Gabriel Huerta

Gabriel Huerta

Los Angeles, CA, US


Gender Gradients

The Metro station at Pershing Square is the site of one of many self-cleaning public restroom modules scattered throughout Downtown Los Angeles. In its state of disrepair, the self-cleaning module exists as both an eyesore in the public realm and as an object of no critical significance. The desire of the proposed intervention is to create an object of value, a new public restroom form that would persuade users to approach something that is presently held as undesirable.

Public restrooms are ruled by a convention of binary organization based on gender segregation. On the other hand bathroom fixtures do not share a discrete binary design and are instead based on the idea of universal design and the one-size fits all solution. The attitude in this project then is to question these held conventions so as to allow for new possibilities to emerge.

The design strategy was to reorganize the public restroom based upon a gradient, with the two polar extremes being based on gender specificity. The opportunity this gradient afforded was a grey area of gender specificity through a multiplicity of fixtures.  The grey area allows for unisex fixtures that can be used interchangeably to an extent of individual personal comfort. The gradient clarity is further convoluted by applying the transformation strategy upon other public restrooms fixtures (e.g, handgrips, mirrors, and wash basins) and through interplay between fixture and ornament (using fixtures as decoration) so as to blur the functional clarity.

The linear transformation of the fixture is made spatial by folding the animated line. This folding creates a variation of fixture adjacencies and spatial conditions that offer different degrees of privacy and gender segregation. ADA standards are taken in account as a way to discipline function and add constraints to fulfill turning radii and the height placement of fixtures. 

The fabrication of the bathroom fixture and of the public restroom structure itself explores the process of slip-casting. As a modular wall assembly, the building is a steel diagrid frame encased from the interior and exterior by both slip-casted panels and functional bathroom fixtures.

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Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US