Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6

Lucas, Kansas

Bowl Plaza

This artsy public restroom is shaped like a giant john. 

Bowl Plaza may sound like the name of a bowling alley or a dinnerware emporium, but this obscure art installation in Lucas, Kansas is actually a different type of bowl entirely: a toilet bowl.

In a town known for its outsider art, it would only be expected that the public restroom would be just as unusual as the main attractions. Every year, some 15,000 visitors flock to Lucas to witness bizarre wonders like the Garden of Eden and the World’s Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things. But they always ran into the same problem: There was no public restroom to use in times of urinary need.

Coming to the rescue was Bowl Plaza, which, to blend in with the other grassroots art attractions around town, was no ordinary loo. Described as a “world renowned toilet,” Bowl Plaza is shaped precisely to resemble a massive john. To enter, you must walk along a winding sidewalk, emulating an unspooled stretch of toilet paper. Then, you have to traverse through the toilet bowl, formed by two semicircular benches. The door to the restroom is shaped like a toilet lid, and the building itself resembles a toilet tank.

But the toilet shape is not Bowl Plaza’s only aesthetic draw (if you can call it that). The toilet is surrounded by a slew of quirky sculptures, and the toilet’s interior and exterior are covered in folk art mosaics created by the 400 residents of Lucas themselves. The women’s toilets are named “Oval Office” and “Porcelain Throne” and the men’s latrines are dubbed “Porcelain Bus” and “Superbowl.” Bold names for bold latrines.

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