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Lavatory, Loo, The John, Water Closet, Pot, Restroom

 Toilets 4500 years ago.

Toilets 4500 years ago.

One of the better, space-saving bathrooms I have been in was in a burger joint in NYC. There was one large bathroom for everyone, which initially was confusing because the sign just said something to the effect of “Bathroom”, with no further distinction. Once you went through the door, you were in a “bathroom for all” with a large trough sink and several faucets along one wall, and separate toilet rooms with full height walls and real doors along the other. This saved quite a bit of circulation space without sacrificing toilet privacy. This public bathroom construction struck me as an ingenious solution for small spaces, accessibility compliance, and general uniqueness. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, this bathroom provided more privacy than any I have been in. The toilet rooms muffled sound, and kept anyone from poking their head over the stall door to see what you were doing. Of course, it also prevents people from being Good Samaritans and handing you toilet paper under the stall when you run out – always check before you sit! Though I suppose there are other issues this type of restroom does not solve, mainly regarding security and vandalism, it was a well enough occupied space that this wasn’t a problem. I pitched this restroom concept to a client once, and though they didn’t seem impressed, I see it as something we will all be seeing more of in the future.

 George Jennings invented the first public flushing toilet and installed it in London in 1851.

George Jennings invented the first public flushing toilet and installed it in London in 1851.

For some additional “bathroom reading”, check out this link. It talks about the history of bathrooms (indoor plumbing was invented by the Romans 3000 years ago) how many times the average person uses the bathroom per day (6), and what “paruresis” is. It also talks about trends and touches on what will need to happen to meet society’s expectations of today.

https://www.constructionspecifier.com/meeting-the-demand-for-privacy-in-bathrooms/

Written by Karen Klein, a project manager at Agora Architecture.