LA Union Station serves over 100,000 passengers daily, from commuters to interstate travelers. Over time, the historic station lacked the restroom capacity needed. To address this problem, the project team studied locations for new restroom facilities and the modernization of the existing. The team concluded the best location for new restrooms was an unexcavated space adjacent to the existing restrooms.
This new space would nearly double the toilet and lavatory capacity, without reducing rentable square footage or negatively impact historically significant spaces. Excavation of this new space was challenging; the space was sandwiched between finished occupiable space, the historic building foundation, and unexcavated dirt. The team’s goal was to provide a space that station patrons would appreciate.
The overall design is a modern twist on the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne aesthetic that characterizes the historic station. Full-height tile partition walls provide travelers with privacy and security. The tile motif was inspired by the gorgeous historic tile found throughout the station. Outside of the new restroom space, a new corridor was created in a previously back-of-house storage area.
The new public corridor is adorned with tile painstakingly developed to match the historic tile found on the adjacent passenger concourse walls. As a public terminal, Union Station experiences a great deal of daily wear-and-tear. Therefore, the challenge was creating a public restroom that could hold up to the harshest mistreatment.
A vacuum plumbing system, commonly used in correctional facilities, was specified and designed to withstand the flushing of unconventional objects. Also, durable materials were selected, to ensure they would hold up over time. The end result is a set of restroom facilities with a capacity that meets the station’s needs, reducing patron wait times, and providing a safe, private, and visually appealing atmosphere for the daily visitors’ restroom pitstop..