Since 2008, Australia has been a cautious bystander to the worldwide recession, and the city of Perth in Western Australia has pressed ahead with several major building projects, including a new 45-story office tower and plans for a six-star, 500-room luxury hotel in the city’s outskirts. Construction has continued in the public sector as well, with projects including a $600,000 face-lift on a nearly 700-square-foot public restroom alongside an art gallery and library. The new restroom, which opened in October 2011 and was dubbed the “Loouvre,” was designed by Perth-based Coniglio Ainsworth Architects as part of a city-sponsored program to renew public spaces in the aging Perth Cultural Centre precinct.
The city’s initial proposal called for simply refurbishing the run-down and often-vandalized public toilets, which are located in a building that houses stairs and elevators for an underground parking garage. But the architects saw an opportunity to rethink the restrooms and to connect with the cultural precinct and art gallery nearby. “Although it is just a toilet project, its setting deserved a better and more rigorous design response,” says Andrew Ainsworth, the project’s director.
To integrate the space with its surroundings, the architects installed windows and skylights—an unorthodox design strategy for a public restroom. City officials were skeptical about the windows at first, but the architects addressed that by orienting them so passersby could not look in. Three windows, two in the women’s restroom and one in the men’s, were carefully positioned to take advantage of views of the library and a public garden. The architects also embedded custom LED uplighting in the skylights to play off the Corian-clad walls and ceiling. Except for the windows, the exterior of the building was unchanged. “The existing geometry was a big driver for us,” says Ainsworth.
The architects also convinced the city to include artwork in the project. The neighboring gallery and the city donated a total of nine works that were photographed and digitally printed on Laminex Customart panels. Since the restroom opened, vandalism has decreased dramatically. “Hopefully, that is the architecture doing its job,” says Ainsworth.
Formal name of building:
Gross square footage:
Total construction cost:
Robert Johnson Photography
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Alucobond Brilliant Metallic 602 cladding to window surrounds (shrouds):
WC Door panels ' (Front of door only, back of door is customart)
WC Divisional panels ' (one side of panel only, other side is customart except for two panels which are double sided customart)
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Paints and stains:
Corian Clad Walls
Toilet Roll Holder (Unisex Accessible WC)
Handrails (Unisex Accessible WC)
Robe Hooks (Male/Female/ Unisex Accessible WC)
Sharps Cupboards (Male/Female/Unisex Accessible WC)
Universally Accessible Toilet: Caroma Care 800 Invisi II Toilet Suite
Universally Accessible Toilet: Caroma Cube wall basin vitreous china wall basin
Universally Accessible Toilet: Presto 2000S chrome plated timed flow tap
Hand Driers to Male and Female WC:
Stainless Steel Linear Slot Diffusers ' Custom design
Switches Clipsal 2000 Series