Log in

No account? Create an account
29 June 2009 @ 12:59 pm
What drugs was that architect on?!?  
I just learned that there is a building on campus (McClung Tower, if you're familiar with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus) where the restrooms are at the stairwell landings, halfway between floors. So, for example, from the fifth floor, you go down half a flight to the women's restroom, or up half a flight to the men's restroom. This is something of a problem for one co-worker's mother, who has just returned to work part-time after hip replacement surgery.

Granted, the building does predate the ADA.

And there are actual restrooms on the top floor itself, rather than in the stairwell (and so my co-worker's mother can take the elevator up to the 12th floor every time she needs to use the restroom).

But what in the hell could have made someone think that was a good design strategy?

(Related to restrooms, but not as offensive to me: It may have been changed since I was last in Ayres Hall, but the restrooms there used to be labeled "Men - Faculty", "Men - Students", "Women - Staff", and "Women - Students".)
Current Mood: pissed offaghast
Ayoub™ayoub on June 29th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
That's definitely a weird building!
fae dobhranladyotterfae on June 29th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
The church my community choir rehearses at is similar in the old part of the building. The restrooms are at the landing halfway up to the sanctuary from the ground floor. (There are plenty of other restrooms since the rebuild, but I do wonder where some actually accessible ones were before that...)
Tim Illingworthtimill on June 29th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
You only need to provide one set of rest-rooms per floor, and no-one has to go up or down more than half-a-flight of stairs.

Equal inconvenience for all ;-)
browngirl on June 29th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Except for those with mobility issues, for whom it adds up to more inconvenience...
seawaspseawasp on June 29th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Which, if I read the post correctly, would not have been a consideration at the time of construction.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 29th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
You are correct; accommodating people with mobility issues wasn't a major design issue then.
pabsungenis on June 29th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Also, depending upon where you position them, you can use the space under a staircase for the restroom. There's a similar design ethic in modern movie theaters: the bathrooms are actually under the stadium seats of the larger auditoria.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 29th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
I can see where that makes sense for theaters, but I don't think it makes as much sense for an office building.
aedificaaedifica on June 29th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
You could post that to the Accessibility Fail comm in DW if you want. And I'm quite offended by the last item you posted! (I *am* a woman on staff... but half my department are men on staff, etc.)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 29th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
I just kind of sighed and laughed and muttered something about "changing times" -- I'm pretty certain those doors haven't been repainted in half a century.
Jim Hetleyjhetley on June 29th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Just as a quick architecty guess, the design created some dead space due to things like high-ceiling lecture halls with sloped seating. Some bright person, probably on a budget committee, said "We can't afford to do this. Cut the overall floor plan and put your toilets *here*."

Mobility issues used to be kept decently locked up in the closet. (Sarcasm alert, since you can't see my wry face . . .)

As you mentioned, pre-ADA.
Jettewolfette on June 29th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
ALL the houses in the housing development where my folks lived (and I grew up) have their bathrooms on the "half landing" between ground and bedroom floors. This means that you have to either go upstairs from the kitchen/living areas or downstairs from the bedrooms. NOT ideal for elderly or disabled.

madshutterbug: RN NurseRachetmadshutterbug on June 29th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)

Or possibly GoLightly.
suzilemsuzilem on June 30th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
suzilemsuzilem on June 30th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
Office building when I was working in Mexico City. Had the same restrooms on landing, but as a special added attractions there were no handrails (either on the wall or on the "non-wall" side of the stairs. Very interesting if you had to go "down" to the bathroom rather urgently.
tassie_galtassie_gal on June 30th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
The current Med Sci building at UTas has something similar with the door labeling. I think its Women - staff, Men - Staff, and the students had locker rooms and loos downstairs in the lobby. Although last I checked this was vaguely enforced - with a hand written sign on the third floor womens loo door at one stage last year reminding people it was for staff only.

The SO's building has that half stair loo thing as well. I think it was a fairly common design in the 80's. I have seen quite a few buildings like this in Oz.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 30th, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
I can see distinguishing between Staff restrooms and Student restrooms, on the grounds that Staff might not want to be accosted by students while using the facilities. The distinction that I found amusing, in a bitter sort of way, was "Men - Faculty" and "Women - Staff".
tassie_galtassie_gal on June 30th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
See I really need to learn to read properly, because I didnt notice that bit.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on June 30th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Is okay. I could have been clearer. :-)
Joseph Abbottfaxpaladin on June 30th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
I've been in a building like that, though I don't remember right now where it was...
une idee fixeideealisme on June 30th, 2009 08:25 am (UTC)
A bit like the Starship Enterprise - it's main design flaw being that there was nowhere for crew members to boldly go...
sciffy_circo: headdesksciffy_circo on July 2nd, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
break a leg!
After having back spasms and needing a scooter, having a roommate with MS, several friends with wheelchairs, broken ankle, and so on, I seriously think that before anyone is allowed to graduate school as an architect, they should have at least one of their legs broken, and stay in a wheelchair/ cast/ crutches for a MINIMUM of 6 weeks, so that they really do learn to feel our pain!