Potty Break.

I recently took a trip of a lifetime to Italy (pictures to come!). Strapped a 20 pound backpack on and off we went for a two week jam packed Rick Steves style adventure. Since I went to school for architecture much of what we saw I learned in class, which was awesome to see, but I knew what to expect. The biggest culture shock and thing I missed the most while I was over seas (I thought it would be my bed, since we stayed in hostels...) was an 'american' toilet. I have been to Europe before (Greece/Cyprus) and the toilets over there didn't seem to bother me as much. Each time I went to the bathroom was a new scavenger hunt of finding the seat (yes, one time it was attached the the wall and I had to set it on the toilet) if there even was one, hoping toilet paper was provided, and trying to figure out how to flush. Also, some came with a bidet, which I still don't understand nor use.

So, today we are going to talk about toilets!...Because lets face it, we've come a long way.
Ancient Greek Toilet

Toilet/Bidet combos of the 21st century
Case and point. Toilets come in all different shapes, sizes, functions, materials and colors. Today you can use one sitting or standing and with or without water. Before the technology of the modern flushing system humans used different forms of outhouses, or latrines (as shown above in Greece).

The flushing toilets we see today didn't come to use until the 19th century and was used most widely by the upper class (shocker.). We are most familiar with the "pedestal squat toilet" but, there is also a "squat toilet" which I hope to never encounter. My good friends over in Korea right now I'm sure see this everywhere...
There are some great advances today in composting toilets. Little baby worms basically eat what you flush.

Above is an example of the Aquatron System. Compost toilets reduce your water usage, eliminate odor problems (through suction air flow), lower city sewage rates and some systems allow you to add kitchen and lawn scraps. Today, we are beginning to see what is called "duel flush" toilets- we can credit the Aussies for this sweet idea.
One button flushes 3 liters, the 2nd button flushes 6 liters, I assume there is no need to explaining when to use each button. The National Energy Policy Act was put in place in 1994 regulating Americans flush water usage to a maximum of 1.6 gallons (or 6 liters). The technology is also there to hide the back tank (because lets face it, its a HUGE problem in designing a bathroom...)

I especially love this design, probably just because its pink. And for you guys out there, I'm pretty positive this is your dream bathroom...
In addition to the awesome colors above, you can see a little bowl above the toilet. This is something I can totally get on board with. The water that you wash your hands with refills the toilet.


Know your bathroom rights! A few years ago, myself along with a slew of architecture students visited the hustle and bustle of Urbana, IL. After checking into the Red Roof Inn (did I mention how classy we were?) we went to the University for a lecture on Potty Parity- Yes, this is for real, check out this. Basically, Potty Parity is a list of bathroom rights stemming from women always having to wait in long lines to use the restrooms at public facilities. I thought it was pretty humorous that this was an actual discussion until the use of handicap stalls came up- this part makes sense. Think of a typical public bathroom...does this come to mind?
Once you get beyond the obvious ugliness/grossness of this, you will see that the handicap bathrooms are in the back of the room. Now, think back to the last time you were in a public bathroom with a line out the door and hundreds of women applying makeup and poofing their hair at the mirrors. You had to wedge your way through them all to get to the open stall. Now, what if you were in a wheel chair? Pretty hard to get to the LAST stall huh? So here, potty parity has a legit argument.
Who knows the future of the toilet, maybe you can take a moment to ponder on your next bathroom break. I shall leave you with this crazy gem from Japan's airport
I always dreamt of the day I could listen to music while going to the bathroom...

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog, giggity giggity! Anyhoooo... I really like the Japanese toilet seat bidet you have at the end there. We've become pretty accustomed to these devices in Korea, they're all over in hotels, and even our Korean friends' home. When we were in Seoul, it was actual extremely awesome to plop our butts down on a heated toilet seat! I wasn't much of a fan for the water it sprayed at my, well, you know... But Amanda said she enjoyed ALL of it's features!! :D