One of the World’s Best Public Toilets


According to DesignCurial, Akkarvikodden rest stop in Lofoten, Norway, is on the Top 10 list of the world’s best public toilets.

Designed by Manthey Kula Architects the rest stop in Lofoten is built to replace a toilet that had been blown off its foundations by the wind. You find the roadside rest stop in Akkarvikodden by one of Norway’s beautiful and wild National Tourist Routes.

There are eighteen such routes in Norway, all chosen for their spectacular and characteristic landscape. The facilities for the tourists that drive along these roads, such as rest stops, viewing platforms and links to local points of interest, are carried out by architects and landscape architects with the purpose of offering an experience of both nature and design. By now six routes already have Tourist Routes status and 12 more are in the planning. The project will be finished by 2016.

Given the fate of its predecessor, the new toilet in Lofoten needed to be solid and durable.

The building is made of 10-12 mm sheets of structural corten steel, which was welded together on site. Two large glass openings give views of the sky and the reflected horizon. The surfaces that come into contact with the visitors – the toilet itself and sink – are made of stainless steel or covered in clear glass to prevent rust staining.

The Roadside Toilet Facility at Akkarvikodden is built in connection with existing rest stop designed by landscape architect Inge Dahlmann/Landskapsfabrikken. The commission given to Manthey Kula was to design a toilet facility that could replace an existing structure that had been lifted off its foundations by the strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Lofoten is located at the 67th and 68th parallels north of the Arctic Circle in North Norway. The site for the project is extraordinary. The road runs on a narrow plateau between the mountains and the sea. Were the rest stop is the plateau widens out and one experience entering a space between the mountains from where the view to the horizon is very powerful.

The design had two aims. One was to make the small building very heavy so it would not be lifted off ground. The other was to make interiors that shut the scenery out. The first objective was of course very pragmatic, a direct response to the history of the building’s predecessor. The other objective was more obscure. The experience of the place, mountains and sea and the ever-present coastal climate is very intense. The restrooms were conceived to present a pause from the impressions of the surrounding nature, offering an experience of different sensuous qualities.

The rest room is open only during summer season thus the building did not have to be insulated. Initially it was planned in concrete. However, after having checked the work of some local mechanical industries the designed changed to a body of welded plates. The structure of the small building is not unlike the structure of a ship: welded steel plates locally reinforced with steel flanges – every part specially designed for its specific use.

All photos: Paul Warchol, DesignCurial