Text description provided by the architects. Tiankai Camping Park is located around 85 kilometers to the Southwest of Beijing. The park is currently undergoing a transformation. Tiankai Park used to offer flower-field backdrops with a series of eclectic objects placed in the fields such as fake windmills serving as an attraction for selfie hunters from the city. Such attractions have been rather common around Beijing, but their novelty has worn off over the years. Our client is making an effort to transform her land into a camping park by going back to basics.
“Toilets with a view” is a tiny infrastructure project which serves the basic needs of its visitors. The completion of the project in May 2020 marks the beginning of the park’s transformation into a leisure destination for campers and glampers alike. Since camping and making an open fire are not allowed in almost all rural areas surrounding Beijing the park has become a destination for outdoor lovers gathering around their campfires.
Camping with a touch of glamping has become a small, but growing trend among young urbanites in China who enjoy spending their weekends outside of their cities. It tends to appeal to families and groups of friends looking for somewhere special to spend time together. The seclusion of the location allows them to connect with family and friends. “Camping has become an expression of a feeling of freedom within a private circle of closest friends who enjoy spending meaningful downtime together”, says Sun Min co-founder of guò bàn ér.
The project was designed to be the utmost basic infrastructure for the campers, since local regulations for the land does not allow for any type of new structure or building with a roof. Hence the toilets are simply a series of perimeter walls.
A set of 2 toilets paired with a washing counter and a bench have been placed in 4 different locations within the large area of the camping park. Originally, the facilities were designed as 4 unique configurations, but this had been scrapped for budget reasons. Nevertheless, the ensemble of toilets and washing counters have been positioned thoughtfully for people to enjoy great views of the park while washing their hands or washing their veggies and fruit they brought along.
The wash counter is topped with a thick concrete plate poured with a slight slope which simply surface drains the water away from the person washing their hands. “We just wanted to create the most basic experience of washing your hands with ice-cold mountain water without creating an actual sink”, says Christian Taeubert co-founder of guò bàn ér.
The Natural stone for the project as well as the pebbles are from a nearby location and the dry- stone walls have been crafted by local workers. Simple copper pipes were bent into water faucets. The 4 mini infrastructure elements are intended to be humble structures which fit into the landscape while at the same time they mark several destinations around the park.