I went out of my way to visit a public toilet the other day.
It's a few minutes' drive from my house and although I'd passed it lots of times, I'd never been in.
• Covid-19 coronavirus: Auckland Council employee tests positive after returning from overseas
• Covid-19 coronavirus: Auckland Council will stop collecting parking fees, says Phil Goff
• Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown: What Auckland Council services will continue as normal
• Coronavirus: Auckland Council closes art galleries and libraries
It's one of those buildings that just looks right and this morning it was looking even better.
It faces north, so the sun was giving its bricks a lovely golden glow. It's by no means a new toilet, but the bricks all look in great shape. If it's had work done over the years, well, it doesn't show.
Unsurprisingly for a brick outhouse, it looks and feels solid and enduring. But it also looks beautiful. Whoever built it had resisted the temptation to stop at something functional.
Thoughtful touches are everywhere. What would normally be simple straight corners are instead gorgeous, labour-intensive curves. The bricks themselves have been carefully laid to create a pattern of differently coloured clay. Even the ventilation panel is an ornate lattice of brickwork, rather than a row of simple slots or holes.
Inside, floor-to-ceiling tilework sparkles white, accented with a pattern of navy diamonds. There's also a homeless guy, washing his clothes in a basin. And although I hope he'll have his own home to do that in one day, I'm grateful that he has this lovingly made building to use in the meantime.
It wouldn't be polite to take photos, so I pop back outside and admire the garden. Like the toilet itself, it's edged in solid brick, nicely curved and angled to connect the building to the footpath. I imagine it's had all manner of flowers planted in it over the years but for now the Auckland Council gardeners have some native grasses in there, and they're doing nicely.
Grant Illingworth: The need for legal clarity in a Covid-19 world
Comment: Raise welfare now to save lives in virus crisis
It's standing in front of the garden that you get a good view of my favourite part of this toilet. It's a feature you don't see so much on new buildings, but was once all the rage.
Up above the ventilation grille, as solidly fixed to the brick as the day they were put there, are four numbers: 1943.
In 1943, we were in the middle of history's most awful war and we weren't winning.
Europe was occupied by the Nazis, allied and Japanese forces were fighting all over the Pacific and our newspapers were filled every day with casualty lists that would eventually name 11,625 sons and daughters who wouldn't come home.
Labour and materials were in short supply. No one knew how long the war would last. But in the midst of all this, the Auckland City Council and some unnamed bricklayers built this unnecessarily beautiful and exceptionally durable public toilet.
And right now, that fills me with hope.
• Vaughn Davis is creative director and owner of The Goat Farm, a contemporary advertising and social media company based in Auckland.
Editor's note: The amenity referred to in this article has since been closed during the Government's level 4 Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.