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Toilet in a Courtyard

As observed from central courtyards throughout history, a space around a courtyard developed in steel, stone, wood or concrete is invariably efficient.

The front facade

A welcoming Papaya tree is the first visual that greets people as they walk in.

Defined by mesh: The handicap toilet

The prototype also accommodates toilet for the specially-abled that is accessible via a separate ramp; a 4’X5’ nursing station and an attendant’s space.

The plan

The courtyard serves as a spillover area, an extension to the existing floor space where people could stand during particularly populated hours.

A section through the courtyard

The women’s units, 3’ x 4’ in size, have their backs to the courtyard, while men’s urinals and toilets face the courtyard.

The women`s wing (L) and the entry passage for the men`s area (R)

The Toilet in Courtyard caters to both men and women, which means that the courtyard also plays the role of a divider between the areas for men and women.

A part of the Bandra station

Located in the recently-declared heritage building – Bandra station – the material palette as well as the structural elements of the toilet reflect and complement the existing concourse building.

The colour palette

Subtle warm tones that reflect the traditional charm of the Bandra station.

The material palette

The materiality of the toilet and the court, is a tasteful combination of stone, concrete and the signature perforated screens.

The Mangalore tile + Polycarbonate sheet roof

The roof uses Mangalore tiles and exudes an aura of traditional Indian architecture, covered underneath with a layer of polycarbonate sheets for a hint of contemporary.

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Lab 14 Mar 2018

Second in his series of public toilet prototypes, CQ investigates Rohan Chavan’s Toilet in a Courtyard

Traditionally, courtyards have been an inherent feature of the typical Indian house. Equipped with sunlight, an ambience of the moving air, and a fragment of the ‘outdoor’ inside the house, the courtyard has always served as an integral segment. The toilet however has not. Aside from the fact that most rural and urban poor homes survive without a toilet, the public toilets built tend to be smelly, unhygienic and overall unpleasant. Architect Rohan Chavan although, is doing his best to change this and reintroduce public toilets in better light. CQ speaks to Rohan about his second instalment of this objective.

Early in 2016, in collaboration with TMC (Thane Municipal Corporation) and the social enterprise Agasti, Rohan Chavan designed the Light Box. The Light Box is essentially the prototype for a public restroom for women, children and the physically challenged; designed such that not only is the prototype functional, economical and low-maintenance, it also serves as more that just a toilet. Crafted with innovation and executed with elegance, the project turned out to be an absolute success. 

Toilet in a Courtyard

As observed from central courtyards throughout history, a space around a courtyard developed in steel, stone, wood or concrete is invariably efficient.

Taking this concept forward, Rohan Chavan and team marched on to create the Toilet in a Courtyard, in Bandra, Mumbai

The front facade

A welcoming Papaya tree is the first visual that greets people as they walk in.

The element of a Courtyard, in a Toilet

As observed from central courtyards throughout history – be it the courtyard houses in Kerala or the Court of the Lions in Alhambra in Spain – a space around a courtyard developed in steel, stone, wood or concrete is invariably efficient. Not only does this architecture function climatically, but also serves as a multi-purpose space. 

The plan

The courtyard serves as a spillover area, an extension to the existing floor space where people could stand during particularly populated hours.

 
A section through the courtyard

The women’s units, 3’ x 4’ in size, have their backs to the courtyard, while men’s urinals and toilets face the courtyard.

The idea of a toilet around a courtyard in this case, was conceptualised for two primary reasons. The first being the fact that a courtyard – a fragment of the outdoors – brings in sunlight that acts as a natural disinfectant, and the flow of air that supports ventilation, unlike most public toilets, making the experience of this toilet a more pleasant one. The second reason, was that the courtyard would serve as a spillover area, an extension to the existing floor space where people could stand during particularly populated hours. 

Defined by mesh: The handicap toilet

The prototype also accommodates toilet for the specially-abled that is accessible via a separate ramp; a 4’X5’ nursing station and an attendant’s space.

“A courtyard – a fragment of the outdoors – brings in sunlight that acts as a natural disinfectant, and the flow of air that supports ventilation, unlike most public toilets, making the experience of this toilet a more pleasant one.”

Segregating the areas for men & women

Unlike the Light Box, the Toilet in Courtyard caters to both men and women, which means that the courtyard also plays the role of a divider between the areas for men and women, with a welcoming Papaya tree as the first visual that greets people as they walk in. The women’s units, 3’ x 4’ in size, have their backs to the courtyard, while men’s urinals and toilets face the courtyard. Therefore, the central court segregates the crowd and accommodates the people queing up to use the urinals, which is usually higher. The prototype also accommodates toilet for the specially-abled that is accessible via a separate ramp; a 4’X5’ nursing station and an attendant’s space. 

The women`s wing (L) and the entry passage for the men`s area (R)

The Toilet in Courtyard caters to both men and women, which means that the courtyard also plays the role of a divider between the areas for men and women.

The material palette

Located in the recently-declared heritage building – Bandra station – the material palette as well as the structural elements of the toilet reflect and complement the existing concourse building. 

A part of the Bandra station

Located in the recently-declared heritage building – Bandra station – the material palette as well as the structural elements of the toilet reflect and complement the existing concourse building.

The roof uses Mangalore tiles and exudes an aura of traditional Indian architecture, covered underneath with a layer of polycarbonate sheets for a hint of contemporary. 

The Mangalore tile + Polycarbonate sheet roof

The roof uses Mangalore tiles and exudes an aura of traditional Indian architecture, covered underneath with a layer of polycarbonate sheets for a hint of contemporary.

The materiality of the toilet and the court, is a tasteful combination of stone, concrete and the signature perforated screens. Built in brick, the walls are finished with concrete on the inside, making them easy to clean; and clad in stone on the exteriors – resembling the station’s traditional ambience. 

The material palette

The materiality of the toilet and the court, is a tasteful combination of stone, concrete and the signature perforated screens.

The perforated screens, an element borrowed from the Light Box, are can be seen playing many roles in the Toilet in a Courtyard. While they seperated the inside from the outside in the former, they segregate and define the spaces in the latter, as well as provide for light and ventilation. 

The colour palette

Subtle warm tones that reflect the traditional charm of the Bandra station.

Second in the series of public toilets, the Toilet in a Courtyard provides facilities for the daily suburban train commuters visiting Bandra Station, in a safe and contextually responsive environment. The prototype manages to both blend in with heritage as well as leave a touch of contemporaneity for the future.

Read up on the Light Box, Rohan Chavan’s previous attempt at redefining public toilets here. Wait patiently for the next instalment of this series, or head here to keep up with Rohan Chavan and his other work.