Architecture Foundation Australia

Public Ablutions


Public Ablutions, Georges Head, Mosman, Sydney : 34˚S : 2004-6

A small unassuming public washing and toilet in an unassuming location is poetic in concept and detail. Facilities include male, female and disabled toilets and showers. Arranged as a courtyard around a tree, with roof draining inwards, and a public seat and shared hand washing. Naturally lit and ventilated throughout with “legerdemain” - sleight-of-hand. Carefully considered fixed vertical louvres, combine with wall mirrors, to allow users fresh air and glimpses of trees outside and the sky, without being observed at their private businesses. Made of prefabricated Australian hardwoods, exquisitely detailed, capable of disassembly, all elements raised clear above a concrete floor to allow cleaners to flush through with a hose. Roof and wall cladding of corrugated steel and polycarbonate with fibrecement panels and stainless steel fittings. Is there a more modest building to catch the attention of the jury of the prestigious Finnish international ‘Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award’, of which Richard Leplastrier was recipient in 2004?

Words : Lindsay Johnston. Photos : Wojtek Przywecki, Janine de Waal


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