Waitangi Toilet Block - Harris Butt Architecture | ArchiPro

Waitangi Toilet Block

The brief was to create a new facility, which was light and airy, connected to the exterior. These facilities were required to be a "delight". Timber was always going to play a major part in the finishing of the building. This is a "hut in the bush" - reminiscent of the basic buildings of this land.
The building consists of a large gabled roof supported on a post and beam structure with glass walls to 50% of the exterior beneath. The solid surfaces of the walls are concrete block, which is tiled as for the floor to the interior and enclosed with pine boarding to the exterior. Along the ridge of the roof is a skylight, which floods the building with natural light.

Along the glazed wall a vertical timber screen is placed, reminiscent of a rough timber palisade, filtering light as well as vision into the building and also used to direct the rainwater as it falls from the roof. To either end, a further screen is overlayed to the building. The glass wall has obscure panels to address issues of privacy as required. Where possible, clear glass allows connection with the surrounding landscape.

Allowing water from the roof to fall to the ground removes the significant issue of leaf fall blocking gutters and allowed the creation of a very fine edge to the roof. In contrast to the other buildings on the grounds, the large macrocarpa bargeboards are finished with a horizontal cut to emphasis the horizontal and the floating nature of the roof.

The timber finish has been allowed to age naturally; already the warm, golden colour of the timber is starting to turn silver grey picking up the natural colours of the surrounding bush - particularly the colour of the Manuka trunks. At night, with the lights on, the timber glows as it does with the sunlight throughout the day.

The smell of the oil and macrocarpa, the texture of the timber inviting the visitor to touch and the warm glow of the timber colour all goes towards creating a memorable experience which few other materials can offer.

Photography: Simon Devitt

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