Rest and Relaxation: In Amritsar, R+D Studio builds a climate and socially responsible public washroom

DEC 11, 2023 | By Namrata Dewanjee
The artistic and playful design approach challenges the traditional notions of a public washroom; Photography by Suryan and Dang
TOILET 01 in Amritsar, Punjab is India’s first completely recyclable restroom; Photography by Suryan and Dang
The project exemplifies the power of conscientious design in addressing urban challenges; Photography by Suryan and Dang

Beyond the concerns of sanitation in lavatories, the lack of safety and privacy hinders many citizens, especially women, from participating in public life even in major cities. Often designed as an afterthought and tucked away in secluded spots away from sightlines, the perception of a public restroom is shrouded in negative connotations.

However, the TOILET 01 project spearheaded by R+D Studio in Amritsar, Punjab challenges these notions and presents a new model for how thoughtful design of urban infrastructure can aid social wellbeing while creating minimal impact on the climate.

TOILET 01 by R+D Studio in Amritsar, Punjab is the perfect blend of sustainable construction and thoughtful design; Photography by Suryan and Dang

Funded by Ruhani Verma, a student of Jayshree Periwal International School, Jaipur, this unprecedented design offers a glimpse into the possibilities of using alternative materials in crafting efficient and climate-conscious solutions to urgent urban issues. At the core of the project lies the ingenious use of recyclable materials including Silica Composite Blocks, PVC pipes and MS angles. The Silica Composite Blocks created from plastic waste and foundry dust is a game changer in the arena of climate-conscious construction practices — addressing environmental concerns and contributing to a closed-loop recycling system. 

This innovative choice of materials sets a precedent for environmentally responsible design without compromising on durability and functionality. Additionally, the construction system of each module is simple enough to be easily assembled or dismantled as required.

The Silica Composite Blocks (SCB) used in the project are created from plastic waste and foundry dust; Photography by Suryan and Dang


Each restroom module can be assembled and dismantled with ease; Photography by Suryan and Dang

The TOILET 01 project transcends mere utility and offers a glimpse into how mindful design can elevate everyday experiences. Painted in vibrant colours, the restroom module sports an inviting facade with playful yet clear gender signage. The design approach also contributes to the conversation about how public art can help create a sense of ownership and in turn, make a more inclusive and accessible environment.

A well-designed restroom makes a public space accessible and inclusive; Photography by Suryan and Dang

This mould-breaking restroom module stands as a beacon of change, heralding a paradigm shift not just in the way we view public washrooms but also paves the way for sustainable construction practices. TOILET 01 is a testament to the use of circular economy principles, where the waste generated in the pursuit of development in our cities becomes a vital resource in providing welfare to its people through design. 

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