Tom Wilkinson's stories
The incorporation of a toilet into the memorial for a beloved public figure is a delicate matter, and one that fully justifies a revival of the otherwise tediously prudish British tradition of the subterranean lav. Here, however, the monument takes the form of a children’s playground inspired by Peter Pan, incorporating wigwams and a pirate ship, and the toilets are accordingly anything but po-faced. Rising from the landscaping (designed by Land Use Consultants), a grassy mound covers ...
Typology: Public toiletSubscription
From the pissoir to the sanisette, from the communal to the stand-alone pod, from male to female provision, a rich seam of history runs through toilets
Women’s Toilet in Thane, India by Rohan ChavanSubscription
The lack of toilet provision in developing countries is not limited to India, but it is here that it is most dire, and perhaps most detrimental to women. The scandalous sexual abuse suffered by Indian women, which has recently received much attention from Western media, frequently occurs while they are trying to relieve themselves in the open air. The government and NGOs have made many attempts to ameliorate the problem, with varying degrees of failure. In the large city of Thane, a ...
The symbolic or signifying functions of the public toilet are usually secondary, at the most speaking of civic generosity, or, more accidentally, of meanness and neglect. But why shouldn’t the smallest room commune with the cosmos, as in this public lavatory on the Japanese island of Ibukijima? Taking its cue from the sliced spaces of Daniel Libeskind, the structure – which appears similar to other local houses from the outside – is divided by imaginary lines stretching out beyond the ...
Franz Hessel’s 1920s guide to Berlin, translated into English for the first time, is a melancholy guidebook to a since vanished city
El Lissitzky (1890-1941)Subscription
El Lissitzsky’s utopian vision of revolution is a legacy that resonates today
Sacred lair of the commodity, its mysteries veiled by plate glass: who can resist the lure of the shop?
Crystal Houses in Amsterdam by MVRDVSubscription
‘Over an old Flemish house there stands the mystical inscription: “there is more within me”.’ So wrote Georg Simmel in 1904, referring to the way that fashion allows us to simultaneously express and mask our individuality. He incidentally makes a connection between fashion and the facade, one which, though suppressed in architectural discourse, always lies very close to the surface, as Mark Wigley has shown. The facade hides the interior, but also expresses something about the building. ...
Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice by OMASubscription
Remodelling an ancient institution at the foot of the Rialto Bridge
The accommodation of retail space within former domestic space presents several problems. The facade is one, another is circulation. Here, in an old house in Ghent, local architects de Vylder Vinck Taillieu had to deal with the quandary of a narrow original staircase that was unfit according to local fire regulations, and yet was to be retained for aesthetic reasons. Their solution was to construct an entirely new staircase on the back of the building, an irregular zigzagging volume ...