Designed by Detroit-based SmithGroup, these gleaming and curvy new toilets and kiosks will soon grace the streets of San Francisco, replacing the faux-Parisian loos and newsstands that have been lingering around—and degrading—since 1996.
In partnership with outdoor furniture company JCDecaux, SmithGroup won the contract over two other firms, MIN Design and Branch Creative, selected by the city’s Civic Design Review and Architectural Review committees.
The agreement covers 25 public toilets and up to 114 kiosks, which will rollout in the summer of 2021.
According to JCDecaux, 70 of the new kiosks will come with digital displays, 20 of them will offer a multi-service space dedicated to small businesses and neighborhood services, and 15 kiosks will feature interactive screens for civic information.
What’s more, 11 out the 25 new automatic public toilets will be supervised by paid attendants as part of the city’s Pit Stop program, a workforce development effort that pairs people in need to job reentry with a much-needed service. Prior to the Pit Stop program, San Francisco’s public toilets were infamous for being less than savory affairs.
Supervised toilet locations open as early as 7 a.m. and close as late as 8 p.m., but all of them have different schedules. A Pit Stop toilet can cost anywhere between $170,000 and $205,000 a year to operate.
Initially, the new toilets were to come crowned with concealed planter boxes to give them a green element. But, mercifully, that design was scrapped after the city’s Arts Commission and Historic Preservation Commission intervened, slamming the look as an aesthetic and maintenance nightmare.
San Francisco’s automatic public toilets recorded over 850,000 flushes in the last 12 months.