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From the Resene News – issue 2/2016

Playing with colour - William Nelson Park public toilets

From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries

Resene Total Colour Awards 2015
Strikingly designed and coloured William Nelson Park public toilets

William Nelson Park is the transformation of a flat city block on the edge of the central business district in Hastings into a vibrant urban park fusing active skate and scooter zones with passive areas and a children's playground. To service this park a new site specific public toilet was included as part of the landscape design plan, anchoring one corner of the park. The council's aim was for the toilets to match the quality of this new park.

The angular paths that lead you around the park express a strong sense of movement and it is this active and edgy geometry that has inspired the form of the new toilets. The angled precast concrete walls are treated more as freestanding landscape elements than building walls, reinforced by floating an asymmetric butterfly roof above them, with their face 'decorated' with timber battens. These battens break the blank canvas temptation the walls may offer would-be taggers and extend up into the space between wall and roof to provide security while letting air and light flow through the internal space.

The concrete and timber elements of the building could be quite heavy and austere by themselves and as the toilets are adjacent to the children's playground section of the park it was decided that the lively playground colour palette should be used to inject a sense of fun. Two colours were chosen, the primaries of blue and yellow.

William Nelson Park public toilets are designed with striking anti-grafitti elements

The yellow, Resene Sunflower (sour yellow) in Resene Uracryl, on a vertical surface would be too much of a temptation to taggers so was used on the roof soffit floating over the building, making a striking splash and wonderful contrast to the blue sky. The clear concrete walls with the timber battens are already detailed enough so Resene Tory Blue (cheeky blue), a toned down version of the blue used on the equipment, is used as solid panels of colour on the walls with timber battens finished in Resene Colorwood English Walnut (nut brown). Steel doors and steelwork are finished in Resene Uracryl Sandstone (grey brown) and Resene Grey Friars (warm grey).

Being a public toilet probably the most important consideration in design is robustness and an ability to prevent vandalism but when the inevitable happens, that graffiti can be removed without damage. Resene Uracryl was the obvious solution. Concrete panels were sealed with Resene Aquapel and then clear coated with Resene Uracryl in a low sheen finish.

While housing a simple function the building seeks to offer more than is expected and is given a decorated sculptural quality to encourage the community to look after it.

William Nelson Park public toilets use Resene Uracryl for graffiti protection

William Nelson Park public toilets are designed with striking anti-grafitti elements

Architectural specifier: Brent Scott, Citrus Studio Architecture
Building contractor: Waipukurau Construction Ltd
Client: Hastings District Council
Landscape design: Isthmus Group
Painting contractor: Napier Painting Contractors
Structural engineer: Stratagroup Structural Engineers

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