Reducing Bathroom Waste: Rice’s Prefabricated Pods

Dorchester Model Prefabricated Composite Bathroom Pod by Off Site SolutionsWorkers at Rice University are lifting 178 7-foot-by-7-foot bathroom pods into place in the two new student residences now under construction on campus. The pods, which arrived with all fixtures already installed, are meant to be among the “green” features of the new Duncan and McMurtry College buildings, say the designers. Because construction takes place offsite, the pods are expected to eliminate construction waste — as well as traffic to and from the site by subcontractors.

The Rice pods were manufactured by Off Site Solutions in the United Kingdom and Kullman Buildings Corp. in New Jersey.

The pods’ outer shell is constructed of glass-reinforced plastic and connected to a steel frame. The interiors are all white with 9-foot ceilings, wall-hung plumbing fixtures, light fixtures and a smooth ceiling and wall finish. Installation requires being hoisted into place by a crane and just a handful of plumbing and electrical connections.

After the jump: an exciting bathroom-pod photo tour, including overhead views!


Exploded 3-D View of Bathroom, Duncan and McMurtry Colleges, Rice UniversityAn exploded rendering of the Rice bathrooms, ready for delivery (below).

Bathroom Pod Being Delivered, McMurtry and Duncan Colleges, Rice University

Overhead View of Dorchester Model Prefabricated Bathroom Pod from Off Site SolutionsHere’s an eerie view of someone using Off Site Solutions’ Dorchester model (also pictured at top). And a model from Kullman:

View of Prefabricated Bathroom Pod Constructed by Kullman Buildings Corp.

Images: Off Site Solutions (top and overhead view); Rice University; Jeff Fitlow, Rice University; Kullman Buildings Corp.

8 Comment

  • That’s nice that it is prefab, but didnt’ they all have to come here on a ship packaged in a container?

    Regardless of there environmental friendliness, the real reason to chose this would be speed in construction.

  • Looks like an airplane bathroom with a shower attached. Shower looks like it has very little room to move in it. No counter space for toiletry items either. I could see this as a guest bathroom perhaps, but definitely not one that you have to use everyday.

  • I’m going to out on and limb and maybe be a little offensive….: I’m sure some people can’t fit in that shower!

    If someone can’t fit in the shower, how does Rice apply ADA rules?

  • This could have been clearer: Only the second and third images above are of the bathrooms at Rice. The first and fourth images are of a different unit, Off Site Solutions’ Dorchester model. The last image is of another model, by Kullman Buildings Corp.

  • “…I’m sure some people can’t fit in that shower!”

    No doubt. Even the model in the picture doesn’t look like she could bend over to pick anything up that she dropped without getting out. I guess that means the ladies won’t be shaving their legs in the shower either.

  • Kind of reminds of the all-in-one lavs in those funny automatic motels in France. In the rooms (unlocked with the code the guest got from the ATM-like machine at the entrance to the motel) were a functional and not unpleasant sink + WC pod. Down the hall were shower cabins (also accessed with number-pad code) that included a changing area with bench, then the shower itself separated from the changing area by a partial wall. There was a usual dispenser on the wall for all-purpose shower gel, but that wasn’t all. When the bather was finished and left the cabin the door locked behind him/her, a red light replaced the green light above the door, and the whole cabin cleaned and sanitized itself. In the top corners of the unit were tiny nozzles that sprayed cleaning solution thoroughly around. That sat for a number of minutes, then the shower rinsed itself and even ran a fan to remove the smell. It was possible to check into these motels, get a room, bathe, pay and leave without even seeing a human being.

  • This would have a very limited use in the construction. I can not see a home builder bringing in a crane or knocking out a wall just to put a bathroom in. And as commented earlier, it did come over on a ship(fuel)and is made out of plastic(oil). Ship fuel and plastic is very expensive , so I can’t see this being cheaper that the laborers already at the jobsite.

  • Apologies that this post is somewhat out of date but this article has only just been brought to my attention.

    Please find below answers to some of the queries raised:

    Offsite Solutions manufactured the Rice University bathroom pods in panel form, they were then shipped to the US where they were assembled & fitted-out by Kullman Buildings Corp.

    Bathroom pods were originally developed for boats, aeroplanes, trains & RV’s. Aside from these applications they are now widely used for military, hospital, university, care home, hotel and residential accommodation.

    They can be made in any size and with nearly any specification from small & basic to large and luxurious – the only real constraint being transport of the units from the factory to site.

    Bathroom pods are now used in most large construction projects in the UK & Europe where a large number of similar units are required (> 100). Quality can be closely monitored in the factory environment, the construction programme can be decreased, wastage is significantly reduced and less skilled labour is required on-site giving significant cost & time savings to the main contractor.

    Pods are of two types – FRP and Steel Framed, the former is preferred where a more robust finish is needed, the latter where a conventional (residential) finish is required.

    Offsite Solutions currently produce 5,000 units a year from their facilities in Somerset, England – further information is available at

    I hope this is useful!