Catherine Joseph, Whitney Odell | FXCollaborative
To start, we have assumed as our baseline parameter the necessity of the toilet. We further adopt the sentiment that toilet room access is a basic human right. Thus, knowing from our previous study that gender is a non-static construct, we eliminate it as a primary design parameter. Instead of beginning with two separated spaces, we instead begin with a total count of toilets and lavatories derived from current code requirements. We then considered the function of the fixtures included in the public toilet room. These are, simply, a toilet, a sink, and a mirror. By many accounts, the sink and mirror may function in tandem. We have chosen to separate the three fixtures entirely, for the specific reason of acknowledging their different purposes. Distinguishing the use of the sink and mirror, and emphasizing the order in which they are accessed becomes important when discussing the configuration of the fixtures and one’s procession through the space. Thinking more specifically about the spatial configuration and circulation of the toilet space led us to consider the organization of the fixtures. Because we have presumed a basic level of privacy, we might refer to the toilet as a toilet compartment. We have further presumed that the toilet compartment contains some type of sanitary disposal, as is already located in a women’s toilet compartment.
In October 2017, FXCollaborative spent an afternoon rethinking expectations of toilet rooms. An internal design charrette, Bathrooms Rebooted presented each team with a different design brief. One team addressed restrooms in airports. Another team studied toilet rooms in a Broadway theater. Two teams considered bathrooms in university buildings. Although the briefs were an idealized situation—i.e., there were no space constraints and ADA was loosely adhered to—the outcome included spatial configurations, and discussions and ideas beyond that. With only a brief introduction to the ideas presented in this paper, questions of privacy, and of procession and of the tools of elimination, emerged.