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Kumutoto Toilets

  • Architects: Studio Pacific Architecture
  • Location: Wellington, New Zealand
  • Design Team: Stephen McDougall, Bret Thurston, Guy Marriage, Peter Mitchell
  • Client: Wellington Waterfront Ltd
  • Cost: 375,000
  • Area: 0.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Patrick Reynolds

© Patrick Reynolds © Patrick Reynolds © Patrick Reynolds © Patrick Reynolds

From the architect. These public toilets are located at the Synergy Plaza in the Kumutoto precinct on Wellington’s waterfront. As well as taking into account practical considerations such as security, hygiene and vandalism, the brief was to create a structure with a sculptural form, something iconic, highly visible and unusual that was also well integrated into the visual and historical context ofthe surrounding precinct.

© Patrick Reynolds
© Patrick Reynolds

To be seen in the round, the design comprises two elongated, irregularly curved forms, instantly recognisable from all key pedestrian approaches and terminating a sequence of spaces and elements along the laneway. These organic forms, eye-catching and instantly memorable, are suggestive of crustaceans or sea creatures, as if the structure was a kind of fossilised husk that had been discovered and inhabited. Recalling the waterfront’s shipping past, they cling to the surface of the precinct like barnacles to the underside of a boat.

© Patrick Reynolds
© Patrick Reynolds

Each form contains one accessible public toilet, with one of the two also including cleaning facilities. The irrobust concrete construction is appropriate to the surrounding maritime environment. A metal rainscreen, painted the brick red of the neighbouring sheds, ties them into the heritage context and enhances their visibility. While they contrast with the linear architecture of the surrounding buildings, making them visually distinct, the curves of the new structure also echo some of the ornate detailing on the nearby sheds. Cantilevered ‘tails’ provide natural ventilation. 

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Kumutoto Toilets" 28 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>