Check Out Colorado’s New Award-Winning Bathrooms
In Colorado, we're all about taking advantage of our beautiful surroundings – and when it came time to remodel to the bathrooms at one of the state's most famous landmarks, Coloradans came up with an award-winning solution...literally.
Longs Peak is one of the most popular climbing destinations inside Rocky Mountain National Park, and with approximately 25,000 people hiking on the mountain each year, park staff decided they needed a better option for those needing to use the restroom along the way. The original backcountry bathrooms were installed on Longs Peak trail in 1983, and with the number of park visitors doubling since then, it was definitely time for a much-needed upgrade.
The National Park Service collaborated with ColoradoBuildingWorkshop and the design-build program at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning to come up with an idea that cleverly incorporates the park's surrounding scenery into the structure, and is also a more humane way of collecting human waste. For eight days, students hiked from a campsite at beginning at 5 a.m. to install the new Longs Peak Toilets right on-site.
During the construction process, building materials were helicoptered in, and mules and llamas were responsible for bringing the tools, along with food and other supplies up the mountain. The design itself, was made to blend directly into the park's landscape, and features local materials, such as mid-size rocks that were collected on-site and then placed inside of the wire walls. Doing so, reduced the destruction to nearby plant life by 33%. Because of the sturdy design, the backcountry bathroom can withstand winds up to 225 miles per hour.
When it comes down to the dirty details, the new toilets also upgraded to a newer system of waste management, which handles urine by diverting it into the environment, mimicking what happens when wild animals relieve themselves. This change reduces the amount of waste that needs to be hauled down the mountain by llamas by 80%, and is just one more way that the design minimizes the human footprint in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Recently, the new restroom with a view earned The American Institute of Architects Small Project Award, which is for structures under 5,000 square feet. Innovative, creative, and green, however you look at it, the new Longs Peak Toilets are truly the s***.