We first saw them on the 1990’s tv drama Ally McBeal but they are gaining greater popularity these days and many have become sources of design creativity.  I’m talking about gender neutral bathrooms.  It’s rare to discover a public restroom that could be called inspiring but some of the designs for gender neutral bathrooms have transformed the way we think about privacy, the public, and space. One of the most popular designs for gender neutral bathrooms is the “single-occupancy” which has its own door and full height walls between stalls with sinks typically shared in a common area directly outside the toilet rooms.  Here are a few stylish and modern examples from around the world:

Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos Vegas Altas Spain

Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos Vegas Altas in Spain

farang-restaurant6 stockholm

Farang restaurant in Stockholm

new heights restaurant shanghai

New Heights restaurant in Shanghai

pak loh times square restaurant hong kong

Pak Loh restaurant in Hong Kong

The-Cake-Restaurant-Kiev

The Cake restaurant in Kiev

Gender neutral bathrooms tend to be less expensive to construct while offering increased privacy and taking up less space within the floorplan. This can be a great benefit for a restaurant or building that is focused on a modern and innovative design.  These floorplans show a few possibilities for how gender neutral restrooms can dovetail into a design.  

alamo drafthouse austin-gender-neutral-bathrooms

Alamo Drafthouse in Austin

gender-neutral-restaurant-layoutMoss Architecture and Design

Signage for gender neutral restrooms can be a design element themselves. Proving that design can expand many boundaries including new styles for communications around public spaces and identities.

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Top, from left, all-gender restrooms at the Whitney; the University of Utah; Founding Farmers restaurant in Washington, DC. Center, from left, the Folk Art Museum; Civic Hall; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bottom, from left, the Whitney; Hampshire College; Barnard College