Leafy Lieu


December 2018 to January 2019


As a toilet experience, imagine crossing a gentle bamboo threshold, sitting on a spiralling wooden sculpture, and being fully enveloped by dense greenery. This is one of the ways in which we experience our part in the ecological cycle every day. Physically, this includes the act of making an offering, through a composting system where the soil is directly nourished by human 'waste'.  At the same time, the vibrancy of rainforest life is perceived, bringing awareness of the connection between inner and outer nature.


The design process for this toilet began by exploring tucked away parts of the watershed, to find a hidden space that felt contained for this experience. Inspired by the huge leaves growing on the site we had found, which funnelled water down to their roots, we designed a roof structure to collect rainwater for hand washing. 


A lightweight leaf-shaped bamboo lattice is the roof structure which is supported by an asymmetrical arrangement of columns emerging from a large boulder. A floating floor and hanging wall allow for inhabitation, such that privacy from the approach is achieved and collection of the compost is possible beneath. As you emerge from this structure, a short garden walk creates a buffer between having made your offering and re-joining the daily rhythms of the watershed.


In creating this building we learned a lot about the possibilities that are facilitated by a temporary scaffolding structure. Through close collaboration with local craftspeople and their traditional 'make-it-happen' techniques, an offset of the building's geometry began to appear, and allowed us to clad the roof from above. Although we had been working on this structure for two months, on the last day when we took the scaffolding down we really felt a sense of the levity of this leaf-shaped roof amongst the rainforest canopies, emerging from the gravity of the massive rock below.


Built in collaboration with Joaquin and Hernan


Dwelling in Symbiosis