Hundertwasser Toilets – Kawakawa, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

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Hundertwasser Toilets

Kawakawa, New Zealand

Modern art meets modern convenience in possibly the world's most architecturally important public bathroom. 


World-famous artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s final project was a set of public toilets in the small New Zealand town of Kawakawa where he spent his final years, and those toilets are still open for “business.”

Covered in the artist’s signature multi-colored tile collages and undulating lines, the toilets resemble his other architectural works, simply in miniature. The facilities opened in 1999 welcoming waves of photo-happy tourists and art lovers who wanted not just to relieve themselves but also record the experience. Recycled bottles and tiles are embedded in the concrete of the facilities to create the psychedelic designs. In addition to the standard men’s and women’s stalls, the center of the toilets has a living tree that grows up through the roof of the pavilion and blends with the native grasses that are grown on the roof. 

Hundertwasser passed away in 2000 shortly after the toilets were opened, making them the final piece of art that he would produce in his lifetime. They may be working bathrooms, but his positively pulchritudinous public potties provide a little beauty while fulfilling their duty.

In partnership with KAYAK

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