Marine Drive Toilet, Mumbai

India’s bustling metropolis of Mumbai boasts stunning views of the Arabian Sea. Both, locals and tourists alike flock to the Marine Drive promenade to watch the city’s blue skies turn warm, as the fiery red sun slinks back into the sea. This uninterrupted walkway stretches for 3.6 kilometres along the city’s coastline, and has recently been equipped with a sustainable public toilet for its many visitors.

Led by JSW and their sanitation partner The Samatech Foundation, in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, this project aims to promote sustainability and clean sanitation in their city. It is also a testament to how a change in design thinking may lead to the betterment of public facilities across the country.

This project is a small, but an important beacon for public-private partnerships in India. Through the amalgamation of forward-looking design and leading edge technology, it displays an interest for public health, celebrates civic values, and aims to enrich the experience of urban living for all Mumbaikars.

The founding principals of Serie Architects, Christopher Lee and Kapil Gupta, conceptualised a design that would exemplify the values of sustainable environment design and technology.

Built entirely in weather-proof corten steel sheets, and shaped like an ‘S’, the male and female toilets occupy the two elliptical volumes created by such a form. The roof is doubly curved and extends gently outward, creating a deep overhang.

The streamlined facade of curves, plaster flutings and barrel forms is echoed in the toilet design, where vertically corrugated corten sheets create a dramatic three dimensional pilaster-like surface that follows the curves of the elliptical walls. Slim, capsule shaped fenestrations ensure cross ventilation through the toilets while ensuring privacy for its users, as both genders enter from different sides of the shape.

The resin terrazzo floor with a concentric inlay pattern not only provides a resilient flooring system, but is another tribute to the city’s Art Deco history.

Curved solar panels are shaped to snugly fit the curvature of the doubly curved roof. These panels are sponsored by JSW Energy, and will project energy to the toilets. Thanks to the science of vacuum, the toilet will also save 90% of the precious fresh water used per flush, allowing for the correct storage and disposal of waste.

Photo Credits : Jordi Huismann