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Samskara, Made in India © 2014 Anshika Varma


Lyon, CONFLUENCE University

While many areas of habitat design have seen regular design advances over time, the design of the toilet seems to be one of the areas lagging behind. Apart from the ‘loo taboo’ that could be associated with this neglect, the toilet, though a spatially small area of habitat design, it could be considered to be one of the most complex ones.

The presence or absence as well as the system of the ‘toilet’ reflects the historical context as well as the state of development of a society. The human interaction with this facility is culturally diverse, as also different based on the user’s gender. This seemingly insignificant facility, usually seen as an ancillary service, is in fact most directly connected and dependent on how the individual building connects with the rest of its context through collective infrastructure. How the toilet and its related infrastructure function depends on and affects the big picture of the settlements environmental performance as it directly impacts the amount of water used, the waste generated, or energy created.

The conventional water closet designed in the 18th Century, that is still in use universally, with some though not significant design improvements, use over 30% of the total household water to simply move the waste from one place to another, of usually the same purified quality that is used in the kitchen. Given the population increasing in the world and an unprecedented rapid urbanisation on one hand and the equally rapid depletion of natural resources the back end of toilets need an urgent rethink. Given the lifestyle changes on the other hand, the toilet itself, as a personal space used by all could also benefit from reinvention. An intimate space that could be more pleasant, especially in public places, we ask you to rethink the toilet by paying attention to the ergonomics as well as psychological needs.

Students will produce individual research and individual projects according to their own interests, through a diversity of scales according to their capacities. However through regular collective sessions among individuals, the research as well as the designed projects will be compiled as a cohesive and rich peer to peer learning exercise.

CONFLUENCE Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture

Reinvent the toilet
Recycle waste, Conserve Water, Create energy

CONFLUENCE, Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture
Lyon, France

May 2015

Vertical Workshop directed by: Anupama Kundoo

CONFLUENCE Students: Anoucka Atouvoefoun, Charles Ober, Domitille Roy, Gerolamo Gnecchi , Martin Detoeuf, Nhaïla Chin-Foo , Pierre de Pingon , Thomas Deslaviere , Sid-Ahmed Chougrani and Francesco Messina