Public Toilets and Kiosks on Ecatepec-Nezahualcoyotl Bike Lane
Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico
LANZA Atelier (Isabel Martínez Abascal + Alessandro Arienzo)
David Flores (Construction foreman)
Casa de proyectos
Toilets and kiosk were proposed as permeable pavilions with a microclimate favored by the presence of plants, a small oasis in the harsh climate of the bicycle track. Within the overall slab of each group of toilets, there are four double modules deployed in swastika. Each of these modules is a vacuum with a glass cover, so that when you enter them you are going outside. Three other openings, designed as small courtyards, are located over the beds of plants that cross the roof slab into the sun. Finally there is not a clear distinction between being inside and outside. Kiosks are planted intermittently along the bicycle track. Its walls are also located in swastika with benches and tables that are embedded in the walls of block, using the gaps left by it as formwork. At each kiosk there is a central patio traversed by a large palm tree. Both for the construction of toilets and kiosks, concrete blocks and steel sheet walls painted white, were used. The landscaping project incorporated one hundred new trees. Vines covered the fence that divides the avenue and the bicycle track, creating a green division between traffic and cyclists, joggers and pedestrians. Palm trees are generally located within the kiosk in the small central courtyard and jacaranda trees are planted in a more organic arrangement within the bays. Bamboos were used only in toilets modules to create a visual division between male and female toilets. Common sinks are located in the central space favoring the respectful coexistence of all users.
Ecatepec is a marginal area in the State of Mexico on the north outskirts of Mexico City. It has historically been a district with one of the most severe crime rates in the country, and where the government proposed to build a new bicycle track on the remaining linear land between the Avenue and the train tracks. When commissioned to design toilets and shadows for the bicycle track, we saw an opportunity to achieve common spaces at a very low cost in an area that urgently needs qualified public infrastructure. Thus, we proposed three modules of baths and 7 pairs of kiosks intended to create a democratic urban fabric. Both typologies sought to explore the gradations between interior and exterior and the ability of an extremely simple initial program to host the richness and unpredictability of life. We also tackled the project as a educational tool to foster the coexistence of genders in a very segregated area, thus, men and women share the common spaces of kiosk and toilets in an atmosphere of tolerance.
Within this plane, people will go to the bathrooms not just for the necessity of using them, they are also crossing from one way to another, playing hide and seek with the modules and enjoying the freshness of the shadow. People wait for others inside de bathroom’s patio, resting. We designed a bathroom building that is currently being used for many different activities because of the common open space. The kiosks function as a resting and eating space. Parents love staying inside of them, beneath the palm trees while their little kids play at the playground or go for a ride on the bike lane. Children host little picnic on the fixed tables of the kiosks resting beside the walls. The main program became secondary and the people understood the building as a meeting area where a variety of activities converge.