Bowl, bath and beyond

December 20, 2011 

The Hollywood Bowl’s bathrooms will be freshening up in the off-season. Photo/L.A. Philharmonic

The 2012 summer lineup has yet to be unveiled, but Hollywood Bowl patrons can already start looking forward to one sure-fire crowd-pleaser:

New and improved restrooms.

A $3 million makeover, unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, calls for reengineering restroom layouts, replacing plumbing fixtures and in general rethinking how to make the intermission bathroom break a better, brighter part of the concert-going experience.

Bathroom traffic has long tended to freeze up outside the first stalls, so bold new graphics inspired by the Bowl’s Art Deco architectural style are being developed to let patrons know that they should keep moving in order to get to more facilities inside.

The Bowl's current state of affairs.

The design as currently proposed would include state-of-the-art sustainable features, such as waterless urinals and lightning quick Dyson hand dryers. The green theme wouldn’t end there. Green floors are being proposed as a way of bringing a suggestion of the outdoors into stylish white-black-and-stainless-steel interiors. Indirect lighting would help illuminate what are now dark and dated spaces.

There are other practical improvements envisioned as well, such as new partitions to provide greater privacy around the urinals.

“We’re trying to really increase the experience, the magic of the Hollywood Bowl” by making the restrooms “more accessible, more usable and lighter,” said Mark Rios of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, whose firm is undertaking the renovation project during the Bowl’s off-season. (The firm also designed the new Civic Center park, now under construction as part of the Grand Avenue Project.)

Julie Smith-Clementi, who is heading up the Bowl bathroom project for Rios Clementi Hale, said the idea is to keep things durable while losing the current “park restroom” ambiance. “Because it is the Bowl, it’s dressed up a little bit,” she said of the new look being developed.

In all, a dozen restrooms—six men’s, six women’s—will be renovated at the county-owned facility. The money for the refurbishing will come from Proposition A park improvement funds.

It’s high time for a makeover, according to Russ Guiney, director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, which operates the Bowl in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“These facilities show signs of deterioration due to their age and the extremely frequent usage during the performance season,” Guiney said in a letter to supervisors. The loo re-do “will enhance the function and appearance of the facilities for patrons and help to reduce maintenance costs.”

The supervisors’ action Tuesday enables the Philharmonic Association to obtain funding for the project while the final design planning progresses.

Posted 12/20/11

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