The Bidding War to Design San Francisco’s Public Toilets

San Francisco has a need to revamp its public toilets and architectural firms from all over were on it. Design renderings produced and a bidding war began and soon enough it was down to 3 in the running:

SF Curbed reports this rundown:

Branch Creative
“Distinct textured metal surfaces and curved façade indicate their purpose, whether for way-finding or use of the facilities… On both the single and double toilets, the curved ends create a sense of place for tourists and attendants, while discouraging loitering.
…The perforated metal facade on the sidewalk and street side of the structure allows passive and active ventilation and can be illuminated with neighborhood specific digital signage and/or graphics. The interior color and lighting can be adapted to reflect the diversity of San Francisco’s eclectic districts.

SmithGroupJJR
Trees levitating above the San Francisco urban landscape landmark much needed amenities while bettering the environment…The new kiosks and ‘toileTREEs’ line contrastingly [sic] different neighborhoods from downtown’s concrete jungle to the multiple urban parks, enhancing each by reflecting the character of their surroundings. Adaptation of the structures are achieved through the materiality’s reflectivity and resilient surface.

MIN Design
“The urban structures’ shell compliments varying neighborhood contexts through immediate visual adaptability…The structures’ exterior envelope is welcoming with a clean, crisp and fun appeal not often associated with publicly used amenities, but very much representative of the city’s influence on technology. The shell can also become activated by advertisements, transforming the forms into colorful and interactive pieces.”

San Francisco’s Department of Public Works (DPW) then left it up to the city’s Civic Design Review and Architectural Review committees to pick a winner, and now SF Weekly reports that Detroit-based SmithGroupJJR (with offices in San Francisco) got the nod for their chic, sleek, strange, space-age pod design with living roofs.

SmithGroupJJR designers pushed a green-tech vibe with their offering.

Their design includes both toilets and kiosks that they contend will accent any environment, writing in an April brief:
“Trees levitating above the San Francisco urban landscape landmark much needed amenities while bettering the environment…The new kiosks and ‘toileTREEs’ line contrastingly [sic] different neighborhoods from downtown’s concrete jungle to the multiple urban parks, enhancing each by reflecting the character of their surroundings. Adaptation of the structures are achieved through the materiality’s reflectivity and resilient surface.”

“It’s not a bad choice – the design closely matches the aesthetic of the new BART canopies,” says the folks at SFWeekly. “Some of which are already under construction. And, the new toilet designs are way better than some of the other proposed options, which embraced an old-fashioned Brutalist aesthetic.”

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