Insight & Analysis

Transparent toilets?

Published: Aug 2020

Would you use a public toilet with transparent walls? What about if we told you they were ‘smart’ walls?

Glass ceiling structure

A new set of public toilets has made the news several times in the past few weeks, but not for anything bad. Their drawing feature is that the walls are transparent.

Installed at Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park and Haru-no-Ogawa Community and designed by Shigeru Ban Architects as part of The Nippon Foundation’s Tokyo Toilet Project, the walls turn opaque when someone enters and locks the door.

The intention of the design is to allow those in need of the facilities to quickly determine their cleanliness and whether or not they are already occupied. “There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park,” the Tokyo Toilet Project’s website states. “The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether anyone is inside.”

At night, the facilities light up “like a beautiful lantern”.

Users have said remembering to lock the doors is of extra importance, as someone inside the facility can’t tell if the walls are transparent or frosted opaque glass.

An innovative – and apparently beautiful – new feature!

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