American author Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “The world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
Such words ring especially true in the School of Human Ecology’s first floor bathroom, which is both a testament to the artistic capability of the human imagination and an excellent place to take a shit.
The creative brainchild of Aldo Leopold, Roald Dahl and a skilled plumber, this tantalizing chamber of excretion pushes the threshold of interior bathroom design. Instilling both a deep love of the natural world as well as a childlike sense of wonderment, no bathroom has ever been such an emotional experience as this.
While the primary purpose of this room is the reception and disposal of human waste, it seems more apt to discuss it as an artistic composition. Translucent panels inlaid with pressed prairie grasses line every wall, with rich brown wood panelling and cast brass tiles resembling tree bark interspersed throughout. Drawing inspiration from the lush deciduous forests of the American midwest, the bathroom radiates artistic finesse down to the smallest detail. The faucet countertop is inlaid with the rounded gray stones found on the beaches of the Great Lakes, and two stout, roughly-hewn tree trunks support the counter from below.
Speakers play continual audio of a babbling brook and the calls of wild forest creatures, and shimmering LED lights mounted in a navy blue ceiling mimic a starry night sky. The artistic heights this exemplary institute of excretion reaches were such that I felt like I had to check with someone to make doubly sure I wasn’t accidentally defiling a graduate student’s art installation.
This wondrous forest aesthetic contrasts with several abstract elements to create a subtle but welcome sense of surreality. The stall doors are a crimson red, custom-designed to mimic the iconic pay phones of London.
Inside the stalls, a small brass rabbit’s head gazes out from the wall, serving as a coat hanger. Above each stall and the urinal hang handmade scrap metal sculptures mimicking taxidermied animal heads, whose lacquered antlers bridge the divide between the natural and the dreamlike. These unexpected details evidence extreme artistic care and create an overall atmosphere that feels notably removed from collegiate reality.
Dumps like these are the dumps that change lives. The overall ambiance of this restroom is simply exquisite. Artistic, playful and wholly unexpected, it captures the same sense of gleeful awe one felt in their younger years when visiting a children’s museum or amusement park for the very first time.
No realistic measure could improve this bathroom. Visually stunning and comfortably clean, it surpasses any and every lavatorial expectation one could have. As of press time, this is the best bathroom at the University of Wisconsin.
Temperature: Comfortably cool, like a pine forest on a misty Spring morning
Traffic: As tranquil as the ambiance
Stalls: One standard, one handicap
Toilet Paper: Flimsy one-ply, but with a fun quilted pattern
Small, Bizarre Piece of Art Featuring a Tiny Yellow Bird: Yes
Sinks: Two artistic, minimalistically-styled manual faucets
Dryers: Two paper towel dispensers, one Dyson Airblade
Cell Phone Service: Two bars, full and receptive wifi
Toilet Flush Mechanism: Manual
Graffiti: Who would dare deface this?
Overall Rating: 5/5