Yes, it’s a bathroom, a public toilet, a roadside rest stop. But it happens to be an unusually stylish roadside loo, on one of the world’s greatest roads. This month, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration opened Ureddplassen, a $2 million installation near the town of Gildeskål along the Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten. This spectacularly restful rest area features a few simple block benches of “Norwegian Rose” marble from the town of Fauske—the same stone used in New York’s United Nations building—and a lovely viewing platform of amphitheater-style steps facing the small beach and the open sea, ideal for gazing at the aurora borealis during the winter or the midnight sun in the summertime. Ureddplassen’s remarkable frosted-glass toilet building, designed by Oslo-based architects Marit Justine Haugen and Dan Zohar, has been created to evoke “a sense of poetic solitude as it complements the natural landscape of Norway.” Perfect.
But this is more than just a new highway rest stop. Ureddplassen pays tribute to the 42 men who died in February 1943 when their Royal Norwegian Navy submarine, the HNoMS Uredd, hit a sea mine laid by the German ship Cobra. Divers discovered the wreck just off this point in 1985, and the following year, the Norwegian government declared the site a war grave. Ureddplassen features a memorial sculpture, unveiled by King Olav V in 1987, atop a new marble base.
The longest of Norway’s 18 scenic routes, the magnificent Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten, Road 17, runs 270 miles between the towns of Holm to Godøystraumen, crosses the Arctic Circle, and includes six ferry transfers.