Ito‘s distinctive toilet was built to replace a previous toilet block at the bottom of a flight of steps leading up to the Yoyogi Hachimangu shrine in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
The Japanese architect broke his facility into three cylindrical blocks that are topped with overhanging dome-shaped roofs to create a form “reminiscent of [the] mushrooms” that grow in the forest surrounding the nearby shrine.
The Japanese architect aimed to design a calm, welcoming facility that would encourage people to use the public toilets.
“I didn’t want to use public toilets as much as I could, even as a man,” said Ito.
“Therefore, this time, I would like to try a casual design that can be used calmly and with peace of mind.”
The largest central mushroom is attached to the back wall of the site and contains an accessible toilet.
Freestanding blocks on either side contain two cubicles for women and a cubicle and pair of urinals for men.
All three were clad in bands of red, pink and white tiles that extend onto the floor of the facility.
The roofs of the blocks are raised above the walls to allow natural light and air into the toilets.
By breaking the block into three Ito believes that the toilets will be a safe space for all users.
“I hope that the Yoyogi-Hachiman Public Toilet installed this time will be a ‘toilet that gives women a sense of security that can be used even at night’ and a ‘toilet that has an inconspicuous design and can be used casually’.”
His facility joins fellow Pritzker winners Tadao Ando’s circular toilet, Fumihiko Maki’s block topped with a “cheerful roof” and Shigeru Ban’s pair of transparent public toilets.
In total 17 toilets are set to be built as part of the project. Other recently completed buildings created as part of the project include a “friendly” house-shaped toilet designed by Japanese fashion designer Nigo and a cedar-clad block designed by Kengo Kuma.
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