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User feedback session in Bhubaneswar

The process for a project as large-scale as this, started with 8 months of research to understand the functions and experience of a sanitation facility in a slum.

Typical User flow and design consideration

The team analysed how much time, and therefore how much space each of the typical user`s activities would need to be allotted.

User experience blueprint

A sanitation facility in a slum is usually much more than just toilets; it could include everything from brushing area, to bathing areas.

Ergonomics for special needs

The facility includes a disabled-friendly access as well as ergonomically constructed seats for children and the differently abled.

Post defecation ablution

The facility is equipped with a large water storage unit, along with a wastewater disposal system.

Toilet and bath stalls

Each toilet stall has been furnished with affordances for hanging clothes, water conserving flushes, non-slip floors, dustbins and communication tools such as posters have been used to spread awareness on health and hygiene practices.

The plan

The research led to the formulation of the facility design, communication design, a business model, and a strategy for operation & maintenance.

From ideas to reality

Project Sammaan aimed to build 87 sanitation facilities in Bhubaneswar in 2012–2013, including 60 community toilets and 27 public toilets.

Set on the first site

The pilot cities being Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, both tier-2 cities, the project aimed to develop a sustainable and efficient sanitation prototype for urban slums.

An array of facilities

Anagram Architects` proposal has been developed after a substantial amount of research and is therefore, a user-centred model that’s also sustainable in terms of operations and management.

Inside the toilet block

"The toilet designs and the design toolkit (framed in 2014) have scored exceptionally well against the Swachh Bharat guidelines launched by the Government of India, in 2015.”

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Workspace 22 Aug 2018

Toilet Talk: Designed by Anagram Architects, Project Sammaan rethinks community toilets in Odisha’s slums

According to Times of India, there are reportedly 309 slums in Cuttack, and only 57 public toilets. 4 out of 10 people in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar reside in slums. The lack of sanitation facilities leads to many people defecating in the open and living in highly unhygienic environments. Owing to these alarming numbers, the Bhubaneswar and Cuttack Municipal Corporations took on the responsibility of changing and creating more, and better, public toilets for the urban poor. CQ speaks to Anagram Architects about Project Samman, and their design proposal that impacts over 60,000 people’s sanitation situation.

Project Samman

Project Sammaan was initiated in 2012, by the  Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Born from the insights from the ‘Potty Project’ in 2010–2011, Project Sammaan took a step towards tackling the urgent need for a better sanitation system. BMC, CMC and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with Quicksand Design Studio to design the scheme. Quicksand in turn, appointed Anagram Architects to lead the architectural design services and Codesign to work on identity and communication design. 

The pilot cities being Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, both tier-2 cities, the project aimed to develop a sustainable and efficient sanitation prototype for urban slums. Project Sammaan aimed to build 87 sanitation facilities in Bhubaneswar in 2012–2013, including 60 community toilets and 27 public toilets.

The Research & Analysis stage

The process for a project as large-scale as this, started with 8 months of research to understand the functions and experience of a sanitation facility in a slum. A sanitation facility in a slum is usually much more than just toilets; it could include everything from brushing area, to bathing areas. Another aspect of the research was the people and their behaviour – how they think, how they would use a space, what they need in terms of sanitation.

User feedback session in Bhubaneswar

The process for a project as large-scale as this, started with 8 months of research to understand the functions and experience of a sanitation facility in a slum.

Typical User flow and design consideration

The team analysed how much time, and therefore how much space each of the typical user`s activities would need to be allotted.

The team, from Anagram Architects and Quicksand Design Studio, analysed the various activities that the toilet facility was required to accommodate, such as brushing, defecation, washing clothes, bathing, washing hands, administration and queuing. They also analysed how much time, and therefore how much space each of these activities would need to be allotted. Their research led to the formulation of the facility design, communication design, a business model, and a strategy for operation & maintenance.

User experience blueprint

A sanitation facility in a slum is usually much more than just toilets; it could include everything from brushing area, to bathing areas.

Ergonomics for special needs

The facility includes a disabled-friendly access as well as ergonomically constructed seats for children and the differently abled.

A sanitation facility in a slum is usually much more than just toilets; it could include everything from brushing area, to bathing areas.

The Facility Design

The toilet has separate entries for men and women, as well as segregated areas for queues. The entry to each of the zones had a spitting trough, for spitting paan (chewing on betel leaves, a common habit), as well as for brushing. Each section (men’s and women’s) has special bathing cubicles, areas to wash one’s hands and feet, and an allocated space for washing clothes. Each toilet stall has been furnished with affordances for hanging clothes, water conserving flushes, non-slip floors, dustbins and communication tools such as posters have been used to spread awareness on health and hygiene practices. The bath stalls too, have shelves, hooks and dustbins.

Post defecation ablution

The facility is equipped with a large water storage unit, along with a wastewater disposal system.

Toilet and bath stalls

Each toilet stall has been furnished with affordances for hanging clothes, water conserving flushes, non-slip floors, dustbins and communication tools such as posters have been used to spread awareness on health and hygiene practices.

The facility is equipped with a large water storage unit, along with a wastewater disposal system. The administrative block overlooks both the men’s and women’s areas and has store rooms and a living quarter for one on-duty staff. The facility includes a disabled-friendly access as well as ergonomically constructed seats for children and the differently abled.

The plan

The research led to the formulation of the facility design, communication design, a business model, and a strategy for operation & maintenance.

Anagram Architects' proposal has been developed after a substantial amount of research and is therefore, a user-centred model that’s also sustainable in terms of operations and management.

Constructed out of laterite stone, concrete and zincalume sheets, all of the materials were locally sourced and considered to be robust. The ceramic tiles and textured cement surfaces make the toilet easy to clean. The construction techniques employed were low-skill so as to enable quick replacement if anything gets damaged and reduce the cost of maintenance.

From ideas to reality

Project Sammaan aimed to build 87 sanitation facilities in Bhubaneswar in 2012–2013, including 60 community toilets and 27 public toilets.

Set on the first site

The pilot cities being Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, both tier-2 cities, the project aimed to develop a sustainable and efficient sanitation prototype for urban slums.

Is there a sanitized tomorrow for the urban poor?

Anagram Architects' proposal has been developed after a substantial amount of research and is therefore, a user-centred model that’s also sustainable in terms of operations and management. With a business model in place, and the management of the facilities overseen by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and the Cuttack Municipal Corporation, we could actually be looking at more dignified sanitation facilities for the slums that’s practical and implementable.The project, formulated in 2012, has completed the construction of 57 units as of 2018.

An array of facilities

Anagram Architects` proposal has been developed after a substantial amount of research and is therefore, a user-centred model that’s also sustainable in terms of operations and management.

Inside the toilet block

"The toilet designs and the design toolkit (framed in 2014) have scored exceptionally well against the Swachh Bharat guidelines launched by the Government of India, in 2015.”

But does the strife to create better sanitation end at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack? As Madhav Raman, the lead at Anagram Architects, says, “As an endorsement of the quality of the research-led designs, the toilet designs and the design toolkit (framed in 2014) have scored exceptionally well against the Swachh Bharat guidelines launched by the Government of India, in 2015.” The designs are indeed being adapted by other urban local bodies across Odisha and other cities too. While we are hopeful, whether there is a sanitized future for India’s urban poor or not, is a question only time can answer.

Find out more about Project Sammaan. Also check out Anagram Architects’ new and upcoming work.