The San Francisco Arts Commission has approved a plan to replace the 25 public toilets and 114 advertising kiosks around the city. The Art Nouveau structures, dolled up in forest green and gold, could be replaced by contemporary, streamlined structures by JCDecaux.
But the new bathrooms and kiosks must clear two additional hurdles: Next stop is a visit to the Planning's Historic Preservation Commission. If and when approved, the city’s Board of Supervisors will vote whether or not to green light the designs.
According to Hoodline, the fixtures would come with a new 20-year contract with JCDecaux, the French company who designed the current models.
“The days of trying to be Paris are gone,” Mohammed Nuru, director of the Department of Public Works, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We don’t need to borrow from other cities to give us an identity. We have an identity of our own.”
But not everyone is pleased with the clearly contemporary look, a stark contrast to the gold accents and rounded shapes seen since the mid-1990s. Both supervisor Aaron Peskin and Darcy Brown, executive director of San Francisco Beautiful, slammed the gray, minimalist appearance.
“The designs are hideous,” said Brown.
The bathrooms and kiosks would also feature digital billboards.
But the larger question as to whether or not the loos would become clean and safe spots remains. Over the years, the current bathrooms were bastions of drug use and other nefarious activities.