Tokyo’s New Transparent Public Restrooms Are A Stroke Of Brilliance


It’s difficult to fathom a public restroom with transparent walls — though, a counterintuitive design has done just that.

Around the globe, restrooms get no love. Even in Japan, where public toilets have a steeper standard of hygiene than in most regions of the world, residents hold a phobia that toilets in public are smelly, dirty, scary, and, dark. To remedy the public’s fear, the non-profit Nippon Foundation initiated “The Tokyo Toilet Project,” giving 16 renowned architects the task of renovating 17 public toilets situated in the community parks of Shibuya, one of the most congested commercial zones of Tokyo.

According to a report from The Nippon Foundation, the mission was to use innovative architectural to make public restrooms accessible for everyone despite age, gender, disability or gender, with an aim “that people will feel comfortable using these public toilets and foster a spirit of hospitality for the next person.” Thus far, the most talked-about structure comes from Pritzker Prize-winning Shigeru Ban, an architect whose transparent lavatories showed up this month in the Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park and Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park.

The two dwellings each possess three cubicles, which are encircled by transparent tinted glass in purple, lime green, pink, cyan, blue, and yellow. The see-through conception has a pragmatic reason, which is to permit a person to readily check inside prior to entry. The Nippon Foundation, the non-profit organization, explains: “There are two concerns with public toilets, especially those located in parks The first is whether it is clean inside, and the second is that no one is secretly waiting inside.” The design rests on an innovative smart glass tech that turns the walls murky when the door is secured. “At night, they light up the parks like a beautiful lantern.”


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Aaron Granger


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