IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 20

"PROGRESS IS
SLOW, BUT IT
DOES MOVE."

20

perspective

iida.org/perspective

Photos by: (previous page): Bernhard Lang/Getty Imsges; (right) Sally Montana for IIDA

F

For centuries, gender stereotypes have defined the needs,
experience the space are comfortable.
wants, and abilities of men and women-dictating their
Although the issue has sparked controversy in
very roles in society. But norms be damned. A seismic
conservative parts of the United States-states such as
social shift is redefining what gender means and whether
Texas and North Carolina have attempted to dictate
it matters at all. The tremors of this change are being
through law that people must use public restrooms
felt globally in both large and small ways by government,
based on the gender on their birth certificate-there
business, and culture alike.
are many governments and companies working genderIn October, California became the first U.S. state
neutral restrooms into their design. In July, Scotland's
to recognize nonbinary gender on birth certificates.
government unveiled plans for gender-neutral restrooms in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA-based retail giant Target
public schools. And as part of his blueprint for future city
announced in July the release of gender-neutral clothing
planning, London Mayor Sadiq Khan detailed guidance for
for children. And, in November, London, England-based
the building of more restrooms across the city, including
Topshop announced its fitting rooms would become
gender-neutral toilets to help transgender and nonbinary
gender-neutral.
people feel comfortable.
It's a flashpoint that resonates with younger
According to Yelp, which advertises whether a business
generations, spawning a new way of thinking and
has a gender-neutral bathroom, there are more than
igniting advocacy in young adults. In fact, 27
160,000 businesses in the United States with
percent of people ages 12 to 17 in California,
gender-neutral bathrooms.
USA, say they are viewed by others as
"Progress is slow, but it does move," says
gender nonconforming at school, according
Maxwell Ng, AIA, OAA, former steering
to a survey from the Williams Institute at
committee chair of the Massachusetts
the University of California, Los Angeles
Transgender Political Coalition and current
(UCLA) School of Law and the UCLA
architect, Gensler, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Center for Health Policy Research, released
"It was only 60 years ago that the physical
MAXWELL NG,
in December.
environment had 'colored' versus 'white' spaces,
AIA, OAA
For interior designers, this burgeoning
whether it was bathrooms or drinking fountains
shift is manifesting in physical spaces. It is
or restaurants. That's not long ago in the span
challenging long-held norms associated with color, textiles,
of humanity."
and end users. No longer is gender an
David Cordell, LEED AP, NCIDQ, WELL AP,
automatic factor in determining an
senior technical coordinator, sustainability leader, and
interior's outcome. Instead, designers
associate principal, Perkins+Will, Washington, D.C., USA,
are creating spaces that serve all
says institutional clients, healthcare, higher education,
potential users-male, female, or
and primary and secondary schools see it as an equality
ungendered. It's simply another part of
component and part of an anti-discrimination policy. "For
-Maxwell Ng , AIA, OAA
universal design, says Royce Epstein,
corporate clients, it's definitely about supporting antiInd. IIDA, LEED AP, A&D design director for Mohawk
discrimination, but it's also a way of conveying that 'we as
Group, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
an organization value you as an employee, and we celebrate
"The design discussions about gender aren't really about
diversity and what makes us all different. Being inclusive
the binary or male-female because people are coming up
matters to us.' So it's kind of a message to employees about
with their own definitions of who they are, and it's not
their value to an organization, which I think is a really
even our business to ask that anymore," she says. "It's
powerful statement," Cordell says.
expanding on that idea of accessible to make everybody
But there still is the question of what these spaces
feel welcome, no matter what their personal situation is."
should look like. Although there are no established best
practices, Ng says one way to approach a unisex restroom
Restroom Redesign
is to think practically and divide each stall into a separate
As the rights of transgender and nonbinary people become
area. Ng has seen this approach work well at Google's
a part of the mainstream, so too has the conversation
offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, where eight
around gender-neutral public restrooms. Much like
rooms-four on each side of a corridor-each have its own
public buildings, which must be equipped with ramps and
toilet, sink, and changing table.
elevators to allow access for people using wheelchairs, the
Gensler warns against seeking a one-size-fits-all approach.
move to genderless restrooms is about ensuring all who
In research and roundtables for the 2017 Gensler Design


http://www.iida.org/perspective

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018

IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018
From IIDA
Contents
Next
World View
Sum of Its Parts
Talk, Talk
Data Viz
Pre/Post
I Design
Redesigning Gender
The Real Deal
Supermarket Shift
Safe Spaces
Ready for Takeoff
Scratch Pad
Insider Intel
IIDA News + Updates
Why This Design Works
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Cover2
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - From IIDA
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Contents
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 3
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 4
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 5
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Next
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 7
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 8
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 9
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - World View
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 11
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Sum of Its Parts
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 13
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Talk, Talk
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Data Viz
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Pre/Post
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - I Design
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Redesigning Gender
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 19
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 20
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 21
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 22
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 23
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - The Real Deal
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 25
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 26
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 27
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 28
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 29
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Supermarket Shift
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 31
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 32
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 33
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 34
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 35
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Safe Spaces
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 37
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 38
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 39
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 40
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 41
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Ready for Takeoff
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 43
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 44
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 45
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 46
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 47
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 48
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 49
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Scratch Pad
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 51
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Insider Intel
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 53
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - IIDA News + Updates
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - 55
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Why This Design Works
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Cover3
IIDA Perspective - Spring 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2019fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2019summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2019spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2018fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2017fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2017springsummer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2016fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2016springsummer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2015fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2015springsummer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2014fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2014springsummer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2013fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2013springsummer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2012fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2012springsummer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2011fallwinter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2011springsummer
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com