Built ProjectToolkit

SSoA Around The Toilet

Year | 2015
Location | Nomadic
Client | Around The Toilet

The SSoA ‘Around The Toilet’ Live Project group is a multi-disciplinary team of students from Sheffield School of Architecture.

The client, ‘Around the Toilet’, is a cross-disciplinary, arts-based research group that has been exploring the toilet as a place of exclusion and belonging. Researchers on the project are based across three Universities. The research has explored the challenges and politics of access to public toilets for groups such as trans, genderqueer, non-binary people and disabled members of the public through participatory workshops.

The team worked with ‘Around the Toilet’ to spatialise and formalise their research findings into tools that can be used for engaging the public, as well as decision makers, in the future.

This process has involved the production of an architect’s toolkit, an installation and a game. These outputs raise awareness of difficulties surrounding the accessibility of public toilets within the public domain of the city and provide ‘Around the Toilet’ with an engagement tool which has a legacy beyond the timescale of the Live Project.

The installation disseminates the findings of ‘Around the Toilet’s’ research by creating an interactive game. Participants are given a scenario and persona card and the aim is to find a ‘toilet’ which meets the needs of the scenario. The aesthetics and structure of the installation adopts a design language, which is common to toilet cubicles. Using copper plumbing fixings and pristine white acrylic panels to produce a demountable, nomadic installation. The participatory game is designed to be informative and encourage discussion animates this low-tech, tent like copper structure.

The architect’s toolkit is a set of documents that draw together the research carried out by Around the Toilet and the Live Project teams work to inform professional architectural practice. The toolkit contains an evaluation guide of existing regulations, an architect’s design guide, a glossary of terms and a precedent study booklet. Aimed at architects, town planners and local authorities, this suite of documents evaluates existing regulation and poses questions about the accesspibility and equitability issues surrounding toilet design.

It is hoped that the Live Project team’s design-led response to Around the Toilet’s research will enable them to continue to raise awareness about the challenges and politics of accessibility to public toilets, as well as educating designers and decision makers.

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