michael young designs public toilet for beijing
all images courtesy of michael young
in its day, the hutong area of beijing, adjacent to tiananmen square, was realized as a residential zone without any toilet facilities built within. instead, a public bathroom was set in place for the inhabitants to share, eliminating any kind of comfort or privacy. michael young was asked to design a new public toilet for this historic part of the city. keeping in mind that the site is positioned within the classic stone work of the basic local housing, and within walking distance of one of the chinese capital’s major cultural landmarks, the hong kong-based studio developed a scheme that reflects and responds to these two factors; which could also be applicable to other buildings of varying size.
a typical lavatory would consists of five holes in the ground, lacking any kind of partitions of flushing mechanism. in wanting to change this and provide proper drainage for waste, as well as privacy, the british born designer has envisioned an interior space of four stalls (two back to back) which allows for easy cleaning, airflow and management of electrical and water terminals housed within.
the awning-like structure is covered in a composition of specially designed tiles
the main framework is a solid structure that is built directly into the ground that can withstand wear. a composition of specially (not excessively) designed tiles are installed over this awning-like system creating a more secluded area. the tiles can be built-up and constructed in confined areas, complementing the building, rather than competing with it.
‘it would have been simple to use this briefing to become a pseudo architect, so instead we used or experience within industrial and interior design to create an awning that we felt would be dutiful, a structure which must consider not only light and airflow for locality, but also show respect for history and future application.’ – micahel young
the overall tiling system not only reflects the architecture of the hutong area, but also stands to protect users from the sun and rain–deflecting both of these elements. in addition, the material composition from which the tiles are made, resist the extreme temperatures which the city experiences between the summer and winter months.
the translucency of the tiles allow for sunlight to filter through to the interior while also offering privacy
model of the four stall bathroom
the tiling system deflects sunlight and rain
beijing design week
september 26th – october 3rd
beijing design week (BJDW) returns to enliven china’s capital with a unique city-wide showcase of initiatives celebrating creativity and innovation from the design field at large.