British-style pissoir goes on architecture shortlist

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The Independent Online

New public lavatories in Hampshire, based on the more open French pissoir are on a prestigious shortlist for the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award.

Listed with the transformed Trafalgar Square and an ancient timber railway viaduct, the loos could not be more different from the dank, tiled prototypes found in towns and cities across the country.

The toilets in Brockenhurst, commissioned by New Forest district council, have a steeply pitched roof clad in zinc. "We wanted to break away from the traditional, dark and smelly public toilet," said Magnus Strom, of John Pardey Architects.

"This was achieved by a steel frame, enabling the walls to be lifted off the ground and the roof to hover above the walls.

"These gaps have more in common with a European sense of openness about private functions, such as the French pissoir, yet sightlines are carefully controlled to maintain a more English modesty."