The global climate crisis has highlighted the impact of construction and architecture on the environment, and the importance of humble but thoughtful designs that would improve the lives of users and treat their surroundings with respect. However, a culture of ego-driven architecture is quickly becoming a problem in our profession. An architect’s desire to be noticed only for glitzy and pompous facades, often neglecting the real, hidden design challenges, is not what the world needs right now.
Therefore, Bee Breeders has launched its Humble Architecture competition series. Each ideas competition in the series is set in a different world-famous location and seeks to solve a problem universal to all of them – bathrooms. Toilet design is not usually something that would be featured in the front pages of your portfolio, however, we believe these challenges can be much more complex than they first appear, and solving them can be unexpectedly rewarding.
The world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, has long been a popular tourist destination, but the environmental impact of trekkers not having a place to relieve themselves is causing a real problem. Human waste particles can contaminate the snow, and even become airborne and cause illness in other travelers and locals. Not to mention the unpleasant fact that almost every step you take will have you stepping in excrement.
Because of this, tourists are not always thought of fondly by local communities, and the damage caused by tourism could end up negating the economic benefits of it, especially in vulnerable areas.
For the Humble Architecture: Everest Challenge, participants are tasked with designing sustainable toilet facilities on Mount Everest that seamlessly blend into the environment. There are few, if any, toilet facilities on Everest past Base Camp, and therefore participants can choose to use this competition as a tool to critique existing facilities or to design completely new ones.