Along a scenic tourist route in Lofoten, Norway, is ‘Roadside Reststop Akkarvikodden’, a toilet facility completed by Oslo-based Manthey Kula Architects. Part of an initiative to install observation platforms, stopping points and connections to existing points of interest, this structure creates a hybrid experience of nature and design. A replacement to a previous restroom which was destroyed in a coastal storm, the weight of the 10mm corten steel walls are cast into concrete foundations and welded together with steel plate reinforcements.
The clerestory windows provide views of the mountains through 12-20mm thick glass panes while the doors are comprised of 5mm stainless steel plates. Glass panels surface the interior preventing any discoloration to clothes due to rust. The metal piping for mechanical and plumbing systems are exposed since insulation is not necessary as the building is only open in the summer.
The Roadside Toilet Facility at Akkarvikodden is built in connection with existing rest stop designed by landscape architect Inge Dahlmann/Landskapsfabrikken. The commission given to Manthey Kula was to design a toilet facility that could replace an existing structure that had been lifted off its foundations by the strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean.
Lofoten is located at the 67th and 68th parallels north of the Arctic Circle in North Norway. The site for the project is extraordinary. The road runs on a narrow plateau between the mountains and the sea. Were the rest stop is the plateau widens out and one experience entering a space between the mountains from where the view to the horizon is very powerful.
The design had two aims. One was to make the small building very heavy so it would not be lifted off ground. The other was to make interiors that shut the scenery out. The first objective was of course very pragmatic, a direct response to the history of the building’s predecessor. The other objective was more obscure. The experience of the place, mountains and sea and the ever-present coastal climate is very intense. The restrooms were conceived to present a pause from the impressions of the surrounding nature, offering an experience of different sensuous qualities.
The rest room is open only during summer season thus the building did not have to be insulated. Initially it was planned in concrete. However, after having checked the work of some local mechanical industries the designed changed to a body of welded plates. The structure of the small building is not unlike the structure of a ship: welded steel plates locally reinforced with steel flanges – every part specially designed for its specific use.
The foundation and the two walls that supports the stainless steel sanitary equipment are cast concrete. Glass panes are 12 and 20mm thick. Doors are built in 5 mm stainless steel plates. Walls and roof are made of 10mm corteen steel. To prevent rust from discoloring the clothes of the visitors parts of the walls are lined with glass panels. In the smallest rest room one glass panel is mounted in the ceiling. In this panel one can see the reflection of the horizon.
[highlight1] Project Data [/highlight1]
Project name: Roadside Reststop Akkarvikodden
Location: Lofoten, Norway
Program: Toilet Facility
[highlight1] The people [/highlight1]
Client / Owner / Developer: Statens vegvesen, Nasjonale Turistveger
Architects: Manthey Kula Architects
Design team: Per Tamsen, Beate Hølmebakk
Engineer: Finn-Erik Nilsen
Steel Production: Lofoten Sveiseindistri
On-site Entrepreneur: Lofotentreprenør v. Alf Lie
Text Description: © Courtesy of Manthey Kula Architects
Images: © paul warchol
[highlight1] Location Map [/highlight1]
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