Sunday, August 10, 2008

Alexander Kira, The Bathroom

Kirkpatrick Sale refers to this study in his Human Scale.

Take the work of Alexander Kira, for example, a professor at Cornell University and one of the pioneers in ergonomic research. In 1966 he published a study called, forthrightly, The Bathroom, which was an exhaustive examination of the way people actually perform their human functions and the way most bathroom equipment is woefully misdesigned to serve them. For urination, for instance, he studied the role and workings of the kidneys, the distinctive features of the female and male anatomies, and the color, smell, and qualities of urine, and he then made empirical investigations of such things as stance, splash, noise, velocity of flow, target, and the like. He eventually concluded--as we would expect--that the present Western toilet is totally inadequate, particularly for the male, in fact an understanding example of an instrument in everyday use aroudn the world designed entirely withotu sensible consideration of how people would actually use it. Kira then went on to design and build an improvement, a simple fold-down unit much like a rest-room urinal, exactly 24 inches above the floor, with an 8-inch opening and an elongated funnel that fits into the regular toilet bowl below and can be flipped back out of sigh when nto in use; it allows a man to relieve himself comfortably, easily, without embarrassing noise or unsanitary splash. The solution wasn't difficult, once the problem had been properly posed, but it had just never been studied that way before, with the human function, the human form, coming first. (169-70)

Book Review: The Bathroom
The Bathroom - An Article by Rosemary Phillips
4.07: Reality Check
Great Moments in Science - Bathroom Blues Part 1
Examining the Unmentionables - TIME

Which is more of a concern--saving water or toilet paper? Would the use of a bidet be compatible with a composting toilet? (How much water is needed for a thorough cleaning? Undoubtedly Americans need to learn how to make use of less water, and to use water efficiently, habits which need to be learned. Otherwise people can easily become wasteful without knowing, if there are no negative consequences or restraints.) How difficult would it be to install a bidet in a bathroom? (The amount of space in the bathroom would be one factor; but what of the plumbing?)

wiki: toilets in Japan; cleaning the bottom
Case study: My experience with the paperless toilet | Mail Online

So Google HQ in Mountain View has bidet-toilets. Hmm... or I could wait until I go to Europe the next time to try one out.

See this previous post with a link to an article in Orion Magazine, in which the author discusses her experience with composting toilets.

Composting toilet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Composting Toilet Directory
Composting Waterless Toilet - EcoJohn
Composting Toilet World
Composting Toilets

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