Architects: Mur Mur Lab
- Area: 265 m²
- Year: 2021
Manufacturers: RHEINZINK, Shikoku chemical research, Yangming old brick
- Lead Designers: Murong Xia, Zhi Li
- Design Team: Qin Zheng ,Zejun Jiang, Hanzhi Gao, Chloe (intern)
- Clients: Shanghai Miucheng Environmental Health Service Co., LTD
- City: Shanghai
- Country: China
Text description provided by the architects. The Ji Gu Cang Public Health Service Facility of Jia Ding District is a newly completed small house by Mur Mur Lab. The building is close to Lian Qi River of Jia Ding, which has been abandoned for a long time and was originally used as a water pump room. The finished building reintroduces the city's public activities into the waterfront space and makes it a new center for local community activities.
The community. The site has two impressive memories: first, it has a very good surrounding landscape, close to the Lianqi River in Jiading, embedded in the green belt along the river; second, between an abandoned water pump house and the existing public toilets, there is a small square, with locked iron doors, used for piles of debris. The original design did not include a pump house or a small plaza. We were the ones who insisted that the owners consider them as a whole. Although used as a public toilet, it has the opportunity to become a living communal place, provided it is properly handled.
"Public toilet +" is simply a new model of "public toilet + public space" that we have especially proposed for this site. To ensure the use of public toilets and the quality of public space at the same time, the key is a reasonable layout. We surveyed some public toilets in the surrounding cities and divided them into two groups according to the frequency of use and requirements for ventilation and sightlines in different areas. One group includes the management room and the men's and women's toilets, which have frequent access and smell. The other group includes the mother-and-baby room and the third gender room, which are less common but may require more privacy.
These two groups of functions are arranged on either side of the square, as close as possible to the city street, leaving the event space facing the river. The entrance and exit of the men's and women's toilets are directly connected with the street by a barrier-free ramp, so that only the residents who go to the toilet can enter and exit conveniently without entering the small square, and also reduce the mutual interference of smell and sight. Surrounded by the Lianqi River and plants, the abandoned square has become a relatively independent, pleasant, and beautiful public activity space. Tucked away at its innermost end, an outdoor steel staircase leads to an open room on the roof. In the future, it will serve as a miniature community exhibition hall, faithfully recording real everyday life.
Sociality？ This process of designing public buildings gives us a good starting point to observe a perennial question: can architecture be a tool for social improvement? In thinking about this question, we are often in a giant tear. Before college, like most of us, it never occurred to us that building a house had such a deep meaning. In college, starting from scratch, we accept the idea of convergence, and the social value of architecture seems innate and taken for granted. But after practicing, everyone is quickly drawn into the real business context. We were a little confused for a while.
Does the social value of architecture exist? Let's talk about another question: does architecture have value for people? The answer is obvious. Most importantly, "man" here is not an abstract reference, but a rich individual. A house can only serve the people you see around you every day. The social value of architecture, in the long run, is its equal value to each user. What's the difference between an old man out in the sun and a girl who wants to take a pretty picture? In this sense, architecture should embody equal meanings in commercial or non-commercial scenes. Look inward, and there is a rich wilderness, There, we saw the growth of little houses.