• The Financial District


The trouble with public toilets is partly an image problem - with people fearing that they are dirty, smelly and perhaps a little seedy sometimes, too, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported late on August 25, 2020.

Now, Japan's star architect Shigeru Ban has set out to fix all that with a revolutionary approach: making public toilets literally transparent.

The new structures are already on show in Shibuya, a trendy part of Tokyo. When they are not locked, the toilets' glass walls, in pretty pastel colors, are transparent, meaning the clean white toiletsand sinks can be clearly seen by all. Once the doors are locked, however, the glass becomes opaque, thanks to smart walls powered by electricity.

The new structures are part of a project called the Tokyo Toilet, run by the Nippon Foundation and the hope is to make toilets a place of calm and quiet. "There are two things we are concerned about when entering a public toilet, especially if it is in a park. The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether someone is inside," Ban writes on the project website. He is one of 16 artists who support the project, including two other world-famous architects, Tadao Ando and Kengo Kuma. What if there's a power cut, though, you may wonder? Have no fear, the project managers assure you if the power fails, whatever happens, no one will be able to see inside.

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@2020 by The Financial District