The architects of Fortunen Arkitektur AS have placed a building like a sculpture with a great view on the riverbank
Toilets are places where you only go when you need to go, following an inner urge. But there are two such places that one has to go to, even without an inner urge.
One is the toilet house at Skjervet Waterfall (Skjervsfossen) in Norway – it is a jewel in the landscape from the outside and offers a great view over the watercourse from the inside. The architecture is by the Norwegian firm Fortunen Arkitektur AS, the landscape architecture is by Østengen & Bergo Landscape Architects AS.
It is the toilet on a tourist road, which was commissioned by the Road Authority Nasjonale turistveger. The building and its surroundings were intended to offer visitors from home and abroad a “unique and surprising experience”, according to the architects’ press release. The design should “accentuate and enhance the experience of the natural landscape, while not competing with it”.
What a program for a toilet house in the middle of the pampas! To understand it you have to know that Norway is a rich country and that the people identify themselves very much with fjord, mountain and forest.
The cottage is situated on the edge of a parking lot directly above the Storelvi river. The stream has so far made a tranquil journey through an open landscape and now has to force its way through a narrow valley before it drops about 135 m into the waterfall.
The building is set up like a narrow box. It has a striking mono-pitch roof – did the architects want to give the impression that the river had torn one half of the house away during a flood?
On the parking side there are 2 doors for the toilet and between them a door for a technical room, on the river side the facade is high like a rock wall.
On this side, 2 glass cut-outs extend from top to bottom, and from the inside through them, one has that incomparable toilet experience that we talked about at the beginning.
The building is clad with local slate.
Let the architects have their say again: “The building appears as a small piece of the mountain, carved out of the rock and relocated to the other side of the riverbank. The shape makes it a non-house, being a sculpture of the solid rock… Contrasting the outside solid rock, the internal walls are covered with deep, warm colored plywood. A sharp glazed section of wall opens towards the river, creating views over the moving water, forest and mountains beyond which rises towards the sky.”
By the way, we still have to mention the 2nd toilet place, which you absolutely have to visit, even if the inner urge is missing. It is the men’s toilet in the Monkey Bar on the 10th floor of the Bikini Hotel in Berlin (Budapester Straße 40). From the urinal the men look through a huge window from floor to ceiling far over the Berlin Zoo and the city.
Monkey Bar, Berlin
Fotos: Jarl Waehler, Ragnhild Olsen, Roger Ellingsen, Steinar Skaar, Vidar Herre, Paal
(10.06.2020, USA: 06.10.2020)