The Hundertwasser Toilets is a public toilet located at 60 Gilles Street, the main street of the town Kawakawa on New Zealand's North Island. It is one of few toilet blocks seen as an international work of art and a tourist attraction in its own right.
The facility – designed by the expatriate Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser who lived in Kawakawa from 1975 until his death in 2000 – features the use of recycled materials from the local community.
History and design
The toilet facility was designed by the reclusive expatriate Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who lived in Kawakawa from 1975 until his death in 2000, aged 71. The decorative toilet block is the only project designed by Hundertwasser in the Southern Hemisphere and the artist's last project completed within his lifetime. The style is typical Hundertwasser, with wavy lines, irregular ceramic tiles, integrated small sculptures, coloured glass and a live tree incorporated into the architecture.
Recycled materials, including the community's spent glass bottles and bricks from a former Bank of New Zealand branch, were used throughout. Hundertwasser requested that any vegetation removed for construction should be replanted on the building's green roof. The toilet was opened in 1999. Functionally, it does not differ from other 'normal' public toilets. There are separate men's and women's areas, but both sides are sometimes viewed by the more curious visitor after giving suitable advance warning.
Kawakawa tourist attraction
The Hundertwasser Toilets are considered the main attraction of Kawakawa and the most photographed toilet of New Zealand. The bus-loads of tourists who visit to photograph the toilets far outnumber those who visit simply to use the facility.
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