Dubai: Using public restrooms is always a cause for anxiety – you never know what condition you’ll find it in until it’s too late. Unless you are in Tokyo that is.
As party of the Japan city’s Toilet Project, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban designed two public toilets that allow the potential user to see through walls and into the state of things inside.
The cubicles in public parks are designed using cheerful colours such as blue and green. They are also completely transparent. Before you scoff at the facilities however, there’s something you need to know. Once the bathroom is occupied, the cabin turns opaque – this is not a toilet for a voyeur, simply an innovation to aid the unsuspecting.
The loos, constructed in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park and the Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park, have glass-tinted rooms that allow a quick assessment of the facilities and whether they are in use and - whatever the intention – hold each user to account, for any littering can immediately spotted by people outside.
"There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park," Ban says on the project's website.
"The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether anyone is inside," the architect continued. "Using the latest technology, the exterior glass turns opaque when locked."
"This allows users to check the cleanliness and whether anyone is using the toilet from the outside. At night, the facility lights up the park like a beautiful lantern."
Each facility has three cubicles.
This project is part of an initiative by the non-profit Nippon Foundation to redesign public toilets in 17 areas in Shibuya, Tokyo.