Royal flush: competition for design of public toilet for Warsaw royal park opens

Last year’s competition winner. KOŁO

Poland’s annual competition for the best public toilet design is on a roll again with designers challenged to come up with a design befitting the auspicious surroundings of Łazienki Park in Warsaw.

Now in its 22nd edition, the KOŁO competition is open to students and young architects. Each year, they are invited to design a public toilet for a specific location in Poland. In addition to housing toilet facilities, the designs usually aim to blend into the surrounding urban or natural landscape. Some incorporate ways to reduce waste or save energy.

“The 22nd KOŁO Competition is a pretext to discuss the deficit of public toilets in urban spaces in Poland,” said Justyna Zborowska, PR and advertising manager at manufacturer of sanitary parts Geberit group, which is organising the competition.

The design should take into account the distinctive surroundings of Łazienki Park in Warsaw.Leszek Szymański/PAP

“We strongly support the #stayathome initiative, and because the competition is almost completely online and requires remote work on materials provided by the organisers, I believe that this is a very good moment to encourage young people to take creative action,” she added, referring to the Polish authorities’ measures encouraging people to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading.

This time round, applicants are being invited to design toilet facilities for one of the best-known outdoor spaces in the Polish capital, the Łazienki Park. The facilities would be built on the site of the Northern Łazienki.

The challenge will be to combine respect for the park’s historical heritage with modernity. Applicants are being asked to follow in the footsteps of Domenico Merlini, the 18th-century Italian-Polish architect who built a number buildings in Warsaw in the classical style, including the Łazienki Palace and several other buildings inside the park. The competition’s slogan is “Merlin’s Concept – the past for the future”.

Previous designs have shown amazing creativity.KOŁO

Sustainability is part of the competition, with applicants instructed to use renewable or environmentally-friendly materials, incorporate renewable energy sources, and design solutions that support green behaviour among Warsaw’s residents and tourists.

The competition is organised by Gerberit in partnership with the Łazienki Park. The winner will receive a prize of PLN 19,000 złoty (around 4150 euros), with smaller cash prizes for runners-up. The deadline for submissions is May 8, and the results will be announced on June 22.

The global coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of access to public facilities where people can wash their hands.