About Us

More Images and documentation of the process of designing portable composting toilets for emergencies in the Northwest at 
Cloacina's image feed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cloacina/
Or PNCA's Collaborative Design MFA feed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdmfa/

Check out the syllabus.

Studio Brief: The provision of clean water and sewage disposal has lifted over a billion people out of the threat of deadly enteric diseases, reduced childhood mortality to its lowest levels in history, and fueled the growth of the large cities at the center of the global economy. But sewers and septic tanks are also the center of a series of long and short-term ecological and health crises, including nitrification of groundwater, eutrophication of waterways, broken nutrient cycles, and the contamination of our food supply with micropollutants, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals. Water-borne sanitation as practiced in the US is only feasible in wet climates and rich countries, and with Victorian-era pipes failing across the US and Europe, we are faced with reconstructing some of the most expensive pieces of public infrastructure in the history of the planet. The combined pressures of ecological, health, and infrastructure crises are bringing new options to the forefront.

In this studio we will explore new developments in the field of sanitation since 1950, as well as the history of the sanitary city and pre-modern human ecologies. We will focus on systems thinking and the integral technology development necessary for implementing alternative infrastructure amidst interconnected social, legal, and technical obstacles. We will examine the legal and professional state of excrement handling in Oregon and Washington, and compare it to developments in Europe, Asia, and NGO projects globally. In doing so, issues of gender, equity, ecology, economics, and ergonomics will be explored to create proposals and prototypes of new systems appropriate to the Cascadian region. Our process will involve direct collaboration with sanitation businesses, public advocates and activists, as well as national and international sanitation organizations, designers, manufacturers, scientists, and engineers.