THE TOKYO TOILET: Toyo Ito @ Yoyogi Hachiman
For thousands of years, Japanese built shrines by surrounding them with dense woods to amplify the sense of awe toward the power of nature and divinity, two almost identical supreme existences that were far beyond people’s control. Even in today’s hyper modern environment, many Japanese shrines still preserve thick woods around them, conveying the message from ancient people. As part of the Tokyo Toilet Project, architect Toyo Ito designed a public bathroom at the entrance of such woods that surround the Yoyogi Hachiman shrine in Shibuya Ward, a busy central Tokyo district.
In order to preserve sober atmosphere of the shrine area, Ito created three “mushrooms” – one unit for women, one for all gender and the other for men (from left to right). They are standing rather serenely against dark woods. –
Three mushrooms are separated by narrow hallways so that there is no blind spot that encourages troublesome behaviors. Each unit is large enough to accommodate multiple functions (which is not common in Japan).