Fig: 1 – Toilets – Something we don’t talk about but they are everywhere - An illustration
We all love to attend carnivals and other events in outdoor open areas, go camping, or so on, but the one comfort that we miss from back home is our toilet privileges! The invention of toilets came about as people required a safe and hygienic space to defecate, instead of doing it in the open. In 1596, the first flush toilet was invented and has been in widespread usage even today.
Since the early ages, toilets have taken different forms from being a simple hole in the ground to chambers and now, to automated ones. While toilets fulfill a basic need, there is scope for design and variation that can be brought about in the space they are placed in, to create
Toilets and washrooms in residences receive special treatment, wherein this small space is equipped with many additional services, almost making the facility a luxury for its users. But when it comes to toilets in the public realm, efforts made to provide comfortable and efficient solutions have been lacking.
Fig: 2 - A public women's room circa 1950. | (Hulton Archive)
Public toilets were invented in ancient Rome as just a cluster of holes, with seats lined against a wall, where men sat and talked. These spaces were feared since they were prone to fires and rodents. Fast forward to the 1850s, during the great exhibition shows, where the concept of flush toilets was introduced and they became a commercial commodity, in the following year.
Today we have better versions of these public toilets, both single and multiple capacity. The single occupancy, portable toilets are used in large numbers, during outdoor events, in remote tourist spots, or in slum areas, where access to hygienic, city public toilets may be limited.
Portable toilets can accommodate one person anthropometrically and are self-contained. They are functional, but their design scale is restricted due to mobility constraints, which may make the occupant feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable.
How can the design of public toilets be improved?
Fig: 3 – A modular toilet - An engineering solution
Public toilets are often viewed as functional entities that are not particularly appealing or hygienic. This image of the public toilet can be changed by improving its efficiency and comfort.
Brief: Propose a new design for a portable toilet for 5 simultaneous occupancy stalls that can be used by any type of user, with ease. Anticipation of additional needs of certain occupants must be done. Resources on site like daylight and passive ventilation techniques can be used to enhance the quality of the design of the stall. The maintenance and upkeep are also important facet participant should look at.
The aim of the design is to understand how the design of even the most functional unit of space can be enhanced with thoughtful inputs. The portability or mobility of this toilet stall is the most important factor. The effort needed in transportation and its technical details is to be included in the proposal.
Access: The toilet stall must be accessible to disabled people with a barrier-free design.
Modular: The designed stall must be easy to fabricate, and can be manufactured in large numbers.
Services: It must be equipped with services for self-containment. Additional equipment can be installed by justifying its need.
Sustainability: Energy-efficient and eco-friendly choices must be made, using natural resources.
Image: the lighting and material choice can be used to change the look to be more inviting.
The module size of a single stall is restricted to 1.3m x 1.3m x 2.4m. Participants can use this module size and replicate it multiple times for various conditions and scenarios. The submission looks at creating a set of 5 stalls and related elements like a basin, circulation, mirror, etc. within the collective unit comprising several modules in the given size above.