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Design to the Rescue at LaGuardia

Design to the Rescue at LaGuardia

The restrooms got a major makeover at LaGuardia Airport, reports the Wall Street Journal:

The design is getting a lot of attention. Instead of a countertop that typically is wet and dirty, trough-style sinks have an outer edge that slopes down toward the drain. There’s a shelf above for bags, but no countertop for puddles.

Chunks of reflective glass are embedded in the floor tile, not only making them sparkle but also making them appear cleaner than they may be. “Drips get masked by the glass, so you don’t see a trail of water someone leaves,” says Derek Thielmann, LaGuardia Gateway Partners project director for design and construction.

Stalls were designed to be easier to use and easier to clean. They’re wider, with an area to store roll-aboard bags and still swing the door open. Hooks for coats, backpacks, purses and carry-on bags are mounted on stall walls, not the back of the door—hanging heavy bags on restroom doors bends them out of alignment over time and makes them harder to close securely.

Toilets are mounted to the wall instead of the floor so cleaners can actually mop underneath them. Stall dividers are hung from the ceiling rather than bolted to the floor—easier to clean the floor that way, and there isn’t hardware to rust on the floor.

And each restroom has two entrances and a partition in the middle. If one part needs to be shut down for maintenance, only half the restroom is blocked off, not the entire facility.

And New York isn’t the only airport with restroom design improvements:

In Atlanta, sensors installed in paper-towel, toilet-tissue, sanitizer dispensers and plumbing fixtures alert custodians through an app to outages, leaks and overflows. Los Angeles International and Atlanta have both installed some Tooshlights—red and green lights, similar to parking-garage technology, that show whether a stall is available or occupied without having to push on or peer under the door.

This is a start. Air travel is one area ripe for a design overhaul.

Photo: Bathrooms that resemble ones in four-star hotels have made a big impression on travelers at LaGuardia. A lot of design effort and money went into the restrooms. © Jeff Goldberg/Esto/LaGuardia Gateway Partners

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