Beijing Public Toilets


130913 Beijing Washrooms 370 Tile 22 Re-render day side more transparentA unique public toilet in the Hutong Area next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The concept was created to fit around an existing site that was de-commissioned due to ill repair some years earlier. Traditionally, the entire neighbourhood would rely on such facilities as the local housing was created without toilets which gives context to the historical significance of this site.

It was important to consider several important aspects, not only is the site within walking distance of one of China’s most important cultural sites, Tiananmen Square, it is also sandwiched within the classic stone work of basic local housing. The tudio developed the concept to reflect these two extremes.

Michael Young 的工作室为北京天安门广场旁边的一条胡同里设计了一个独特的公用厕所其概念产生是为了建造一个已存在却因为几年前的维护问题而被拆掉的公厕,并且这个公厕还需要融入周边的居住环境。从传统意义上来说,这里整条胡同的居民都住在没有私人卫生间的房子里,所以建造这样一个公用厕所的重要性是之前从未体现过的。

在设计这个公厕的时候我们需要考虑许多方面, 不仅仅在于(人们)步行即可从天安门广场 – 中国最重要的文化景点之一到达,同时也要考虑到这个公厕周围的传统的建筑环境。我们尽力将这个设计的理念体现在这两个极端方面。


130913 Beijing Washrooms 370 Tile 33 re-render

“We anticipated that there could be need to apply this concept to other buildings of differing proportion, thus we had to examine two important challenges in the structure. Firstly, we needed to make the interior of the toilets a solid and functional environment, one that is built into the ground and is strong and long lasting. One must not ignore that a classic toilet would be five holes in the ground with no flushing or partitions – our consideration was to offer an improved quality of life through the addition of drainage and privacy”

– Michael Young

This simple interior structure leads the way to easy cleaning, air flow and management of the industrial aspects that are housed such as power terminals and drainage.





The solution to the second challenge was to cover the toilet with a framework made up of glass tiles; a covering that was not over-designed, was easy to construct in the limited space, and also didn’t try to compete visually with the building.

“It would have been simple to use this briefing to become a pseudo architect, so instead we used our experience within industrial and interior design to create an awning that we felt would be dutiful, a structure which must consider not only light and airflow for locality but also show respect for history and future application.”

  – Michael Young

It is for this reason the studio developed a tiling system that would not only reflect the architecture of the local Hutong area but also bring a fresh point of view to creating structures that offer protection from both the sun and the rain. The tiles are designed to deflect both light and rain and the material offers inherent insulation to assist with the extreme temperatures experienced in the city between summer and winter.

我们决定将这间公厕在有限的空间中用很简单的框架遮盖住,当然我们这样做不仅仅只是为了好看。这种事情虽然说来很简单,然而我们凭借自己的在工业与室内设计经验,打造出了这个让我们觉得不仅仅只是关于光与空气流动,更多是关于尊重历史与未来的建筑。这对我们来说是一种责任。正因如此,我们也设计了一个新型的瓦片结构 – 不仅仅呼应了胡同中的建筑风貌,同时也能阻挡烈阳和雨水。除此之外,这样的瓦片设计也能在极端天气下保证公厕内的温度在正常范围内。