Guara Ki Eco Farm Rural Bathroom Facilities

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Earth Learning, the client for the Mobile PermaKitchen, was the client for the Guara Ki Eco Farm Rural Bathroom Facilities (RBF), a mobile restroom and shower facility, to meet the needs of the thousands of migrant workers who are both seasonal and permanent employees of a more than two-billion-dollar-a-year agricultural industry in Miami-Dade. The RBF is a much-needed program that satisfies the problem of providing off-the-grid sanitary facilities for farm workers who, given the remote location of their work, lack these basic needs.

While the project was sponsored by a specific farm and client, the students were asked to design and build
an inexpensive facility that could be replicated and used in remote locations. The narrow building footprint, not much longer than an automobile, was designed to be delivered to the site by tow-truck and once on site, capable of being moved by tractor to field or farm as needed. The structure also needed to catch and store water for showering, hand washing, and if required, irrigation. Amidst the group of Design/Build Studio projects built to date, the RBF addressed the less exotic, but perhaps more significant, global issue of lack of sanitary facilities for much of the world’s population.

The 20’ long structure is built on wood skids supporting a louvered, five-bay structure that houses a shower at one end, and a composting toilet on the opposite end. Built at bench height, the floor provides a shaded refuge from the noon-day tropical sun. The client grows organic produce and wanted untreated wood that would age well and be naturally resistant to insect devastation. Built of Western Red Cedar with louvered walls in a dog-trot type, the structure also has a pleasant aromatic quality appropriate for its program. This was the first Design/Build project built delivered to the site with minimum set up time. After delivery we added tank storage and piping for the water collection system and attached pre-made stairs.

The water supply for the structure is collected in two 50-gallon drums and hand pumped into two self-leveling pipes in the roof.  One pipe is painted black, to be a solar hot water collector; the other hangs below it, for cold water. Through gravity, these pipes supply water to the shower and hand washing station outside the shower.


Client: Earth Learning

Students: Robbie Allison, Nestor Arguello, Sinead Camillo, Drew Dent,  Miles Glover, Francisco Jimenez, Kristen Meyer, Ariana Ragusa, Amanda Rosenfeld, Ma Zheng

Faculty: Jim Adamson, Rocco Ceo