This is a guest post from Antonina of OpenBuildings – a community-driven and openly editable encyclopaedia of buildings from around the world. 

It happens so everybody needs to visit them once in a while. For many of us in Europe and the US there is nothing public about the programme they accommodate so these inescapably important amenities have become a sort of a grey zone in public buildings (yep, that’s what they are). People around the globe – and in history – have developed their unique perception, level of open-mindedness, fair share of humour and own terminology for public lavatories. Whether it’s the ‘restroom’, the ‘loo’, the ‘house number 00’ you need to visit or you just happen to ‘powder you nose’ once in a while, it is a fact worth noting that these small public amenities are a challenging opportunity for inspiring design .

Rural Studio: Perry Lakes Park Bathrooms

Rural Studio: Perry Lakes Park Bathroomsimage: flickr user whipple_ansley

BKK Architects: Calder Woodburn Rest Area

BKK Architects - Calder Woodburn Rest Areaimage: John Gollings

Wang Xing Wei & Xu Tian Tian: Jinhua Architecture Park Public Toilets

Wang Xing Wei & Xu Tian Tian: Zhejiang Public Toiletimage: flickr user 扯淡小烤鸡

Saunders Architecture: Aurland WC 

Saunders Architecture - Aurland WCimage: Todd Saunders

X-Urban Associates: Public Toilet in Shenzhen

X-Urban Associates - Public Toilet in Shenzhenimage: chinesearchitects.com

Bunzo Ogawa FUTURE STUDIO: Hiroshima Park Restrooms

Bunzo Ogawa FUTURE STUDIO: Hiroshima Park Restroomsimage: Toshiyuki Yano

Miro Rivera Architects: Trail Restroom

Miro Rivera Architects: Trail Restroomimage: Priston Design/Miro Rivera Architects

NRAP Architects & Plastik Architects: Gravesend Public Toilet

NRAP Architects - Plastik Architetcs: Gravesend Public Toiletimage: shape-east.org.uk / NRAP Architects & Plastik Architects

Shuhei Endo: Halftecture O

Shuhei Endo: Halftecture Oimage: Shuhei Endo

Shuichiro Yoshida: Tokinokura Lavatories

Shuichiro Yoshida: Tokinokura Lavatoriesimage: Sadamu Saito