Design initiative makes inclusive bathroom research available

Rendering of bathroom layout.
Stalled! airport section annotations.
Graphic courtesy Business Wire

Stalled!, a design initiative launched as a direct response to the controversies in the United States surrounding transgender access to public restrooms, has launched an open source website Stalled! Online, making three years of inclusive bathroom design research available to the public.

Stalled! shifts the terms of the debate by reframing the issue of public restroom access as a design challenge that addresses an urgent social justice issue: the need to design safe and inclusive public restrooms, not only for the transgender community, but for everyone, irrespective of age, race, gender, religion and disability.

Stalled! creates economical restroom prototypes that can be adopted and deployed across the US, while meeting the needs of the diverse people and activities that take place in restrooms. This truly inclusive approach benefits the transgender community, but also many others, including caregivers of all ages, breastfeeding mothers, those who need to administer medication, devout individuals who need to perform religious rites and people with both physical and cognitive disabilities.

“While many progressive institutions are committed to bathroom equity, they are working in isolation to come up with viable solutions without the benefit of a consistent approach that considers the broad social, political, economic, and architectural dimensions of this complex problem,” said Joel Sanders, principal architect, Stalled! and professor of architecture at Yale University. “Stalled! solves this issue by raising awareness for the design need, developing best practice design guidelines, and lobbying to amend legal codes that govern the construction of traditional restrooms.”

Stalled! is comprised of a cross-disciplinary research team – architect Joel Sanders, trans historian Susan Stryker, and legal scholar Terry Kogan. With the support of the New York Chapter of the AIA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Sanders and Stryker unveiled Stalled! Online and presented findings from the initiative at the AIA National Conference in New York City.

Following the success of Stalled!, the cross-disciplinary team behind the initiative will form MIXdesign and apply inclusive design principles to everyday building types, such as offices, museums and libraries. MIXdesign intends to take inclusive design beyond the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.