In the international "Bee Breeders" competition "Humble Architecture: Everest Challenge" project "Peak" by fifth-year VAA Vilnius Faculty Architecture students Aurelija Kniukštaitė, Jonė Virbickaitė, Kotryna Bajorinaitė won in three competition categories: first place, the most ecological project, the best student project.

For the competition, participants submitted sustainable toilet projects to Mount Everest that would meet the highest environmental standards and withstand harsh weather conditions.

The main idea of the "Peak" that it seeks to neutralise the effect of human waste that is caused by intense tourism on Mount Everest is to create a closed circle of water use. To achieve this goal without disrupting breathtaking views of the world's tallest mountain, the peak the like structure with the Nano membrane toilet was created. The round elegant shape that blends into the panoramic view of the mountains also reduces snow and wind loads making the toilet more resistant for rough weather conditions.

The project has integrated the technology of Nano membrane that decomposes human waste and produce water during the process which is then returned to the nature. Moreover this technology does not require any external energy sources so it can be easily maintained and moved. The whole construction including the shell of the toilet is made from thermally modified wood. This material was chosen for its minimal moisture absorption, enhanced durability as well as environmental benefits as it is produced without using any chemicals.

For adaptable transportation the structure of the toilet is composed of six fully dismantable walls that can also be divided into two parts. The platform of the toilet is also constructed from six separate pieces. The chosen material for the toilet construction is particularly lightweight making the process of relocating  easier. These qualities assure that the toilet can be built at almost any site even with limited road access.

To maintain fresh air circulation and natural light the toilet shell is constructed with a circulation gap between its two parts. Using natural light and no external energy sources assure energy efficiency and low maintenance.

The competition entries were judged by an international jury of architects, designers and university lecturers from Chile, Norway, Portugal and the USA.

A fascinating proposal with a solution to treat the human waste directly on-site using the nano-filtration system. The wooden structure places this object well within its context. The simple arresting form has a small footprint,is  easy to duplicate, is relatively sustainable, and can be prefabricated. The thoughtful materiality, transportability, and structural understanding makes this proposal standout. It is graphically clear and beautifully presented.

Jury commentary

The competition is organised by "Bee Breeders".
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