Holy Sh*t! my toilet is my temple

There’s no such thing as waste. The bi-products resulting from processes of transformation, trash, leftovers or even shit can be seen as just raw material for new processes. The Usine du Trésor Noir functionally, formally and conceptually intends to renovate our basic perception of shit, from a dirty and impure substance to a very valuable resource.

The Usine du Trésor Noir is a public waste installation located in one of the sites of Farmparck (2014’s edition of Parkdesign), a temporary transformation of a well-known Brussels urban waste land into an active community park. The main purpose of this installation is to transform the bio-waste produced by the park (from the animal farm, the vegetable gardens and the public meals) and its visitors (their shit) into rich terra-preta soil to be used in vegetable gardens in and around the area. But far beyond a functional dry toilet, The Usine du Trésor Noir is a joyful playground, an educational facility, a music stage, an agora, lecture hall, an open air dining room, a public space and most of almost a temple in which a series of “rituals” involve progressively the visitors and local residents in the complete cycle of shit re-use.

Just as ancient cultures used to elevate wheat, corn and olive trees to a stage of holiness, to praise its value to society as the source of food, the guys form Collective Disaster -being consistent with our current context of extremely pagan practices and resource thirst- wanted to confront us with our own excrement by building a temple around the process to re-use shit as the main ingredient of a very rich soil to grow our own food.

The Usine du Trésor Noir is an urban device, but is also a participatory project, engaging people since its construction. The daily maintenance, the different scheduled and spontaneous activities, and even the choice of the name was a collective assembly (Temple of Holy Shit, as it was called originally, was apparently far to offensive for certain local residents). The Usine du Trésor Noir is an organic and interactive project which evolves accordingly to the needs or desires of its users; teaching us that with simple techniques shit could be smell less, clean and useful, but also making us aware of our roll in the process. Shit is not something that magically disappears when we flush our toilets, shit must go somewhere. The most the citizens are involved and aware of urban cycles, the best we can take out of it by promoting innovative solutions for a better management of resources, even those that we naturally produce.

(Text / photos: Diego Luna Quintanilla)


Usine du Tresor Noir infographic



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