Designer Miles Pennington and DLX Design Lab of the University of Tokyo have designed a public toilet in Japan that can be used as an exhibition space, cinema, pop-up kiosk, information centre or meeting place.
Pennington, who is a professor of design-led innovation at the University of Tokyo and the DLX Design Lab, designed the toilet as a community space at the intersection of three roads in the Hatagaya district of Tokyo.
“This is a community space that happens to have toilets too,” said Pennington.
“We would love the community in Sasazuka and Hatagaya to make use of the space, as a gallery, a meeting location, or whatever they would like it to be. Bring it to life and as far as the toilets are concerned, let nature take its course!”
The toilets are arranged around a large covered area that the designers envision as a multi-functional space.
Within it are expansive white walls, designed to hang artworks or display films projected from an overhead projector.
To allow this open space to be used by the community in a variety of ways, the team designed a seating system that can easily be adapted.
A series of bollard-like structures are embedded within the ground and can be raised and connected with long timber-covered sections to create benches in various formations.
Surrounding the covered space, the team created three triangular structures that contain the toilet facilities.
A male toilet occupies the right-hand triangle, while unisex cubicles that contain changing stations were placed on the left-hand side and rear.
Pennington hopes that creating a community space within the toilet block will give the building additional meaning.
“Public toilets can often become underused, lose their value to people and gradually forgotten,” he said. “To try and reverse that trend we created this toilet.”
“We hope that it will be used as an exhibition space, pop-up kiosk, small information centre or a cozy meeting space, and become the centre of the local community,” he continued.
The toilet was created as part of the Tokyo Toilet project, which is run by the non-profit Nippon Foundation and will see 17 public toilets built in the city.
Previous toilets include structures by three Pritzker Architecture Prize winners. Shigeru Ban designed a pair of transparent blocks, Tadao Ando created a circular toilet and Fumihiko Maki built a toilet with a “cheerful roof”.
The photography is by Satoshi Nagare, courtesy of the Nippon Foundation.
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