November 19th, 2018
November 19th, 2018
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Yet, along our 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes (otherwise known as Norway’s greatest stretches of driving routes) lie convenience stops that have garnered attention from international journalists and travellers alike. These aren’t just any regular lavatories though, these have been designed by both local and international architects to work in harmony with their surroundings. Some even allow you to look out on stunning surroundings while you… well, you know.
We have reviewed and featured some of our favourite and most exciting architectural toilets that are definitely worth a visit and not just because you need to pull over.
This dramatically angled toilet at Akkarvikodden on Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten is designed by Manthey Kula and has been designed to mimic the skyline the rugged mountains have carved out behind them. Finished in 2009, the building has no windows around its walls but has instead been designed with huge, almost panoramic, glass roofs which allows light to stream in from above.
This unusual building designed by KAP architecture can be found along the side of Sandsfjorden along Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke. Whilst it may look bare now, it has recently been ‘painted’ with a moss blend that will lead moss to grow all over its many angles. It’s living green jacket will allow it to blend more seamlessly into it’s surroundings over time. Steps have also been taken to replace the local topsoil and grow pine trees, so, in a few short years both the building and the entire area will be both totally natural and unrecognisable from its current guise – in keeping with the values of the Norwegian Scenic Routes.
After a new tunnel was created in 2011 to steer heavy traffic away from the waterfall, the time was ripe to explore its possibility as a tourist attraction. With a safe area in place to watch the explosive and unrelenting 135m falls, a toilet building was required to work in harmony with the natural wonder. Beside the waterfall might not seem to be the most apparent place to put a rest stop but that didn’t Fortunen, the architects responsible for masterminding the building. They designed an angular, sheer building boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and is cladded in stone found in the area to retain its local significance. The building on Scenic Route Hardanger later went on to win the World Architecture News Small Spaces Award 2016.
Doing their business in a golden toilet is not a claim that many can make. Though, the opportunity can be found in a public restroom on Scenic Route Senja. The unspoilt nature is enough to make most people feel like a Viking king or queen – the toilets just keep up the illusion. Despite people coming to Ersfjord to witness the dramatic, spectacular surroundings, this brass plated outhouse has become a reason to visit in it’s own right. The initial price of the building at a cool 3.75 million kroner raised a few eyebrows and there is no agreement whether or not the golden toilet is worth the money.
One architectural marvel that has received credit as ‘the world’s most beautiful toilet’ is the one next to Stegastein; a lookout point which is largely unrivalled. It attracts thousands of visitors a year to wander out 30 meters over the edge of the mountainside to Aurlandsfjorden below. But the view is not totally unrivalled. Todd Saunders, the designer of the toilets, created the convenience building to share the same view, and it is no less spectacular. The toilet on Scenic Route Aurlandsfjellet is also perched out over the sprawling mountainside (650 metres above fjord level!) and offers its visitors the fjord panorama, without anybody being able to see in. Surely the greatest view through a bathroom window that has ever been witnessed!
Reiulf Ramstad Architects had a very clear objective in mind when designing their architectural wonder near Selvika beach on Scenic Route Havøysund. The unusual shape of the path to the toilet, with its sweeping hairpin curves (not out of place on a racetrack) are designed to make those who walk the path look out in all directions over the landscape and savour all of what is around them. The path snakes back and forth, leading the subject’s eyeline over land, coast and sea. The idea is totally justified too – there’s lots to see in the area, from Neolithic settlements, to Sami culture and local heritage sites.
From certain angles you wouldn’t even know Bukkekjerka toilets on Scenic Route Andøya were there if they weren’t signposted. The mirror walls that reflect against the raw, precipitous rocks surrounding them, belies their existence. The sweeping, concrete slabs at the front of the building are also inspired by the jagged environs. The mirrors are rather interestingly only one way, which means whilst the outside serves to disguise the building, the inside offers a panoramic view out over the coastline that surrounds. The architects, MORFEUS, faced many challenges when designing their project. Both the often harsh and windy conditions and the fact the site is very remote made completing the project difficult.
The toilets at Allmannajuvet on Scenic Route Ryfylke are part of a wider series of architectural wonders at the Zinc Mine museum designed by globally renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Here, those wishing to ‘spend a penny’ must do so looking out of a small hole window from a building hanging precariously out over the landscape below. The toilet even features a corrugated Zinc roof – serving as a memorial to the area’s past. Scores of architecture enthusiasts make a point of travelling out of their way to see Zumthor’s work whilst in Norway, and in the process learn the fascinating history and great hardships faced by workers of the mine in it’s short heyday in the late 1800’s.
Resembling more of an amphitheatre than a restroom, the toilets near the fishing village of Eggum in Lofoten provide an unusual pit stop for those travelling along the Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten. Eggum is a famous spot for viewing the midnight sun during the summer months, but it’s not only the natural phenomena that fascinates people. The toilet’s unusual shape and appearance is no accident; the restrooms here have been fashioned from a disused quarry. And the clever recycling doesn’t stop there either, the face of the ultra-modern toilet building has been fashioned from driftwood found washed up along the coastline after bad weather.
Where better to end than the world’s most beautiful toilet? Okay, so the title may be entirely unofficial, but Ureddplassen on Scenic Route Helgelandskysten has been given this accolade by journalists from London to Los Angeles and Stockholm to Sydney. There’s probably not many who would disagree either. Ureddplassen is also a World War 2 memorial site and is named after the submarine, ‘Uredd’ (meaning unafraid/fearless), which hit a mine here and sank. The architects, Haugen/Zohar have also built clean, minimalist benches alongside the iconic building, which face out towards the rugged mountains of Gildeskål municipality with an aim to create a place beautiful enough to have a picnic. If you ask us, they have certainly succeeded.
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Danny DoddTravel Curator