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The Portable Toilet

Functions: infrastructure for events, public gatherings and calamities. | Form: A kit of parts – can dismantled, folded, stacked and transported by trucks. Each block is modular that multiplies to form various configurations. | Salient features: Recharge by plug-in vans that can empty sludge, recharge water and wash the wall fabric.

The Bus Stop Toilet

Functions: A toilet combined with a bus-stop. | Form: A ferro-cement core block supports a sweeping cantilevered ferro-cement roof. | Salient features: The e-toilet operates by inserting coins with automated flushing and deep cleansing mechanism. Its roof collects rainwater in an underground tank which is reused in the toilet.

The Highway Toilet

Functions: Amenities – an ATM machine, free WIFI, Shower facility, Changing rooms, mobile charging station, changing station for mothers with infants and a Sanitary napkin dispenser. | Form: A rectangular block with a ‘scooped-out’ central void. | Salient features: A pre-fabricated modules skin that follow the sun-movement and create light-and-shadow patterns within. The structure is a landmark, visible from a distance during the day and night.

The Pavement Toilet

Functions: The toilet is placed under the pavement that continues as street furniture atop the pavement. | Form: Two flights of stairs descend into a sunken courtyard with a tree, flanked by toilet blocks on either side. | Salient features: Each toilet block has a small sunken court that brings sufficient natural light and ventilation within the toilet.

The Park Toilet

Functions: An interphase between the open space and the city. | Form: A wooden skeleton morphs along the open-space edge forming stepped seating, an entrance gate to the park and a bicycle stand. | Salient features: Can be accessed from within and outside the park. The toilet recycles solid waste.

Railway Toilet

Functions: Drinking water fountain and food dispenser. | Form: A high-spanning steel arch supports the railway staircase that leads to the overhead crossing bridges. Space underneath the staircase houses the toilets.| Salient features: Eliminates needs for columns below the staircase.

The Anganwadi Toilet

Functions: A mother and child healthcare centre. Its lower floor has the waiting area, Courtyard, health care facilities and public toilets for mothers and children. The upper floor includes crèche, classroom, play area, kitchen and bhojanalaya for children. | Form: A rammed earth building with a central courtyard with a bamboo roof. | Salient features: The building also houses a vegetable garden, waste segregation and manure-making cell and two-wheeler parking.

The Urban Toilet

Functions: A public toilet-cum-plaza. | Form: A rectangular configuration releaseing a triangular plot area as a plaza. The remainder triangle has a large concrete roof with a column-free space underneath, wrapped by an independent concrete skin for light, privacy and ventilation. | Salient features: Using pyrolysis, the toilet converts solid waste to electricity, manure and recycled water.

The Community Toilet

Functions: Children’s play area, women’s gathering space and a provision for celebrating festivals. | Form: Amphitheater above and toilet underneath blends the toilet with the community and eventually, the city. | Salient features: A brick screen that lets the building breathe.

The women-only toilet

Functions: It accommodates public toilets, bathing units, water collection spaces, washing platforms and drying yard along with gathering and working spaces for women’s co-operatives. | Form: Constructed in the load-bearing system. The structure resembles a step-well that cascades down towards a water-tank.| Salient features: The water-tank collects, purifies, and circulates the water to different facilities of the building.

Work in progress

A highway toilet in construction on the Mumbai Eastern Express Highway.

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Lab 14 Sep 2018

Toilet Talk: MAD(E) IN MUMBAI is on a mission to purge the public toilet phobia

Why are public toilets as apathetic? Is it the muck and grime? Can hygiene be addressed with capital, manpower and administration? Perhaps, it is the unimaginative nature of the public toilet that dispirits the custodian or the user to really care about its upkeep. Public toilets are usually rectangular boxes that contain lavatories, urinals and basins. And these boxes are inserted in public places with little thought. What more can be done with public toilets beyond structure, colour, graffiti and art?

Kalpit Ashar and Mayuri Sisodia of MAD(E) IN MUMBAI dived deep into the system of public toilets when they participated in a competition organised by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai seeking design proposals for community toilets in slums. After the competition they worked on 3 public toilet projects on the Mumbai Eastern Express Highway for Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. On the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2017, they were awarded as one of the social innovator by the Prime Minister, Ministry of External Affairs and Niti Aayog. As a part of this event, their work was displayed in Bengaluru wherein the Karnataka IT&BT minister approached them for a woman’s toilet in Gulbarga. These three projects led to a holistic manifesto — The Toilet Manifesto.

The Portable Toilet

Functions: infrastructure for events, public gatherings and calamities. | Form: A kit of parts – can dismantled, folded, stacked and transported by trucks. Each block is modular that multiplies to form various configurations. | Salient features: Recharge by plug-in vans that can empty sludge, recharge water and wash the wall fabric.

The Bus Stop Toilet

Functions: A toilet combined with a bus-stop. | Form: A ferro-cement core block supports a sweeping cantilevered ferro-cement roof. | Salient features: The e-toilet operates by inserting coins with automated flushing and deep cleansing mechanism. Its roof collects rainwater in an underground tank which is reused in the toilet.

The Toilet Manifesto

Kalpit and Mayuri had developed prototypes for community toilets in slums, women’s toilet in rural areas and the highway prototype for Pratha. Beyond individual singular projects they wanted to work on holistic strategies: maintenance models, technologies, hybrid systems, construction means, revenue models etc. that facilitated easy construction and maintenance. These strategies would aid agencies, be it a CSR initiative, an NGO or the government; who are involved and responsible for establishing these toilets. 

The firm’s research and designs manifested into the Toilet Manifesto, a self-initiated exhibition at Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai. They demonstrated 10 types of toilets that facilitate answering nature’s call with ease. The manifesto marries design ideas with government policies and unique characteristics of the places that they are designed for. 

The Highway Toilet

Functions: Amenities – an ATM machine, free WIFI, Shower facility, Changing rooms, mobile charging station, changing station for mothers with infants and a Sanitary napkin dispenser. | Form: A rectangular block with a ‘scooped-out’ central void. | Salient features: A pre-fabricated modules skin that follow the sun-movement and create light-and-shadow patterns within. The structure is a landmark, visible from a distance during the day and night.

The Pavement Toilet

Functions: The toilet is placed under the pavement that continues as street furniture atop the pavement. | Form: Two flights of stairs descend into a sunken courtyard with a tree, flanked by toilet blocks on either side. | Salient features: Each toilet block has a small sunken court that brings sufficient natural light and ventilation within the toilet.

The Park Toilet

Functions: An interphase between the open space and the city. | Form: A wooden skeleton morphs along the open-space edge forming stepped seating, an entrance gate to the park and a bicycle stand. | Salient features: Can be accessed from within and outside the park. The toilet recycles solid waste.

Abiding to travel, commute and mobility is the Railway, Bus Stop, Highway and Pavement toilet. The Urban, Park and Portable Toilet will cater to the public events and gatherings at various locations. The Community, Anganwadi and Women’s-only Toilet are designed bearing in mind requirements and schemes for the rural populace. As the exhibition travelled to Jaipur, the Rajasthan Chief Minister (CM) commissioned them 34 toilet projects in the cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bharatpur, Ajmer, Bikaner and Kota.

Railway Toilet

Functions: Drinking water fountain and food dispenser. | Form: A high-spanning steel arch supports the railway staircase that leads to the overhead crossing bridges. Space underneath the staircase houses the toilets.| Salient features: Eliminates needs for columns below the staircase.

The Anganwadi Toilet

Functions: A mother and child healthcare centre. Its lower floor has the waiting area, Courtyard, health care facilities and public toilets for mothers and children. The upper floor includes crèche, classroom, play area, kitchen and bhojanalaya for children. | Form: A rammed earth building with a central courtyard with a bamboo roof. | Salient features: The building also houses a vegetable garden, waste segregation and manure-making cell and two-wheeler parking.

Beyond individual singular projects they wanted to work on holistic strategies: maintenance models, technologies, hybrid systems, construction means, revenue models etc. that facilitated easy construction and maintenance.

Challenges

A preconceived notion of working on government projects is perhaps bureaucracy and corruption followed by budget constraints. But the architects face no such tribulations. The project has been financed under the ‘Mukhyamantri Budget ghoshana’. The other challenge is dealing with material specification and limitations that are unique to each region. But this little glitch only makes the firm devise newer means to work around them.

The last is the one of communicating with local contractors who are not in immediate contact with the architects. And then comes the common trouble of constant follow-up with everyone; from the client to the contractor for work being efficiently finished onsite. Can these actually hinder or stop works? Not really, they believe.

The Urban Toilet

Functions: A public toilet-cum-plaza. | Form: A rectangular configuration releaseing a triangular plot area as a plaza. The remainder triangle has a large concrete roof with a column-free space underneath, wrapped by an independent concrete skin for light, privacy and ventilation. | Salient features: Using pyrolysis, the toilet converts solid waste to electricity, manure and recycled water.

The Community Toilet

Functions: Children’s play area, women’s gathering space and a provision for celebrating festivals. | Form: Amphitheater above and toilet underneath blends the toilet with the community and eventually, the city. | Salient features: A brick screen that lets the building breathe.

The next stroke of genius

The toilet seat or commode, the shower and bathtubs – these are places where mortals have been struck by genius ideas. Isn’t the toilet pot the one place where you are truly alone with your thoughts? A place to solve the crossword or just scroll through your phone before the day begins. And why can’t this luxury, even for a few minutes, extend to public toilets? If only, for a moment, public toilets could become slightly more than just a toilet.

The women-only toilet

Functions: It accommodates public toilets, bathing units, water collection spaces, washing platforms and drying yard along with gathering and working spaces for women’s co-operatives. | Form: Constructed in the load-bearing system. The structure resembles a step-well that cascades down towards a water-tank.| Salient features: The water-tank collects, purifies, and circulates the water to different facilities of the building.

Work in progress

A highway toilet in construction on the Mumbai Eastern Express Highway.

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