Tokyo’s quirky public toilet was designed to look like a large sink & includes a communal hand-washing basin

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto recently showcased the final installment of the Tokyo Toilet project – a public toilet that seamlessly merges a communal hand-washing design into its form and is meant to replace a toilet block near the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel in downtown Tokyo. The structure is the 17th toilet built in the city as a part of the Tokyo Toilet project. The project includes toilets designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winners Toyo Ito, Tadao Ando, Fumihiko Maki, and Shigeru Ban.

Designer: Sou Fujimoto

“One could say that public toilets are a watering place in the middle of a city, a spring that supplies the town. They are available to various people who will use it for different reasons in addition to using the toilet, and I wanted to propose a space for washing hands as a public watering place,” said Fujimoto.  The toilet block was designed to mimic a large sink and includes a communal hand-washing area. It features an open-air corridor that segregates the all-white toilet block from the elliptical basin. The basin has been equipped with four taps installed at different heights. According to Fujimoto, it is “one vessel that is for everyone”.

“The shape, with a large depression in the middle, includes places for people of various heights to wash their hands so that everyone from children to older people can wash their hands within this vessel, creating a small community of people refreshing themselves and conversing. I hope this will be a new kind of public space, where people can gather surrounded by water,” Fujimoto continued.

Both the male and female toilets can be entered via the open-air corridor. But the disabled toilet and child-changing section has a different entrance at the end of the building. Much like the exterior, the interiors of the toilet are all-white accentuated by recessed lights positioned all over the walls. The toilet has a clean, concise, and minimal structure and aesthetic, much like the architecture commonly found in Japan. The Tokyo Toilet project is funded by the Nippon Foundation, and it includes other interesting toilets such as a cedar-clad public toilet designed by Kengo Kuma and a pair of transparent blocks by Shigeru Ban.