The Upper West Side’s Riverside Tennis Club, inside the sprawling Riverside Park, may be getting new public restrooms, complete with composting toilets, designed to meet the strict Living Building Challenge standards. Proposed by Rick Cook of Cook + Fox, the eco-sensitive latrine building would use the best green technologies and promises not to disrupt the park’s environment. The proposal includes an adjacent garden, and it would use ground water and solar energy to create a low impact facility for patrons of the tennis club and park.
The innovative project would construct a green building that is partially submerged under the park, saving energy while not disrupting the flow of the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed park. Currently, a surface parking lot occupies this space. Since the park has no sewer system and little electricity, Cook had to literally work with the land to come up with a proposal. Adhering to the Living Building Challenge, which aims for buildings to be net-zero in water usage, the building would harvest rain water for toilet use and irrigation.
Photovoltaic panels would be scattered in tree-like formations to power the building, and the bathrooms would be outfitted with Clivus Multrum composting toilets. The proposal also indicates the possibility of using the bounty of the composting toilets as fertilizer for an adjacent wildflower meadow, which also acts as a raingarden for storm water management.
The project is still being reviewed, but the new facility would be a welcome improvement from the Port-a-Potties that currently sit in the park.