How can inclusive design approaches improve private spaces within public spaces? The Inclusive Design Graduate Research Group Studio experimented with new notions about the public toilet, and, in so doing, attempted to change attitudes about these facilities that resonate with the broader population. The Buffalo Grain Elevators, considered both shelter during disasters and as new space for public events, were the site for these investigations.
Although public toilets are critical components of urban environments, more often than not, they are marginal spaces used only as a last resort. Public lavatories, which juxtapose private bodily functions with streetscapes, challenge architects to consider criteria that are often overlooked in the design process: sensory experience, equity, identity, socio/cultural appropriateness, psychological/behavioral issues, gender and age issues, timing, flexibility, safety, security, cleanliness, convenience, and comfort.
Beth Tauke, Professor