Thursday, August 21, 2008

How many square feet does it take to make a functional public restroom?

As the library staff and building consultant are working on the draft of the building program, I am learning all sorts of new things - like how many square feet to allot for public restrooms in an expanded library building lobby! (640 total for mens/womens/family, in case you were wondering)

The building program sets the parameters for the architect's design, including everything from allotments for study rooms of various sizes to how big the janitor's closet needs to be. In the process, one discovers that there are standard sizes for things like shelving, seating, and workstations. But you also discover that you have to make allowances for everything from the interior walls (a standard percentage calculation for "nonassignable" space, as it turns out) to the storage of tables for the meeting rooms.

Going beyond the standard calculations is where things get more difficult. Your library staff is wracking their brains to try to remember all the good ideas they have heard from you about space. For example: including a second chair to accomodate both parent and child at the Children's area PCs. Staff have made notes for months on this, compiling them into lists of items that require a space allotment, interior design notes, exterior design notes, and ideas for green design.

The draft of the building program will be posted here as it nears completion. In the meantime, you can help by submitting your idea here: or jotting it down on a suggestion box slip at the library! It's your library, so let us know what you want. What spaces/features would make your library experience better?

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