CONCEPT The main concept of this proposal is to create a toilet building that serves its sanitary function as a place for repose. The spatial design is thought out in such a way that it adds an extra feel of comfort to the user. How is this achieved?
Instead of the usual total separation between men’s and woman’s sections, the space design for this toilet building is reconnecting the two as in the Jing and Jang principle. The building is divided into two U-shape (in section) concrete spaces that read through their coloring as the men’s (blue) and woman’s (red) sections, separated by a north-south entrance passage. These two sections are reconnected overhead by the fact that they are in the shade of the same Deshojo Momiji trees planted in the communal central zone. These trees are visible from inside through the transparence of the roof and allow from both sections for a shared view of a natural element against the backdrop of the sky. As the privacy aspect of toilet blocks require them to be closed, it is only the roof that allows for openness and contact to the outside world.
STRUCTURE AND SPACE A further division of the space to the functional size of the stalls is achieved as follows. A series of 50mm thick Larch Ply-wooden plates, placed in opposite direction of the concrete structure, supports both the roof and descends down to become the cubicle walls. These plates separate each cubicle as walls, but also connect through to the other side of the building spanning the whole width as beams. This duality and multi-functionality of the plate elements is an important aspect of the design. The same can be said of the reinforced concrete U-shaped shells, in contrast to the Larch Plywood, these are constructed out of polished concrete and both the floor and walls read as part of one and the same element.
GREEN DESIGN The Momiji trees are not an incidence. They are meant to connect the project to the green belt of the master plan and they symbolize the ecological nature of the project. At the level of installations rain water harvesting as well as photo voltaic cells integrated onto the roof membrane are meant to make the building as self sustainable as possible. While the rainwater collected and stored should provide for the needed water to flush the toilets etc, the photo voltaic cells should provide for the electricity needs such as the LED lighting and for flushing. The PV’s are designed in a pattern with more density on the less shaded north side and less around the trees.
MATERIALS There are only two dominant materials in this design; 1) reinforced concrete and Larch Plywood. The polished concrete for the floors, walls and counters is maintenance friendly and is contrasted with the warm Larch Plywood plates. Both materials are only used in one direction (Concrete in the X-direction and Plywood in the Y-direction) expressing the clarity of the space design. The plywood was chosen for its suitability as structural material as well as its warmth. The whole is covered by the transparent durable ETFE double skin membrane (t=2mm) roof with integrated PV cells.
PEOPLE FRIENDLY DESIGN The extension of the front facade is designed for the purpose of benches that are an invitation to repose. Often people in groups have to wait for each other in the vicinity of the toilet building and these benches as well as the resting area under the Momiji tree will offer them extra comfort.
Through the design of a north-South access zone the building can be accessed easily from two sides. This zone organizes both the access to the women’s and the men’s sections as well as allowing for easy access to the multi-purpose toilets.