Located across the street from the 1920’s-era Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach’s historic Washington Square Park, this new restroom & maintenance facility replaces an outdated and under-performing building. The new structure provides a secure and accessible public amenity for a diverse community including native Chinese, long-time San Franciscans, young hipsters, families, tourists, and homeless.
As the former facility was considered both an eyesore and security risk with its hidden entries and dimly illuminated surroundings, this contemporary structure, through its siting and choice of materials, offers a clean, accessible and durable building that complements its historic setting while providing a safe and visually appealing convenience within the park.
A dialogue between lightness and weight, ephemerality and durability characterize this building. Its perimeter clerestory glows at night to softly announce the building’s presence and provide safe access, while above the roof appears to float lightly in counterpoint to the concrete walls below. The serrated surfaces of the durable walls add texture to the concrete and reference neighborhood clapboard residences, as the generous steel barn doors provide security while preserving a sense of openness and transparency. Overall, the scale and texture of the building relate to the surrounding residential neighborhood as the roof and the entries open out in a welcoming gesture.
Washington Square Convenience Station serves a much-needed function, but is also an example of how design excellence can improve the lives of people by bringing dignity and civic pride to even the most mundane program.
Material Used :
1. Architecural Grade Concrete - Cemex
2. Exterior Tile - Heath
3. Interior Wall Tile - Daltile
4. Wood Soffit - Port Orford Cedar
5. Steel Bar Grating - Grating Pacific
6. Steel Frame Door and Fence - Orsogril