If you’ve never felt anxious while entering a restroom, consider yourself fortunate. Restroom discrimination is still pervasive, from anti-trans bathroom segregation discourse to the lack of accessibility features for persons with disability.
With all this hostility toward the call of nature comes some good news: A local competition is making a case for investing in public restrooms by showcasing designs that marry functionality and beauty. Who doesn’t want great bathrooms to be the norm?
In celebration of Pride Month and in honor of accessibility awareness, the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) – Sugbu Chapter hosted an inclusive public bathroom design sprint called “Restroom for All.” The organization aims to challenge students and graduates to open a conversation about public bathrooms for the LGBTQIA+ and persons with disabilities. It also hoped to create a dialogue about what it means to be inclusive and non-discriminatory—which should be the bare minimum, TBH.
Winners were announced on June 26. Apart from their beautiful well thought-out designs, their design essays are also available for viewing.
In first place is “Kasilyas Para Sa Tanan,” described by the winning team as a “economical and space-saving” communal restroom that can serve 400 users.
Their radial two-zone shared toilet design has features that cater to individuals’ physical abilities, age, SOGIE, and religion. “Aside from fully enclosed toilets and urinals with deep enclosures for visual privacy, we allocated single-use toilets equipped with [disability]-friendly features, ablution facilities for Muslims, and baby changing stations for parents carrying their infants,” the team wrote. “The interiors are also designed with contrasting colors and color-coded zoning to provide better way-finding for people with color blindness, as well as signages with braille for the visually impaired. The restroom is also equipped with low sinks and [a] urinal that can cater to children.”
The design “OOO” came in second place, is a single-use restroom that doubles as a bike rack and outdoor lounge area. “Kinaiya,” a design that modernizes local architecture and includes bathroom stalls, won third place.
Encouraging people to design with inclusivity as the priority not only helps affirm its importance but also paves the way for reducing barriers for all kinds of people. Now, we have to pressure our local and national leaders to use taxpayer money to fund pro-people public structures, as opposed to this viral “stairway to heaven.”