Downtown Sports Tower
At the origin of the project was the Downtown Sports Club, a tower built in 1931 in New York. It was 38 storeys high, 160 meters long, and presented an ultra-precision urbanisation programme, in which a whole range of equipment ostensibly linked to sports reshaped the human (male) body. Ascension to the upper floors implicitly corresponds to the conquest of optimal physical form. The lowest levels were locker rooms and gyms. On the ninth floor, visitors underwent a strange ritual: they had to strip naked and put on boxing gloves to eat the oysters. The next floors were associated with preventive medicine, with a complete body manipulation apparatus, tanning rooms, and barbers. On the upper floors, spaces are allocated for eating meals, relaxing and socializing. And finally, a decisive floor in which the man finally confronts his “true opponent”: the woman, in the bar, the only place she is allowed to enter. The upper floors of the tower are bedrooms. The heterosexual tour scenario at its peak that served as a model for imagining the interior of Mercuriales is here transposed into a story of queer/butch ascension.