Acclaimed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has created a glass-enclosed public toilet that lets its occupant enjoy the outdoors while going to the bathroom. No, it's no joke: the public toilet is a sit-down toilet and wash basin enclosed completely in glass. The four walls are clear, see-through glass.
The toilet is located at the Itabu train station in the town of Ichihara, east of Tokyo, Japan. The station is famous for its cherry blossoms and natural beauty, so in 2012, when the Ichihara City officials wanted to prepare the town for an art festival, they decided to "upgrade" their public lavatory. At that time, the oilet toilet available to tourists were botton benjo, unattractive and old-fashioned pit toilets.
The city commissioned Fujimoto, who won international acclaim for his work on the "21st century Oasis" tower in Taiwan, to create a unique public toilet. "I thought it would be quite interesting. Public lavatories are something both private and public, so designing them can be a very motivating challenge for architects," Fujimoto told Japan Times, "I was also enthusiastic about the fact that Itabu Station is surrounded by such wonderful wildlife. I thought it was a great opportunity to rethink the relationship between architecture and nature."
Fujimoto came up with this: a garden toilet, or technically, a toilet with a garden as the entire 200 m2 (2,150 square feet) space is considered the lavatory. The toilet-with-a-view lets the occupant gaze at the surrounding garden while going to the bathroom, while a 2 m (6-foot) tall fence keeps people from looking in. It's the largest public bathroom in the world, according to Ichihara city officials.
The project, which cost the city ¥10 million (about $124,000 back then), has been criticized by some as being a waste of public money, but the city's tourism board defended it as a tourist attraction as well as a functioning toilet.
The glass box toilet is currently for ladies use only, though that may change in the future. And for those who prefer to go to the bathroom in a far more private mode, there is a conventional toilet right outside of this unique lavatory.