Plastik toilet 12.01.08

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Young London-based practice Plastik Architects’ first public building is a small triangular public toilet in Gravesend, Kent.

The building, located on the edge of a car park near the town centre, is intended to be almost as much a sculpture as a public convenience. The council asked for a “minor landmark” as part of a broader regeneration scheme. “The town needed something eye-catching,” says Plastik partner John Davies.

The angular roof hovers like an inverted pyramid above the external walls, separated by a continuous glazed clerestory. The points of the roof project out over the tile-clad concrete walls, providing areas of shelter.

The form of the building responds to its surroundings. The entrance faces the car park, leaving a seamless wall running parallel with the Parrock Street traffic. The roof also slopes along the same gradient as nearby Windmill Hill, its tip pointing directly to the summit. “We chose to make it a very sharp building. The advantage of a triangular building is that each face is extremely flat,” says Davies.

The monochrome exterior contrasts with the primary-colour Formica partitions of the interior. “We wanted the exterior to act as a shell to a much brighter and fresher interior than you would expect in a public toilet,” says Davies. Both the clerestory and the triangular roof-light flood light into the internal spaces, creating an unusually cheerful interior for a public convenience.

images Edmund Sumner and Robin Hayes


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