Lead Architect: Yingbin Fu
Design Team: Haoran Zhang, Wangcheng Cai
Client: The Government of Sun Town
The Toilet Revolution in China vs. Traditional Cultural Taboo
Toilet is essential facility wherever humans gather or live. However, toilet is still overlooked till now. In the traditional culture of China, toilet related items have always been treated as a matter of taboo. Take the traditional architectural layout for example, toilets always located in the corner or even no separate toilet inside of the traditional courtyard. Also known as the Forbidden City, there is no any toilets inside of such a huge Imperial Palace complex.
In this public toilet project in Sun Village where located in the heart of the scenic Dabie Mountains, in Huashan County in the southwest of the province. This project located in the public committee square in Sun Village where is the important public space for both villagers and tourists. This public toilet project need to meet the functional, aesthetic and the vernacular architecture requirements. The topography of the square is high to low from the South to the North, surrounded with town main roads in the Northwest. On the eastern edge, there is a 2m-high terrace, with bamboo forests growing in the subterranean layer, which has the best natural landscape in the site.
Public Space under Boosting Tourism Development
That’s why we choose this area as the toilet location. We hope to change people's negative impression of toilet by enjoying the best view of the bamboo forest. Controlled at a certain height, the building is horizontally spread out to form a more harmonious proportional relationship with the bamboo forest on the façade, presenting the top of the bamboo forest effectively to the users. People can enjoy the view through the central and the south side of the building to the bamboo forest which is the enflamed scenery simulation followed by Eastern Aesthetics.
The wall of the building is clear water red brick, which is the most common and convenient construction material in rural area. The continuous and repetitive wooden structure roof can realize the low-cost and fast production process. The roof is covered with fiberglass tiles, which allow sunlight to pass through the translucent fiberglass tiles, providing abundant natural light to the toilet.
We make good use of the local building materials such as red bricks, wood and glass reinforced plastic tiles which are easily found and sustainable to the environment.
Public Toilet As Public Realm
Because of its frequency of use and necessity, public toilet should be part of public realm. However, due to the single function of traditional public toilets and the negative space, the communication in toilets is often just a simple greeting.
As a new form of public space, the location advantage of the project makes them more frequently used and would become a tiny landmark for people gathering. By carefully arrangement of the Interior design also provides more opportunities for people to communicate and stay. The washbasin is located in the center of the men's and women's toilets, where users on both sides can be facing and talking instead of just standing. The bench located on the south edge of the toilet, where people can also enjoy the view of the bamboo forest while stay.
The Natural Space to Blur the Boundary of the Building
The interior of the toilet is completely opened up towards the bamboo forest, breaking the visual boundary between the building and nature, and blurring the boundaries of the private space of the toilet. While ensuring security, it also creates a small titillation with people's privacy. In South of China, some traditional toilet are open to the public which give us the inspiration to close to the nature.
Organic Integration of The Local Building Materials Process
Due to fast development of the rural area in China, the ‘informal’ architecture wave is now shaking traditional construction system. That’s the reason why It is difficult to reach the local craft and construction as ideal way. Based on site context, we overlap several building forms together such as Red brick masonry, concrete beams, wooden structures. The building responds the real demands of both villagers and tourists, as well as provide a vibrant public space in the near future.
The generation of design is a process of seeking the relationship between architecture and site, as well as the process of finding opportunities and creating vitality. A simple design change for a public toilet would be the search for more architectural possibilities.