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PHOTO: Architect Designs "World's Coolest" Standalone Public Urinal

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What does North America's first freestanding pissoir look like? Is it truly the "world's coolest" as touted today by online site, The Tyee?

Here's a gander:

And, yes, it does live up to its name.

It sure beats the old-school European design:

or China's answer:

The artist behind North America's first standalone urinal is  Vancouver, B.C.-based architect Matthew Soules and his new work, which is up and working in Victoria, B.C., is described in detail in this Tyee story.

"The post-pub ritual of pissing in the streets has carried on with neither artfulness nor ingenious machinery -- until now," says writer Adele Weder.

Her story also explores a public urinal-related question that still dogs European countries: How do you know the urinal is safe to enter unless you can see inside? How visible should a man be when he's draining one, so to speak. (A woman's pissoir is still under development.) And let's all agree that we don't like the Chinese design seen above.

Here's what the B.C. designers discovered:
Although silhouettes and suggestions were fine to both user and passerby, the users do not want to be recognized by those on the outside, who in turn want to be spared the overt imagery of what's happening inside. So, for the Victoria urinal prototype, the team had a trial-and-error series of adjusting the pipe lengths and the gaps between them. They had to finely calibrate the recognition factor to a precise balance, adjusting the spaces between pipes so that you can tell there's one (and only one) person inside, but you can't tell who it is. To do this, behind the prototype's pipes they placed a cutout photograph of perhaps the most highly recognizable face in the province: the premier of British Columbia [Gordon Campbell]. "As soon as we could tell it was Gordo, we knew the spaces were too far apart," explains Soules.

Meanwhile another B.C. architect is putting together public toilet designs for Wreck Beach, Vancouver's clothing-optional seaside park. "Even when people have all their junk out on display at a beach, they still want privacy when they do something with it," architect Bruce Carscadden told The Tyee.

Also see: The Toilet Industry is More Interesting Than You Ever Imagined. Seriously.
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