Exploring public toilet design in western culture: challenges and responses for the twenty-first century

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McMurtry, Mary Ellen
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Public toilets are the missing link in Western Culture and are the last spaces in architectural projects that are planned, designed, and budgeted, perhaps because they are viewed as unsafe, unhygienic, dirty, stinky, and lacking. This practicum applies theories of disease, toilet privileging, gender-segregation and boundaries articulated by Clara Greed, Barbara Penner and Kathryn Anthony, among others. The project investigates sites at Osborne Station, Pan Am Pool and St. Vital Centre located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The proposed Osborne Station public toilets are designed to meet the needs of a variety of transit users. The Pan Am Pool requires various zones to meet the requirements for women, families and unisex spaces. The St. Vital Centre public toilets are designed as a place to visit where gender boundaries are blurred unconventionally. The zones blend spatial areas that range from gender-segregated to those that are openly accessible to everyone. This practicum project proposes models for improving the design of public toilets through education and by implementing alternative regulations that should be considered for inclusion into the National Building Code of Canada.
toilet, discrimination, gender, segergation, interior, boundaries