroom. To my shocking surprise, the master bathroom had a huge beautiful jacuzzi, but only a tiny curtain separated the toilette from the master bedroom. What was worst, there was somebody watching tv in the bedroom. My first reaction was to get away from there, directly, that was it. But the rational area of my brain, ordered me to be polite, I love anthropology, I love to study about people and habitat, culture, etc., I couldn't be so silly. And I wouldn't make it if it took hours to get down the mountain and find at least a gasoline station.
It is very common in California that the regional parks do not have doors in the stalls. To avoid drugs consumption and whatever bad acts you can imagine, but a private toilette...that was weird for me.
Now, if I analyze the facts, a standard interior hollow wood door is not sound proof; it covers the opening the same way as curtain. At last, it is the same concept with different materiality. What was the problem then? The habits, the memory of certain objects and their strict functionality. When the problem is exposed so brightly as Magritte did, I feel happy that somebody else has shared my concern about doors and privacy.

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