The Art and Architecture of the Future of Public Toilets

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No. 01 / 03
Browse Gallery

A few years ago I was in the middle of a pub crawl, traveling west towards Covent Garden by bus. Given the nature of the crawl one won’t be surprised that I was in dire need of a piss. When the bus stopped, I charged towards a public toilet I knew to be just across from the base of the Waterloo Bridge. I had, however, been fooled. The long standing public toilet had been transformed into a fucking night club.

The absurdity of the transformation notwithstanding, the shift from utility to nighttime haunt in this space triggered in me a valuable question – where were public toilets headed? For a time I believed they were moving into Crate & Barrel stores. Then I was banned from each and every one of them on the Island of Manhattan. Apparently their urinals are not as public as thought.

In London, especially, the tradition of public toilets has migrated from a Victorian notion of civic need (to be fair, there are still a few of these) to the type of frightening stand alone box. Recently a series of architects were spurred by RIBA to rethink the public toilet. Some folks reacted to Victorian pride, others follow current “green” thinking. All are worth checking out. (via ArchDaily).

More toilet designs after the jump.

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