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Atelier Scale：The “Mountain Restroom” in Kunyu Mountain National Nature Reserve is not only an architecture but also a design method, which is used to guide the design and construction of toilets in the nature reserve. Ever since the Mountain Restroom was built, it has been quietly accompanying tourists in the mountain. This year, the Mountain Restroom has a new companion: “Creek Restroom”.
▽位于自然保护区内高山植物园的“山之厕” The “Mountain Toilet” located in the Alpine Botanical Garden in the nature reserve
▽从植物园栈道上看向“山之厕” Looking towards the “Mountain Toilet” from the plank road in the Botanical Garden
▽藏于森林中的“谷之厕” “Valley Toilet” hidden in the forest
▽从森林里看向交叠错落的屋顶 Overlapping rooftops seen from the forest
破渠还谷 Converting Concrete Ditch to Natural Creek
In English-speaking society, a toilet is often referred to as a “restroom”, insinuating that it is a place for rest. Therefore, instead of designing the toilet building, we decided to create a graceful and restful place in dialogue with nature, specifically within this environmental sensitive place.
Creek Restroom is placed next to a hardened drainage concrete ditch. We planned to dismantle the said ditch and restore it to a natural, seasonal creek. Meanwhile, a bridge was built over the creek to provide a “ritual” walk experience for tourists before entering the restroom. We believe an interesting restroom design could change the way people use restroom, sometimes the perception of using restroom.
▽现状被硬化的排水沟渠 Current hardened drainage ditches
▽改造后的自然溪谷，呈现季节性的丰、枯水状态 The transformed natural valley presents seasonal high and low water conditions
▽“谷之厕”与自然溪谷剖面图 “Valley Toilet” and natural valley profile
▽游客以“过桥”的方式进入“谷之厕” Tourists enter the “Valley Toilet” by “crossing the bridge”
▽掩映于林下的以砾石为铺地的林荫前场 Gravel-lined forecourt hidden in the undergrowth
谷上院落 Courtyard on the Creek
Crossing the ditch, the site for our restroom is a terrace formed by messy stone walls, and we made proper adjustments of the terrace for the new restroom. With the sub-terraces of the architecture, we were able to hide the stiff walls and create richer facades. The restroom was built with light steel frame structure, in order to minimize intervention of the ground.
▽现状杂乱的石磊台地 The Shilei Terrace with the current situation is chaotic
▽在建中的轻钢结构体系 Light steel structure system under construction
▽丰富的院落立面 Rich courtyard facade
▽建筑与山体紧紧依偎在一起 The building and the mountain are tightly nestled together
Similar to the Mountain Restroom, the Creek Restroom is a courtyard built along the changes of terrain. Crossing the bridge are two viewing platforms for tourists to take a rest. For better protecting privacy, women’s rooms were located at the higher section of the courtyard. Although each restroom in the mountain is different due to distinct terrains, it is derived from the same series of modules. Based on the modular system of the Mountain Restroom, we optimized the modules of the Creek Restroom in details, including roof drainage, eave waterproofing, door frame weight, among others.
▽谷之厕”平面 Toilet in the Valley” plan
▽院落根据山势呈微微上扬之势 The courtyard shows a slight upward trend according to the mountain
▽因院落的上扬而表现丰富的屋脊轮廓 The rich outline of the roof due to the rising of the courtyard
▽庭院内的竖向变化 Vertical change in the courtyard
▽“谷之厕”的六个单体模块 Six individual modules of “Valley Toilet”
▽单体模块室内磨砂玻璃与小枝同时使用的光影效果 The light and shadow effect of frosted glass and twigs in the interior of a single module
▽模块单体分解轴侧图 Axonometric diagram of module monomer decomposition
认同与归属 Identity and Belonging
The design method used in the Mountain Restroom and the Creek Restroom shows different layout and shape characteristics according to the tourist flow and the terrain conditions of the sites. The infrastructure built according to this system has been gradually shaping a distinct sense of identity and belonging for the reserve and making the visitors feel the sincerity of the reserve in improving service facilities. Through 2-3 years observation, we found that the goal of design was achieved – going to restroom gracefully. Not only our client have well maintained the restrooms, but also visitors have paid more attention to their behavior and the environment surrounding the restroom.
▽“山之厕”（左）与“谷之厕”（右）布局比较 Comparison of the layout of “Mountain Toilet” (left) and “Valley Toilet” (right)
▽因地制宜的“山之厕”设计方法 The design method of “mountain toilet” according to local conditions
Atelier Scale is now deepening the design of the other two fellows of the Mountain Restroom and the Creek Restroom: the Forest Restroom and the Ridge Restroom. At the same time, other public facilities in Kunyu Mountain Nature Reserve are being built one after another, including the “Mountain Stations” we designed. With these infrastructures being gradually completed, the reserve is sure to present a more unified and energetic image to the public.
▽“山之车站”——红松林站点 “Mountain Station” – Red Pine Forest Station
▽ “山之车站”——植物园站点 “Station on the Hill” – Botanical Garden Site
▽2022年初雪 Early snow in 2022
Design Name: The Creek Restroom
Project Name: Kunyu Mountain National Nature Reserve Restroom Project
Project Location: Yantai, China
Architecture Design: Atelier Scale
Design Team: Huicheng Zhong, Bingxing Lin, Zhihua Chen, Xing Ye
Construction Supervisor: Zhihua Chen,
Client: Kunyu Mountain National Park Management Committee
Construction Contractor: Shandong Yaxia Engineering Ltd.
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