New Zealand, land of astonishing natural beauty, landscapes that almost seem false as they are so incredible and unusual. Land of sensitive and unique flora and fauna, tatoos, the haka, sheep and cattle…and err interesting public toilets. You may think it strange that such a facility is to be featured on this blog for it’s design aesthetic, but it is a pretty strange sight.
Travelling up to the northern tip of the country to a small town called Paihia, I noticed the small vibrant structure immediately. At first it looks more like a small brick a brack shop or a tourist vendor. However as you come closer you will notice the sign written in multicoloured and individually styled letters reading the words “Paihia’s Wee Toilet”.
The small box like building is decorated with metal toilets that have been converted into plant pots. Long wild grass potrudes from the disused boat that sits on the roof. Wooden benches line the small coves, proving practical for waiting children. The sloping walls at the entrance allow for a degree of privacy while washing your hands while also welcoming in sunlight. At night the public toilets light up in neon pink and green making it look even more inviting but also fooling some tourists into believing it is a silent dance venue.
And who may be responsible for such an eccentric piece of architecture in the middle of a tiny remote town on the other side of the world – Hundertwasser of course. The eccentric artist and architect spent a considerable amount of time in New Zealand and although his contribution to Paihia’s architectural landscape was small, it is certainly significant. He would have no doubt also been pleased to know that it was certainly the cleanest public toilet I have ever visited.