From smartphone-controlled bidets to "poop-as-you-go" biogas toilet bikes, Japan is known for its high-tech toilets and obsession with the bathroom. Now Japanese designer Daigo Ishii + Future-scape Architects have teamed up to create The House of Toilet, a public restroom in Ibuki-shima, Japan, that aims to celebrate the distinct character of the community and region.
Made with polycarbonate sheeting and burnt wood siding (called shou-sugi-ban, the Japanese practice of seasoning wood to make it pest- and fire-resistant), the angular scheme looks like some modernist exercise in randomness. But the design is actually divided into six different sections, each of which is cut in an angled fashion. The design is conceived of as an architectural compass, with each of these cuts aligning to a major urban center on each continent, save Antarctica -- thus anchoring this remote island's public restroom to the rest of the planet.
Interestingly, the cuts have also been carefully calculated to align with the sun during solstices and during three traditional ceremonies local to the island, so that on 9 a.m. on these days, the sun will shine directly into its interior. Say the designers:
[At] that time, a ray of light passes through the inside of the building, [to let the islanders and tourists] know the coming of the season. It is a trick you to highlight the identity of Ibukijima.
And, that the axis of the angle of the six cross is a coordinate indicating the position of Ibukijima, in fact, connected with the world, is also a locality itself.
A prominent oculus opening in the ceiling not only lets light in, but also helps to harvest rainwater for the proper functioning of the six toilets.
It's an intriguing way to elevate the mundane typology of the public restroom into something almost cosmic, while placing this picturesque and distinct locality in its world context. More over at Architizer and Daigo Ishii + Future-scape Architects.