Loos Talk…

Finding public conveniences on a day trip to any city can be a bit hit and miss. If you’re simply after cleanliness (which does seem like quite a good principle) the most reliable of Cambridge’s facilities have to be those with on-site attendants. John Lewis and the Lion Yard municipal lavatories in town, as well as Debenhams and the main loos in the Grafton Centre tend to be dependable options. Elsewhere, things might not be so peachy. Still, any port in a storm… Cambridge is, at least, well supplied with facilities, which is good news, and the City Council even provides a map so you can pinpoint your nearest. What’s more, if you choose your venue with care, you can be sure of an interesting building to visit.

It’s not often that a block of public loos can be said to enhance the spot where it’s located, but I feel a couple of my favourites – both designed by architects Freeland Rees Roberts – buck the trend.
Colourful loos on Parker’s Piece
The same block at night: Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 9 February 2006: www.andrewdunnphoto.com

The “Armadilloo” on Midsummer Common
I find the planning and thought that went into these facilities fascinating: from the need to make them complement their locations, to considerations of safety and functionality in response to a broad remit. The storage facilities in the Armadilloo not only house cleaning products; there’s also room for hay for the cattle that graze the Common. Mini case studies for these loos are available here, and make very interesting reading.

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