A transdisciplinary project about designing more inclusive public bathrooms has just been awarded one of two Innovation Awards by the AIA. Stalled!—a project led by architect Joel Sanders, transgender historian Susan Stryker, and legal scholar Terry Kogan—takes on the national controversy surrounding trans individuals’ access to public bathrooms through the lens of design. The timing of the award could not be more apt, with the Trump administration proposing to limit the legal definition of gender as the biological sex assigned at birth, affecting the roughly 1.4 million Americans who identify themselves as trans or as a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth, a status currently protected under civil rights laws. The AIA Innovation Award recognizes projects that inventively implement technology and new practices in the management of a building’s lifecycle. By offering research and design standards for more inclusive bathrooms, Stalled! moves beyond polarized rhetoric to present practical design solutions. The project tackles the norm of the sex-segregated bathroom in three areas: offering best practice guidelines for all-gender, multi-user bathrooms; amending the International Plumbing Code to allow for such design interventions; and conducting outreach and education efforts within the design and institutional community about the alternatives. According to Stryker, a professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona and an expert on transgender history, culture, and politics in the U.S., the single-sex public bathroom is discriminatory against a wide range of individuals and not just those who are trans. These include people with disabilities whose caretakers are another gender identity, those who are gender-nonconforming, and fathers who need to take their daughters to the bathroom. A commonly offered solution—the single-user, all-gender bathroom that supplements the male and female bathroom—“replicates the idea of separate but equal” by creating a segregated space for those who are not cisgender or identify either as male or female. According to Stryker, the multi-user, all-gender bathroom that Stalled! advocates for simply works better, and installing such a bathroom does not even require ideological agreement about what gender is. Retrofitting an existing set of facilities or creating a new one “doesn’t take up more space, and meets all of these needs. It’s powerful, simple, and elegant, and offers equity of access,” added Stryker. A case study on the Stalled! site shows a retrofit of the Field House at Washington, D.C.–based Gallaudet University, featuring an inclusive changing room and bathroom. Stalled! also features an airport bathroom prototype that separates the bathroom into three zones for grooming, washing, and using the toilet, rather than by male and female users. Beyond bathrooms, the principles of inclusive design can extend to other public spaces as well, and the project team from Stalled! has begun a startup called MIXdesign that will apply this approach to other institutions that have historically excluded those who are not able-bodied, cisgender, male, and white. The debate about gender identity and public space appears to be far from over, and if the record of the Trump administration's measures against recognizing trans or non-binary gender identities is any indication, it appears this will be a protracted issue in the coming years. In the meantime, Stalled! offers itself as an online and real-time resource for design professionals and institutions seeking to make their bathrooms more accessible to all.
Posts tagged with "AIA Awards":
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the winners of their 2017 Innovation Awards. This annual recognition by the AIA's Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community honors architects and designers for the implementation of new practices and the innovative use of technology in the built environment. The awards are divided into five categories: Stellar Design; Project Delivery & Construction Administration Excellence; Project Lifecycle Performance; Practice-based or Academic Research, Curriculum or Applied Technology Development; and Exemplary Use in a Small Firm. The four winning projects for 2017 include: The Bahá’í Temple of South America, designed by Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects, is honored for Stellar Design. Located on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, the design of marble and glass paneling focuses on the interplay and reflection of light, both within and outside of the temple. These glass panels were developed specifically for this building through machine-to-machine fabrication technology in order to create their irregular shapes and unique light-capturing qualities. During the day, natural light reflects into the dome-shaped glass structure, creating a stellar lustrous performance. At night, the opposite happens, the light from inside the temple reflects towards the majestic outside landscape of the Andes Mountains. The temple demonstrates innovation through its material, technological and structural composition, which is designed to withstand extreme earthquakes, a reality of the area. The Yard at The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in collaboration with CharcoalBlue and Bulley & Andrews, is also recognized for Stellar Design. The design features an electrochromic facade clad in tinted transformational glass, which is designed to adjust with the outside light, becoming more opaque during daylight hours and clearing up as the sun diminishes in the evening. This technology serves to alleviate the effects of glare and heating from natural light, which reduces energy needs for cooling inside of the building. The performance venue also allows for reconfiguration and flexibility to accommodate different performance types with audience sizes ranging from 150 to 850 people. Garden Village, designed by Nautilus Group and Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects, is recognized under the Project Delivery & Construction Administration Excellence category. Located in Berkeley, California, the design is admired for striking an impressive balance between dense, yet open community living. Constructed entirely through modular building technology, the apartment complex is composed of 18 detached buildings connected by a network of walkways and garden areas. Two module types compose the entire project, with every detail refined in full-scale mock-ups as in the automobile industry, allowing for cost savings. This high-density living situation is focused on sustainability and community bonds–no parking spots are provided for the residents, but instead, bike parking, discounted transit tickets, and on-site car-sharing services are made readily available. The individual building rooftops also serve as urban farms and produce up to 16 tons of harvest every year. The Reality Capture Workshop of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture is recognized for their project in Volterra, Italy, under the Practice-based or Academic Research, Curriculum or Applied Technology Development category. This workshop-style initiative provides a unique international research experience for students and professionals working with innovative reality capture technologies such as 3-D computer modeling, laser scanning, drone and camera capture of historical architecture in the ancient city of Volterra. No winners were chosen for Project Lifecycle Performance and Exemplary Use in a Small Firm. This year's jury was chaired by Matthew Krissel, AIA, partner at KieranTimberlake, and included Tyler Goss, innovative development manager at Turner Construction; Paola Moya, Assoc. AIA, CEO and principal at Marshall Moya Design; Jeffrey Pastva, AIA, project architect at JDavis Architects; and Brian Skripac, Assoc. AIA, vice president and director of virtual design and construction at CannonDesign.
All barn jokes aside, this is great news for the Louisville firm of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop. They received one of the AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, allegedly the first Kentucky project to do so since Michael Grave’s cash register, the Humana Building. The barn is an operations facility for Mason Lane Farm and it’s really kind of amazing. Let’s hope that this becomes a rags to riches design story and that we see bigger, more amazing projects coming from De Leon & Primmer. Now that Museum Plaza was knocked off the drawing board, there’s room for a new iconic tower in Louisville. (Photo: Courtesy De Leon & Primmer)
AIA Chicago announced their 2012 awards, to be officially presented tomorrow at the chapter’s annual meeting. Firm of the year goes to Farr Associates, whose sustainable design credentials include seven LEED Platinum projects, two net-zero-energy buildings and three LEED-Neighborhood Developments. Farr was the first firm in the world to rack up three LEED Platinum projects. The New York Times’ Keith Schneider once called them “The most prominent of the city’s growing cadre of ecologically sensitive architects.” Eco-urbanists are in good company these days, and it seems a timely choice by AIA to highlight a firm so actively involved in the hard work of implementing smart growth and sustainable design. Valerio Dewalt Train’s Matt Dumich took the Dubin Family Young Architect Award. Dumich was project architect on VDTA’s upgrade of Bruce Graham's First Wisconsin Plaza and was previously honored with the 2011 Building Design + Construction 40 Under 40 award. His firm’s work includes a revival of the Staybridge Suites project at 127 W. Huron, and the University of Chicago’s Early Childhood Center. AIA is also awarding three Distinguished Service Awards, recognizing "outstanding service to the Chicago architectural community." Lynn Becker, mastermind of the essential ArchitectureChicago PLUS blog, Paul Knight of the residential energy-efficiency consulting firm Domus PLUS and the University of Illinois Chicago’s Vincent Paglione will be recognized by AIA’s board at 3340 N. Kedzie Ave., December 7.