Tokinokura Lavatories Shimodate
by Shuichiro Yoshida Architects


Tokyo studio Shuichiro Yoshida Architects have completed a tall narrow toilet block in Chikusei City, Japan.  

Called Tokinokura Lavatories Shimodate, the double-height structure contains one wash basin and two cubicles.

Triangular panels in the ends and one side of the upper section are glazed, while wooden beams support the sloping roof.

The new building was constructed alongside a stone former storage building, now used as the headquarters of a volunteer group.

Photographs are by Sadamu Saito.

The information below is from the architects:

Tokinokura lavatories Shimodate

The project is located in Chikusei City in Ibaraki Prefecture, approximately 60km north-east from Tokyo in Japan. In this region, there are historical storage buildings of stone since early 20th century, although the most of these buildings, called “Ishi-Kura” in Japanese, were demolished and disappeared from the townscape due to the city development after the World War II.

A volunteer group in the region obtained one of the storage buildings and maintains it as their activity base for discovering the region-specific historical and cultural heritages. The building is named as Tokinokura, which means a storage persists in past and future.

Although Tokinokura is in good condition and useful for the volunteer group, there was no lavatories for the visitors and staffs. In autumn 2008, the group organized a public design competition for the lavatories, which they desired for long time. This design was selected out of 76 applied design proposals and constructed in Feburary – May 2009.

This small lavatories building includes two booths for men and women. Although the floor area is only 8.62㎡, there is rich space above the booths. It is intended that the lavatories starts new history with Tokinokura. It means not only to preserve the region-specific landscape but also to create new landscape in future. Visitors in the lavatory booth could experience quiet and rich feeling, enjoying the soft light from the upper window and the framed view of the old stone wall of Tokinokura.


Interior Wall finish: White plasterer finish of Japanese traditional material called “Shikkui” which has humid conditioning and fire prevention. Many traditional, important architecture as Temple, Shrine, Castle in Japan finished this material on their walls.
Ceiling finish: Structural plywood painted and structure beam of laminated timber
Floor finish: mortar finish with clear painted
Exterior wall finish: Black and elastic plasterer finish coordinating with the surrounding landscape.
Approach floor finish: White granite stone like the back wall material of Tokinokura.
Roof and window frame: Barium steel gull with black printing painted like the materials of covered wall in neighbor storage.

Posted on Monday March 1st 2010 at 12:15 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • geronimo

    I like the idea of the mirrow. u see the hands of the person on the other side, but u see no face – very terrific:)))! kinda sizzling, u kinda wanna know to which person these hands belong to:)))!

  • Song

    Female and male they can see each other?

  • George D

    Love it. Saw this on Weheart last week, if only all lavatories looked this good.

  • gdr

    only in the wash area, the stalls have doors

  • I think it is lovely concept and very well presented, but I also think that the users would prefer a bit more “sound proof” toilets especially when the male and female spaces are combined.

  • gab xiao

    wow!!!! very sexy loo!!!!

  • martin

    Excelente, Aunque el edificio viejo es mucho mejor je

  • jacob

    …if you look in the 3rd image, you can see that the door in front of each toilet closes, giving the person privacy. nice solution

  • The mirrors are my fav !

  • rib

    i personally hate the ceiling ,and the windows on top . best thing about it is the mirror i suppose

  • NICO

    This small project is damn sexy and the photo angles are great too! Love the detailing and the proportions

  • How incredibly simple! And effective.
    I love the treatment of the clerestory as a glass V, very modern and distinct.
    I wonder, if the ceiling had been coated in a reflective surface, you would be able to see the wall of the older building.

  • tk

    Simple, Elegant, Sexy.
    Love It.

  • very nice! I may have to add this to the list…

  • It’s excellent to see a good design get such unanimous favor from the testy dezeen crowd (and I’m as testy as anyone). Clearly there’s a hunger for beautifully designed toilets. We spend time there, why shouldn’t they be gorgeous?

  • angry catalan

    Good one, I’m not sure about the white plaster vs stone, but still it’s a nice building, a nice object and a nice alley too.

  • how magnificent! love the way the positioning of the mirror creates a spatial illusion.

  • xtiaan

    can the japanese design anything that isnt beautiful?

  • JuanMa

    La solución me parece acertada, pero …
    Por que no se ha tenido en cuenta al colectivo de discapacitados?
    Segun la información gráfica que observo, NO DISPONEN DE SITIO PARA UTILIZAR ESTA INSTALACION.

  • great shu!!!!! I like your work!