Perry Lakes Park, on the outskirts of Marion, Alabama, lies along the shores of the Cahaba River. The park features four oxbow lakes, formed over many years by the meandering waters of the river, which create a distinct swampland ecotone characterized by Spanish moss and cypress trees. The park was originally constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps., but was closed in 1974. In 2001, the park was opened to the public and, to provide a new element to the Park, Rural Studio designed and constructed a pavilion. The following year, due to the success pf the pavilion, Rural Studio was asked to design and build bathrooms for the park.
The student design-build team designed three unique toilet ‘experiences.’ The ‘tall toilet’ features a light-weight aluminum truss, visible from the outside of the structure. Inside, cedar boards direct the eye to an opening at the top of the tower, showing a view of the surrounding tree canopy. The ‘long toilet’ is enclosed by two cantilevering walls that capture and frame a singular tree. The ‘mound toilet’ is surrounded by an earthen septic system that services the entire bathroom complex.
Each of the bathrooms are connected by a raised walkway, also designed and constructed by the student team, which begins at the parking area and winds its way through the woods to the pavilion.