Strange bedfellows


Future Flush: Eco-Social Infrastructure for Emergent Public Space

Liz Diller

This project works between infrastructural, architectural, and bodily scales to propose a reinvented concept for the public bathroom, situated in the space of a car lane on our near-future urban streets, where autonomous vehicles will fundamentally change the choreography of the street, and where the former spaces of the car are being tested for new programmatic possibilities.

Focusing on Midtown Manhattan as a case study, where the need for public utilities is especially visible, the urban proposition requires an expanded yet carefully calibrated composition of bodily care programs: washing, expulsion, grooming, baby care, ablution and prayer, cooking, delivery points, digital connectivity, shelter, and shade. Recognizing that the history of the public bathroom is one of disinvestment and privatization, the material and economic cycling required to sustain the project in a primarily off-grid manner is calibrated at the scale of an architectural prototype. The case study prototype elaborates on the street presence and material assemblage of the proposition, taking the project to the scale of the room, the body, and the fixture, detailed in a way that is mass-producible and customizable, much like a car.

The project plays on notions of efficiency to reinvent existing elements – a sink built into a door, a bench warmed by waste heat, furniture shared through a privacy screen. Between spaces and functions, the project looks to twist the legacy of efficiency to provoke small social moments. These custom fixtures produce double functions towards a consciousness of other bodies; actants and agents of change to move the legacy of the public bathroom away from shame and abjection, towards dignity and sharing and an expanded idea of comfort in public.

Future Flush



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The Public Bathroom

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Contact Information:

Kaitlin Faherty

Email: /

Instagram: @trynotoblink



Key References:

Chou, Julie, Kevin Gurley, and Boyeong Hong. The Need for Public Bathrooms. Urban Design Forum, 2020. Available Online:

Chou, Julie, Kevin Gurley, and Boyeong Hong. “Where are the Public Bathrooms in New York City?”. Urban Omnibus, 2020. Available Online:

Kallipoliti, Lydia. The Architecture of Closed Worlds, or, What is the Power of Shit?. Zürich, Switzerland: Lars Müller, 2018. Print.

Kira, Alexander. The Bathroom, Criteria for Design. Ithaca, N.Y.: Center for Housing and Environmental Studies, Cornell University, 1966. Print.

Koolhaas, Rem, James Westcott, Stephan Petermann and Stephan Truby ed.. Elements of Architecture, “Toilet”. Koln, Germany: Taschen, 2018. Print.

Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay On Abjection. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. Print.

Laport, Dominique. History of Shit. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000. Print.

Molotch, Harvey, and Laura Noren, eds.. Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing. NYU Press, 2010. Available Online:

Sanders, Joel. “Architectural History” on Stalled!. Online:

Sanders, Joel et. al. Stalled!

Sedlak, David L., Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. Print.


Additional References:

Carruthers, David and Molly Wallace eds. Perma/culture: imagining alternatives in an age of crisis. London ; New York : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018. Print.

Cheatle, Emma. Part-architecture: the Maison de Verre, Duchamp, Domesticity and Desire in 1930s Paris. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2017. Print.

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, and Lowell Duckert. “Compost” and “Seep” in Veer Ecology: A Companion for Environmental Thinking. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2017. Print.

Eisenstein, Charles. Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, & Society in the Age of Transition. Berkeley, Calif.: Evolver Editions, 2011. Print.

Marot, Sebastien. Taking the Country’s Side: Agriculture and Architecture. Barcelona: Polígrafa, 2019. Print.

Mollison, Bill and Reny Mia Slay. Introduction to Permaculture. Tyalgum, Australia: Tagari Publications, 1994. Print. 

Mouffe, Chantal. Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically. London: Verso, 2013. Print.

Smil, Vaclav. Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the transformation of world food production. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2001. Print.

Yong, Ed. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. New York, NY: Ecco, 2016. Print.


Bathroom Books & Essays:

Davis, Alexander K.. Bathroom Battlegrounds: How Public Restrooms Shape the Gender Order. University of California Press, 2020. Available Online:

Lupton, Ellen and J. Abbot Miller. The Bathroom, the Kitchen, and the Aesthetics of Waste: a Process of Elimination. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT List Visual Arts Center ; New York, NY : Distributed by Princeton Architectural Press, 1992. Print. 

Cavanagh, Sheila L.. Queering bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination. Toronto ; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2010. Print.

Wright, Lawrence. Clean and decent; the fascinating history of the bathroom & the water closet, and sundry habits, fashions & accessories of the toilet, principally in Great Britain, France & America. New York: Viking Press, 1960. Print.

Blumenthal, Dara. Little vast rooms of undoing : exploring identity and embodiment through public toilet spaces. London; New York : Rowman & Littlefield International, Ltd., 2014. Print. 

Douglas, Mary. PURITY AND DANGER : AN ANALYSIS OF CONCEPTS OF POLLUTION AND TABOO. London: Ark Paperbacks, 1984, c1966. Print.

Molotch, Harvey and Laura Norén, eds. Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing. New York : New York University Press, c2010. Print. 

Kramer, Sibylle. Bathrooms and sanitation: principles, design, implementation. Print.

Lowe, Lezlie. No place to go : how public toilets fail our private needs. Toronto, ON : Coach House Books, 2018. Print. 

Jenkins, Joseph. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure. Joseph Jenkins, 1966. Print.

Wright, Lawrence, Clean and Decent: The Fascinating History of the Bathroom & the Water Closet, and of Sundry Habits, Fashions & Accessories of the Toilet, Principally In Great Britain, France, & America. London: Routledge & Paul, 1960.

Hoagland, Alison K., The Bathroom: A Social History of Cleanliness and the Body. Santa Barbara, California : Greenwood, 2018. Print.


Bathroom Articles:

Penner, Barbara. ““We shall deal here with humble things”,” Places Journal, November 2012. Accessed 03 Sep 2020.

Colomina, Beatriz and Mark Wigley. Toilet Architecture: An Essay About the Most Psychosexually Charged Room in a Builidng. 2018.

Disappearing Public Toilets, Public Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic. May 2020.

Stalled: Gender-Neutral Public Bathrooms. 2016.

Jaglarz, Anna. (2014) The Evolution of Public Hygiene and Sanitary Facilities in the Context of Urbanization Processes and Social Conditions. In: Stephanidis C., Antona M. (eds) Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Design for All and Accessibility Practice. UAHCI 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8516. Springer, Cham.

Langergraber, Gunter and Elke Muellegger. Ecological Sanitation–a way to solve global sanitation problems?


Kimmel, Ashley. Poo and You: NEW INSTALLATION REUSES HUMAN WASTE. 2019.

Blau, Reuven. No Bathroom Relief in Sight for Thousands Living on the Streets. 2020.

Zizek, Slavoj. “Toilets and Ideology,”; The Plague of Fantasies (London: 2008) pp. 4-5. Online.


Bathroom Projects & Precedents:

Tokyo Toilet –

New Yorkers for Public Bathrooms –

Clark, Noelene. Seattle’s $5 million automated public toilets sold for $12,000. 2008.

Facility Magazine.



EOOS Laufen Source Separating Toilet

Droog Silicone Flexible Sink Basin –

Blue Diversion Toilet –


Covid-19 & Bathrooms:

NY Times. “Flushing the Toilet May Fling Coronavirus Aerosols All Over”.

The Road to Reopening America Runs Through the Bathroom

Manual of Physical Distancing –


New York City: 

NYC CSO Outfall Map –

Disorder in the Stacks.

Subway Bathrooms –

The Best Public Restrooms in NYC –

Discomfort Stations. NYC Office of the City Comptroller, 2019.


Urban Future Scenario:

Rethinking Manhattan’s Grid –

ARUP 2050 Scenarios. “Multinational negotiations for repurposing waste for energy, fashion, manufacturing and fertiliser started in the 2020s.”

Rubinyi, Kati. The car in 2035 : mobility planning for the near future. Los Angeles : Civic Projects Foundation, c2013. Print.



Winblad, U., Kilama, W. (1985). Sanitation without water. Rev. and enl. ed. Houndmills: Macmillan.

WHO Guidelines for the Safe Use fo Wastewater –


Urine Diversion & Collection:

Pee power urinal – microbial fuel cell technology field trials in the context of sanitation

Pee Power in Glastonbury.,electricity%20or%20PEE%20POWER%C2%AE

Urine in Bioelectrochemical Systems: An Overall Review.,cells%20and%20microbial%20concentration%20cells.

Urine Collection Beats Composting Toilets for Nutrient Recycling.

Community Scale Urine Diversion System –

Urine turned into sustainable power source for electronic devices. 2016.



Anand, Chirjiv K., Defne S. Apul. Composting toilets as a sustainable alternative to urban sanitation–a review.

Sizing of the Biogas Plant

Design Calculation for a Biogas Plant

Measuring Small Scale Biogas Capacity and Production


Street Vending in NYC:

Vendors Rights

Street Vendors

Street vendors fight for space