Contemporary Design in Secondary School Washrooms

Contemporary Design in Secondary School Washrooms

School washrooms are no longer the tiresome, hum-drum environments they once were. Gone are the days of function over form, today some of the most dazzling commercial washrooms can be found in the education sector. Here we take a look at how secondary school washrooms can be a sanctuary of contemporary design.

There’s a train of thought that says if you give people something worth caring for, then they’ll take better care of it. However, we know from experience that this is not always the case – I’m sure many caretakers will agree. However, today, we don’t have to make such a compromise over something that looks beautiful and modern, and rugged durability.  We are at a time when some of the most hard-wearing washroom items are made to withstand the wear and tear of the commercial environment, including bus stations, hospitals, motorway services and of course school washrooms. If your secondary school washrooms are scheduled to be refurbished, give thought to bringing them up to date with a revitalised and refreshed new look, and still maintain that high durability.

Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) Cubicles

One of the biggest strides forward with contemporary washroom design has been the diversity of solid-grade laminate. The colourway options now available are staggering, meaning you can incorporate your school colours and even contrast panels against each other.

Because solid-grade laminate is completely impervious to water, it can be used in wet areas such as shower blocks and changing rooms, for both cubicles and wall cladding. Vanity units can also be made from this material giving you complete flexibility and control with the design, not to mention a seamless finish. What makes SGL so attractive, is that it can be made to custom sizes, meaning you get complete control and can work to any tricky dimensions your building might have.

Toilet cubicles are no longer one-size-fits-all and full-height cubicles are becoming incredibly popular. With this option, the cubicles go right from floor to ceiling, meaning there is no open space, creating a solid partitioned wall appearance. This not only makes the washroom look and feel more high-end but is widely regarded as a deterrent for bullying.

Colossal HPL Full Height Toilet Cubicles

Technology that improves washroom hygiene

Developments in technology have meant two things in the commercial wash space. Hygiene and energy efficiency have been improved, and the price has come down significantly since the early days of sensor activation. Sensors streamline your washroom both in terms of functionality, and design. There are no protruding moving parts to contend with, which is great from a maintenance and cleaning point of view, but more importantly, they mean users never need to touch the flusher, the tap, or the hand dryer – all areas responsible for the spread of bacteria.

The hand dryer has perhaps seen the biggest advancements in recent years and high-power dryers like the Dyson Airblade are a common sight in school washrooms. These efficient machines have energy-saving properties and dry hands in a fraction of the time of traditional ones. They also play into the whole low-maintenance and easy-clean benefits too. Technology is your friend when it comes to secondary school washroom design and refurbishment. Toilets and urinals will never again be left unflushed, nor will urinals be left to flush on a timed cycle, often wasting water.

Dyson Airblade 9kJ Hand Dryer

The perception of space

A minimalistic approach is good on many levels. Most often you'll be left with less maintenance, as well as the feeling of more space. Choosing toilets that are wall hung, means the space beneath them is clear. This makes the cubicle and room appear bigger but is also easier to clean - delivering a practical benefit as well as an aesthetic one.

RAK-Resort Rimless Wall Hung Toilet with Hidden Fixations | Wrap Over Seat | Commercial Washrooms

A row of hand basins can look cluttered, especially with all the individual waste pipes hanging beneath. Long solid surface wash troughs deliver an effortlessly modern look to your washroom and again, are much easier to clean. We’ve found this solid surface wash trough to be very popular in secondary school washrooms and comes within the Ultra Flow washroom.

Mirrors, light and deterring bad behaviour

Consider large format mirrors across the wall where the wash troughs are. Not only can users check themselves before leaving the room, but a large volume of light will be reflected around the room, making the room feel much bigger. In secondary school washrooms spacious, well-lit areas can help deter unwanted behaviour.

Unisex washrooms, a modern approach

Washrooms designed for both male and female users are increasingly common. This move has been quite controversial in some instances, but in large part due to misunderstanding. The communal part of this type of washroom is the hand washing area, with male and female cubicles still being segregated, sometimes in rooms that come off the hand wash area. This approach makes the washrooms easier for staff to monitor, as male and female teachers can enter the main wash area.

Durability and vandal-resistant features

Of course, no washroom escapes the risk of accidental damage and some schools may be prone to vandalism to varying levels of severity – no doubt you will have a track record to refer to. In areas where durability is a major concern, that doesn’t mean you need to completely disregard the aesthetics. For example, take a look at the Stature Bold from our Virtual Washrooms. This balances a modernist approach with the Thrii Anti-vandal Recessed Hand Wash & Dryer Unit. Historically, units like this used to be very rugged and unattractive, but thanks to advancements in technology and more focused attention to modern design, they can now be incorporated into almost any washroom environment without the washroom looking like an abandoned public toilet.

Things to bear in mind

If you’re about to undertake washroom refurbishment within a secondary school, know that you can strike that balance between good looks and tough durability. Be sure to consider low-maintenance and easy-clean options, as many of them also happen to look slick, sharp and smart. Do use colour with your wall cladding and cubicles, it can break up a clinical-looking washroom and above all, consider your end user. Contemporary design is a powerful driving force in today's commercial washroom, and secondary schools are no exception.

As always, our team are at the end of the telephone for all your queries and questions and has a wealth of knowledge they’re happy to share with you. So if you need some guidance, or would like to talk over your options, you can give them a call on 01202 650900.

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