Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Loo designer flushed with success after public acclaim

Bret Thurston's funky loos have received worldwide plaudits. Photo / Chrisjtse
Bret Thurston's funky loos have received worldwide plaudits. Photo / Chrisjtse

A New Zealand designer is flushed with success after his bizarre-looking public loos were voted the third best place on earth to spend a penny.

The towering toilets at the Kumutoto precinct on Wellington's waterfront have been named among the world's best by design professionals from the website Design Curial.

Experts sifted through thousands of entries to list loos from China, Japan, Switzerland and the United States in the top 10.

The number one spot was occupied by the Centennial Park Amenities in Sydney, Australia.

Bret Thurston, from Wellington's Studio Pacific Architecture, designed the $350,000 council-funded conveniences.

They opened just before the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but not before some locals kicked up a stink about the eccentric design.

"Because the toilets look so unusual, there was quite a bit of resistance to start with," Thurston said. "Our clients took a chance by asking for something so unusual so it is great the loos have now been recognised internationally.

"They are quite a talking point among visitors to the city. Many of them don't know that they are two unisex toilets until they have a closer look."

The aim of the rest room "Oscars" list was to celebrate buildings often perceived as being dull, said Jamie Mitchell, editor of Design Curial.

Mitchell described the Wellington toilets as being the most unusual entry on the list because they resemble "a pair of antennae peering out from the side of a building".

"Hopefully this list will show that even the most boring of buildings can be designed in such a creative manner."

- Herald on Sunday

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