Public toilets get a trendy face-lift

Updated: 2014-04-29 04:45

By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou (China Daily)

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A park in Zhejiang province is drawing some worldwide attention for the design of its public toilets, which made it onto a list of the world's 10 best.

Each compartment features a window on the top to ensure good ventilation and privacy.

"You'd feel let down if the public toilets at an architecture park weren't suitably striking in their design. Thankfully, the ones at the Jinhua Architecture Park don't disappoint. These stylish concrete loos aim at providing that rarest of things, privacy in a public toilet," said design website Design Curial.

The toilets, which were built in 2007, rank ninth on the list. The others are from Japan, Switzerland, Poland, New Zealand and the United States.

Xu Tiantian, one of the designers, said privacy, which used to be neglected in the design of public toilets in China, is exactly what they were concerned about most. "Easily reproducible, the bending tube shape ensures protection and privacy, as well as functional requirements such as ventilation and natural lighting, without interrupting the connection between user and park," Xu said.

Kong Hanbing, a professor at College of Public Administration of Zhejiang University, said major cities have been focusing on improving public sanitation facilities in recent years.

"Construction of public toilets has been in full speed in many Chinese cities, especially during the preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics," she said.

"Before that, most public toilets in China were smelly. The situation has improved a lot through both the number of public toilets and their environment."

The number of public toilets in Beijing grew to more than 12,000 in 2013 from 2,200 in 2005.

Kong said that the focus now is to provide a nicer sanitation environment.

"Governments tend to use materials that can prevent graffiti and are waterproof," she said.

According to the World Health Organization's annual report on sanitation and drinking water, 65 percent of China's population had access to improved sanitation facilities by 2011. In 2000, the figure was 45 percent.