All-Gender: Reflecting on the University's public restrooms

Seminar IRGE WiSe 23/24

“Public restrooms are far from marginal or unimportant social spaces. Instead, they are―and always have been―consequential sites in which ideology, institutions, and inequality collide (Davis, 2020).”

In this seminar we intend to reflect from the discipline of architecture on finding spatial solutions for creating more social justice in relation to the public restrooms at the University of Stuttgart. The idea comes from the Gender Equality Office and the University Management joining a debate that several universities have already addressed: how to provide safe, sustainable and inclusive public toilets in the educational environment regardless of age, gender, race, religion or disability.

The first step in tackling this issue will be, on the one hand, to investigate the evolution of public toilets and the factors that have determined their current form, and on the other hand, to look closely what the situation is at the university at the moment. In this sense, students will study case studies from other times, realities and contexts while at the same time analyzing their everyday situation at the University of Stuttgart. Their reflections will be shared in class with their classmates.

The highlight of the seminar is a one-week workshop in which five examples of existing public toilets at the University of Stuttgart are first analyzed in detail and then redesigned in teams of two. Students will document these five built and social environments and propose an inclusive alternative that address the all-gender requirements. We will invite experts in the field to this workshop to contribute their experiences and perspectives. The aim is to have a finished proposal by the end of the week, so that students can use the time until the public presentation to work on the narrative of the design proposals.

Reflections from the workshop will be presented in a public act at the end of the course and documented as a basis for continuing future projects of the University.



Remarks on teaching format (online or in person), proposed online-tools, group work, selection process, etc.

The seminar will be delivered in a hybrid format divided into:

_Four online sessions in Webex on Mondays from 10:00 to 13:00

_A one-week face-to-face block workshop from 30.10. to 03.11.

_A face-to-face presentation of the results at the end of the course (February).

Interested students will be selected by interview/ motivation letter

The work in the workshop will be individual for the research part, in pairs for the design part and in groups for the final presentation.

The first date of the course will be announced separately.

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