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A Room in the City

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San Francisco, CA, USA



City of San Francisco

Project Team:
In collaboration with: Studio VARA
Project Team: Neeraj Bhatia, Christopher Roach, Cesar Lopez, Jared Clifton

Invited Competition

The current San Francisco restrooms act as hermetic objects that do not engage with their urban surroundings. Instead, we propose a porous object that welcomes the city and the plurality of its citizens to flow through this ‘urban room.’  If the urban room enables the frame that gathers a collective within the city, can the idea of a room be productive to consider how privacy can be enabled in public? The present toilet, while designed to accommodate only the most basic sanitary services, offers a rare moment of privacy in city. The range of activities that transpire within this room go beyond its basic program; from changing, to praying, to breast-feeding, and being vulnerable, the toilet offers a room for the individual within the bustle of the city. Amplifying this, we propose to extend this room and include both a garden and skylight to acknowledge this reflective space of privacy. Accordingly, our scheme erodes the object to create both an urban room as well as a space for the individual. Through an aggregated modular approach, these ‘mass-customized’ rooms are able to precisely engage a diverse series of sites. From restroom to washroom to bathroom to powder room, cultural distinctions name this space differently. What is agreed upon is that this is a room in the city. Both an urban room that reaches outwards and a reflective space for the individual, our scheme enables a range of uses and users to find their space in the city.