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This Portuguese Cemetery's Most Picturesque Feature May Be Its Bathroom

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Cemeteries aren't usually known for their bathrooms. Understandably, the architecture of graveyards is typically more focused on the people buried there. But mourners still need facilities, and it would be nice if they weren't disgusting. People may expect to catch a whiff of a ghostly presence in a cemetery, but they certainly don't want to catch a whiff of anything else.

As Dezeen spotted, a Portuguese graveyard just got a new public bathroom that should be the gold (or maybe green) standard for cemetery lavatories. Designed by the local architects at M2.Senos, the cemetery project in Ílhavo, Portugal is literally called "Where Is the Toilet, Please?"

An aerial view of the graveyard

A view looking up from the atrium of the bathroom

A view of the bathroom entrance through other structures in the graveyard

The architects redesigned the structure, which also holds an office for the cemetery’s support staff, to be smaller and less obtrusive than its predecessor. The green tile that lines the whole facade and roof is meant to help it blend more naturally into its surroundings, including both the cemetery and the church associated with it.

Everything about the boxy, geometric design is made to feel like an extension of the rest of the property. The floors are made with the same Portuguese pavement that the sidewalks around it are so that it barely feels like a closed building at all. The marble sinks are designed to mirror the gravestones outside, and the whole building is lit by skylights. There is no exterior door to the atrium that houses the men's and women's bathrooms. Instead, people walk into an open, cutout entranceway at the corner of the building that maintains the structure's unique geometric design.

Not bad for a public bathroom.

[h/t Dezeen]

All images by Nelson Garrido

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History
Hole Punch History: 131 Years Ago Today, a German Inventor Patented the Essential Office Product
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iStock

The next time you walk into a Staples, give thanks to Friedrich Soennecken. During the late 1800s, the German inventor patented inventions for both a ring binder and the two-hole punch, thus paving the way for modern-day school and office supplies. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 131st anniversary of Soennecken’s hole puncher—so in lieu of a shower of loose-leaf confetti, let’s look back at his legacy, and the industrial device that remains a mainstay in supply rooms to this day.

If Soennecken’s name sounds familiar, that’s because in 1875 he founded the international German office products manufacturer of the same name. (It went bankrupt in 1973, and was acquired by BRANION EG, which still releases products under the original Soennecken label.) Not only was Soennecken an entrepreneur, he was also a calligraphy enthusiast who pioneered the widely used “round writing” style of script. But he’s perhaps best remembered as an inventor, thanks to his now-ubiquitous office equipment.

As The Independent reports, Soennecken likely wasn’t the first to dream up a paper hole-punching device. In fact, the first known patent for such an invention belongs to an American man named Benjamin Smith. In 1885, Smith created a hole puncher, dubbed the “conductor’s punch,” that contained a spring-loaded receptacle to collect paper remnants. Later on an inventor named Charles Brooks improved on Smith’s device by finessing the receptacle, and he called it a “ticket punch.”

For unclear reasons, Soennecken was the one who ended up being remembered for the device: On November 14, 1886, he filed his patent for a Papierlocher fur Sammelmappen (paper hole maker for binding), and the rest was history.

“Today we celebrate 131 years of the hole puncher, an understated—but essential—artifact of German engineering,” Google said in its description of the Doodle. “As modern workplaces trek further into the digital frontier, this centuries-old tool remains largely, wonderfully, the same.”

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architecture
Need a Dose of Green? Sit Inside This Mossy Auditorium
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Lecture halls aren’t known for being picturesque, but a new venue for lectures and events in Taipei might change that reputation. Inside, it looks like a scene from The Jungle Book.

As Arch Daily alerts us, a new lecture space at the JUT Foundation features textile art that makes it look like its interiors are entirely covered in moss.

The JUT Foundation is the arts-focused wing of a Taipei construction company called the JUT Group, and its gallery hosts talks and other events related to art and architecture. Designed by the Netherlands-based architects MVRDV, the 2500 square feet of greenery-inspired lecture hall is lined with custom carpeting designed to look like moss and biologically inspired textiles by the Argentinean artist Alexandra Kehayoglou.

A close-up of green, yellow, and red textiles fashioned to look like moss

A view of the back of an auditorium that looks like it's covered in green moss

Made of recycled threads from a carpet factory, the handmade 3D wall coverings pop out in a passable imitation of a forest ecosystem. The mossy design—which took a year to complete—pulls double duty as a sound buffer, too, minimizing the echo of the space. If you have to pack into a lecture hall with 175 other people, at least you’ll be able to pretend you’re in the middle of a quiet, peaceful forest.

[h/t Arch Daily]

All images courtesy the JUT Group.

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