Looking loo-vly: winner announced in competition for royal park WC

The winner: the winning design features a tree at its heart. Press materials

A new design for public toilets in Warsaw’s Łazienki Park has been chosen in a competition. With its simple lines, the winner complements, but does not compete with, the park's historical buildings.

The annual Koło competition in Poland is open to students and young architects, involves designing a public toilet for a specific location. The designs need to house toilet facilities, but also look good, fitting in with the surrounding urban or natural environment.

For the competition’s 22nd edition, applicants were invited to design new public toilet facilities for Łazienki Park in Warsaw. One of the best-known outdoor spaces in Poland, the park is popular among visitors and residents, and hosts outdoor Chopin concerts during the summer.

The building does not compete with the classical buildings inside the park, including the Łazienki Palace.Press materials

Designers were asked to combine respect for the park’s historical heritage with modernity. They were also instructed to limit the facilities’ environmental footprint; for example, by using renewable or environmentally-friendly materials in their designs.

This year, the Grand Prix went to Dominika Bugajska and Marcin Trzaska, who designed a simple, modern building that houses toilet facilities and an inner courtyard with a tree.

With its minimalist style, the building does not compete with the classical buildings inside the park, including the Łazienki Palace designed by 18th Century Italian-Polish architect Domenico Merlini.

The competition comes with a first prize of PLN 19,000.Press materials

“The authors of the winning design entitled ‘Linkort’ aptly defined the relationship between the new architecture and the historic buildings in the Łazienki Park, avoiding quotations or literal interpretation of their specific style,” said architecture Professor Ewa Kuryłowicz, the head of the jury.

“Instead, they proposed to continue the narrative with a clear provenance from the 21st century,” she added, noting how the duo identified the existing buildings’ relationship with greenery and other elements.

The Grand Prix comes with PLN 19,000 (around EUR 4,280), with smaller cash prizes for the runners-up. The competition was organised by manufacturer of sanitary parts Gerberit in partnership with the Łazienki Park.

The competition is the first stage in building the Łazienki Park’s new toilet facilities. The location means that the winning design will need to be approved by the conservator of monuments for the Mazovian Voivodship, which includes Warsaw.