Top 10 designer public toilets in the world
Toilet is something that no public place can do without, and designers do not forget about it. We have collected for you ten of the most unusual public toilets of the world – from Norway to Japan – many of which can safely claim to be true architectural masterpieces
Concrete “wave” Uredd in Norway, a project of studio HZA
This unusual public toilet is located in Helgeland, on one of Norway’s longest hiking trails. Tourists come here to admire the picturesque nature, watch the northern lights and visit the country’s second largest glacier. At one of the stops is this site, designed by Oslo-based architecture studio HZA. It’s called Uredd and in addition to the toilet itself, it has a concrete observation deck with stone benches, a seating area and steps down to the sea.
“Space capsules” on the streets of San Francisco
In 2021, the streets of San Francisco will feature these “space shuttles,” which will replace the existing, unenvironmental structures of the mid-1990s. The project was developed by Smithgroup Studio, which won a 2018 competition to outfit the city with 25 public restrooms and 114 booths. The futuristic metal and glass structures will feature digital screens, interactive information displays, green flowerbeds and plants.
“Brutalist” Toilet in China
The Chinese studio Shulin Architectural Design has renovated a public toilet in the Xiaoshan district of Hangzhou, China, transforming an old, dilapidated building into a modern architectural object. Now locals gather here to socialize while sitting on benches, and tourists wash fruit bought at the neighborhood market.
Mirror toilet in Norway, project by Morfeus studio
The desire to blend in with the landscape was a major concern in the design of Bukkekjerka, a Norwegian recreation area. The small complex, which has been called the most beautiful public toilet in the world, was created by the architectural bureau Morfeus. The main volume of the pavilion is formed by a concrete slab that winds in a broken line and turns into paths diverging in different directions. A small rectangular room is built into the formed hinge, and its walls are faced with stainless steel polished to a mirror shine. The only panoramic window overlooking the ocean is fitted with mirrored glass.
Minimalist Toilet in Japan
This minimalist public toilet stands in the parking lot of the Japanese city of Nakanojo on the island of Honshu. Its project was developed by the Japanese studio Kubo Tsushima Architects, which had the task to create a recognizable urban object for the art biennale taking place in the city, and at the same time to make it functional and practical. The architects decided to play on the idea of cleanliness and chose white, white interiors and a maximally laconic design for the toilet. In terms of the building has a Latin letter S, it is accessible from both sides.
Modular Toilet in the Black Forest
Duravit participated in the plumbing of this highly artistic public toilet, which opened in April 2019 in the German town of Titisee in the Black Forest, which annually receives up to 400,000 tourists from all over the world. The building has a modular design developed by Kramer GmbH of Umkirch-Bai-Freiburg: On a total area of 74 m² there are five modules, combined in two (for women and for men). The fifth module is smaller and designated for the handicapped. The outside of the building is decorated with portraits of Bavarians in folk costume taken by the famous Black Forest photographer Sebastian Wehrle. Inside, the establishment is fully equipped with products from Duravit, which is also headquartered in the Black Forest.
The Transparent Toilet, a project by So Fujimoto
The lavatory is usually the most ‘restricted’ area. All the more unusual is the project by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who has designed a completely transparent cubicle and installed it in a green area near the Ichihara railway station in Chiba prefecture. The 20-square-meter square is surrounded on all sides by a two-meter wooden fence. The railroad passes nearby and trains can be heard. In this way the architect wanted to erase the boundaries between architecture, man and nature.
The village toilet, project by tato architects
We also found this public toilet in Japan: it stands in the town of Shodoshima in Kagawa prefecture and is a concrete structure under a free-standing wooden canopy with a gable roof, designed by Tato Architects. The canopy is covered with glass tiles, so that during the day it almost merges with the surrounding houses (nearby is the famous factory for the production of soy sauce according to ancient recipes). In the evening, the electric light shines through the glass, revealing the building’s modern architecture.
An eco-friendly toilet in Japan
Lixil Group, a leading Japanese manufacturer of building materials and household items, ordered the construction of a public toilet, which would meet the ideas of sustainable development and ecology. The project was undertaken by the designer Dick Olango of the OSA Social Design Group. Everything about the project, from the materials used for the construction to the clever engineering details, is 100% ecological. Specifically, natural ventilation and light are used, rainwater is used, and all waste is used to make natural fertilizer.
Have you ever seen a toilet with a clear glass door and an entire planted garden? Yes, at So Fujimoto’s, but not only. This is how Brazilian architects Carolina Oliveira and Juliana Kapaz from Unik Arquitetura and Patrícia Salgado from Estúdio Aker see modern public toilets. The doors of the booths are made of polarizing glass: when they are closed, an electric discharge is given and the glass becomes opaque. In front of the booths there is a bench and mirrors. How do you like this idea?
Other materials on the subject:
A glimpse into the future: the best objects of modern architecture
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Toilets in our country and in the world: trends and attractions
Public toilets – “sightseeing”, without a visit to which a person rarely does even in a day trip. By the arrangement and condition of public toilets you can judge the economy of the state, understand the attitude of local authorities to residents and guests of the city.
The very phrase “public toilet” is a delicate and taboo subject in society, suggestive of unpleasant thoughts and associated with a stinky place that one wants to leave immediately. Our review presents the extent to which public toilets in different countries correspond to this common stereotype.
Spanish public toilets are not familiar to the Russians. Firstly, they are fully automated: even the sanitary process does not require the involvement of staff. Secondly, public toilets are free. A couple of years ago, the Spanish government decided that charging people for natural needs – blasphemy.
And if there is no vending machine nearby, tourists or locals can use the restroom in a bar or cafe – also free and without having to order anything. The main thing is that the establishment has a terrace. According to a law from 2015 such restaurants are obliged to let anyone who asks for it into the toilet.
Restrooms in Berlin, Munich, Cologne and other major German cities are equipped with the latest technology, which makes tourists have questions about their use. Someone gets stuck in a stall, not knowing that the door opens automatically after the water sensor is triggered and the dryer turns on.
Free personal hygiene products are placed in the women’s restrooms. You have to pay 50 euro cents to visit the restroom.
Booths of free public toilets in Paris are equipped with a “traffic light” that many tourists are not aware of. If the light is green – the restroom is free, if the light is orange – occupied. After each visitor, the toilet starts flushing and disinfecting mode – the blue light turns on. If you don’t pay attention to this and enter the stall immediately after leaving it, there is a risk of “showering”.
In the center of Amsterdam installed a lot of open men’s urinals, which are individual stalls without doors. They first appeared on the streets of the city at the end of the 20th century to prevent people from going to the toilet in places not designated for this purpose. Today in the Netherlands for such a violation there is a fine in the amount of 130 euros.
Women in Amsterdam have less options: they have to use paid toilets costing 40-70 euro cents.
Tourists visiting Switzerland are pleasantly surprised by the number, cleanliness and arrangement of public toilets. Even in provincial towns each public restroom is equipped with a special entrance for disabled people, in the rooms of mother and child are provided with changing tables.
In the center of Lausanne, a public toilet was turned into an art object. The walls of the stalls are made of translucent glass, which automatically dims when a person enters. Visitors to this unusual restroom should remember one thing: if you do not move around for a long time, or on the contrary move too quickly, the walls of the toilet become transparent. This is done to ensure that the stalls are not used for other purposes, for example, to sleep.
Gender-neutral restrooms have started to appear in shopping malls in Switzerland.
The most high-tech toilets can be found in airports and shopping malls in Japan. “Smart” toilets are equipped with a heated seat, an automatic flush with a motion sensor, and even a music player – to hide physiological sounds from others.
More familiar to Europeans, latrines are scattered around playgrounds, parks, subway stations, and other high-traffic areas. At the entrance to Japanese public toilets there is an electronic board showing the number of free stalls.
China has a lot of city public toilets, but that’s where the pluses end. A visitor to a public restroom needs to be prepared for dirt and an unpleasant odor. Toilets in Chinese toilets are rare; instead, there are squats or holes in the floor.
In provinces far from the capital, the latrines may not be divided into men’s and women’s, and the stalls are not equipped with doors.
In Shanghai, the “toilet” situation is much better, even using a facial recognition system. However, its purpose is to limit the consumption of toilet paper: no more than 60 cm per hand.
Another country where toilet paper is in short supply. Tour operators recommend travelers intending to visit Cuba, take this means of personal hygiene with you. Sometimes toilet paper becomes currency, for which you can exchange local fruits and seafood. Two-ply toilet paper is especially valuable, and can be split into one layer for longer use.
Public restrooms in Cuba are tended to be bypassed, even by locals. Public toilets are stuffy, dirty, and smell like feces. The cost of admission is 1 kuk.
The layout of public toilets in Turkey is due to the fact that it is a Muslim country. This means that for the purification of the body it is necessary to use water. Therefore, in public restrooms, a bucket of water and a ladle are placed next to the toilet.
Since 2015, it became easier for tourists in this regard: the Supreme Religious Council of Turkey allowed Muslims to use toilet paper in the absence of access to water. Since then, this personal hygiene product, familiar to Europeans, has appeared in the toilet cubicles.
There are frightening legends about India’s public toilets. Some say that you shouldn’t use them without a gas mask and gloves, others say that they simply do not exist and you have to urinate in the street.
In the last five or six years the situation with public toilets in India has improved. In cities which are popular with tourists there are public toilets which are equipped with a toilet and a sink or a toilet on the floor. The cost of admission is one or two rupees.
You won’t find toilet paper and soap here, so experienced travelers carry the necessary supplies with them. The locals don’t use paper, because Indians tend to wash themselves after the toilet.
As our review shows, the equipment of public toilets is influenced not only by the level of economic development, but also by socio-cultural factors. When planning a trip, familiarize yourself in advance with the customs and laws of the locals. It helps to know what you need to be prepared for.