The Long Drop Is a Lovely Loo

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©. Invisible Studios

In his firm’s about page, Architect Piers Taylor writes at the bottom: Please note that generally, we cannot take on projects that are small in scale. He fibbed, and shows TreeHugger a project that is very small indeed: the Long Drop, a “no cost, no impact” loo next to the studio for his firm, Invisible Studio. Piers writes that “It was built entirely with scavenged or waste materials and cost nothing. It is operated as a composting toilet and this has no impact on the local drainage system.”

long drop loo

© Invisible Studio

Piers describes it as a urine separating composting toilet with “ a chamber for solids than can be wheeled out and swapped for an empty one while the full one composts”.


© Invisible Studio

He does not send us interior details, but I believe that this is what is sometimes known as a a “batch loo” where you just do a switcheroo when one chamber is full. You can then empty it into a trench or if it is big enough, let it sit for a couple of months or even a year to give all the pathogens time to die. By making it urine separating there is less smell, fewer bin changes and you get better compost, as well as the possibility of putting the phosphorus in the pee to use.

door detail

© Invisible Studio

By making it a long drop down to the chamber, there is even less smell. With a small exhaust fan to ensure that air is drawn down , there is actually less odour than a conventional toilet, and with the elimination of the bowl- no splashing and no brushing.

visible studio

© Invisible Studio

The studio the loo services is quite wonderful as well, built by the practice with the help of neighbours and friends using local wood that was milled on the spot.


© Visible Studio

No one who worked on the project had constructed a building before. The project was an exercise in establishing a system of building that could be constructed by unskilled labour, with minimal drawings, allowing ad hoc discoveries and improvisation to be embraced, and the tyranny of predetermined design to be escaped. The ‘mistakes’ of the unskilled team remain evident in the building, and no attempt was made to conceal them.

More at Invisible Studio.