I am sure that most people who visit the beautiful Old Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco building (@BentlyReserve), spend time taking photos of the exterior and interior architecture. I spent time taking photos of the bathroom, which was the most unexpected surprise of the building’s experience – a clearly and deliberately designed all gender restroom.
What’s great about it?
- Each fixture exists in its own room – this is an all gender multi-stall restroom
- No gender-specific signage
- Clear demarkation of communal and private areas
We were at the building for a business meeting, so it was both enjoyable to see and experience the restroom as well as my colleagues who were experiencing it. I didn’t notice any distress, except maybe that a few men noted that for once, they were actually waiting in as long a line as women do for restrooms.
Single-stall all gender restrooms are the law in places like Washington, DC (see: Why doctors should care about gender neutral restrooms : health, safety, and equality, in Washington, DC, and we have seen the benefit of those.
multi-stall restrooms are the next important frontier because many buildings only have these types of restrooms, which limit options for public accommodation. There are some standards for retrofitting that you can find online, as well as cultural guides to help people understand the need for modern accommodation in the 21st Century.
I do have a question/hypotheses about these that I would love some feedback on from any architect/designer – does this design use space more efficiently than two separate gender segregated bathrooms? If there’s any data on this I would love to see it.
In the meantime, enjoy the photos, feel free to use them, and when in San Francisco, stop in to the Bently Reserve and take a look in the mirror.