As more commercial and institutional spaces begin to reopen around the country, health experts have repeatedly warned of the potential dangers of sharing close quarters with others, which has encouraged renewed questions regarding the safety of public restrooms. Commercial restrooms have often been approached from a strictly utilitarian perspective, starkly designed and commonly lacking the space required to develop the programming necessary for privacy, cleanliness, and comfort –– not to mention, the complexities associated with gendered restrooms, which have long been the subject of debate. Facility managers now face the daunting task of keeping these restrooms clean and safe through short-term and long-term changes to their design and maintenance.  

touchfree restroom
Automated technologies are easy to retrofit into a current space, offering quick and easy hands-free alternatives to improve hygiene and minimize the number of surfaces people come into contact with.

Convenience and durability were once the two most important considerations in restroom design, according to Patrick Ventker, team principal, and Rachel Robinson, design director, of Ted Moudis Associates, an architectural interiors firm headquartered in New York City.

“Now, user health and wellbeing have become equally important, touching as few surfaces as possible and ensuring the ability to deep clean those surfaces,” Robinson says.