Most people that go to UW actually have no idea where Winkenwerder Hall is. I don’t really blame these people because it’s literally surrounded by trees, and since the building’s primary structure is wood and glass, it blends in with its surroundings. No doubt that’s what the architect had in mind. It’s the forest sciences building after all. I’m taking a ton of ESRM classes this quarter so I happen to be spending a lot of time in that building. Needless to say, plenty of opportunities have arisen where I need to use the bathroom before/during/after a class.
One of the biggest problems about Winkenwerder is that there’s only one pair of bathrooms in the entire building. That’s not saying much, considering the building is only three floors, but the basement floor is all storage space. Most offices and classrooms are on the other floors, which means walking down two flights of stairs both ways just to go pee for 15 seconds. That’s some bad planning by the architects right there.
Like I said earlier, Winkenwerder is mostly made out of wood, glass, and stone. A lot of the walls and ceiling structures are just plain glass for the most part. This gives the whole building a really open, bright (as Seattle permits) feel to the entire place. It’s clearly trying to scrape up some LEED certification points. Whatever points managed to get were probably all lost when the LEED council looked at the sorry-ass bathrooms in the place. It looks like the dungeon where all the environmental science professors lock up the kids they caught throwing something recyclable into the wrong garbage can or some shit. It’s all cinder block walls and concrete floors and a dim compact fluorescent lightbulb so it looks like all the rooms in the insane asylum that Halle Berry was locked up in in the movie Gothika. The whole thing is just too damn depressing. How can you pinch one out in such dreary conditions?
Not only that, there’s only two urinals and one stall for the entire building. Imagine the traffic that gets built up in there a couple hours after lunch time. The line’s bad enough after my 2-hour lecture, man. That’s just inefficient planning, man.
When I used it today right after my lecture, though, there wasn’t a wait at all. That’s pretty impressive considering I just got done with a lecture with about 50 people. The only other guy in there was a professor taking a shit. He was causing quite a ruckus in that stall. It was the loudest I’d ever heard someone prepare themselves for pooping. His bag kept hitting the door for whatever reason, he was coughing and making other bodily noises of various frequencies, he was rustling the life out of the toilet seat paper cover thing, and after he was done he let out an impressive shart that might have dimmed the CFL bulb a little bit due to its intensity. The best part about all this was his goofy-ass straw hat poking above the wall. You could tell by the hat that this was an old guy, and old guys are funny because of the amount of fucks they don’t give about pretty much anything. He was probably impressed about what he just did, and you definitely knew he did some impact assessment before he flushed. As funny as imagining all of this was, I was reminded of the harsh reality of using the public restroom when I had to wash my hands in the sink that was built freaking right next to the stall so I had to get a whiff of this old dude’s shit. That was the thing that pissed me off the most about the entire bathroom. Put the sinks somewhere further away so you can avoid all that shit.
Winkenwerder’s bathroom sucks for a myriad of reasons. It’s small, dim, windowless cavern of a room that experiences a high traffic rate, and is even more depressing when contrasted to the rest of the building, which is actually pretty cool. It’s also the only bathroom that I know of in the entire building after extensive searching for alternatives. In my opinion, the Winkenwerder bathroom should be avoided as much as possible except for those urgent times right after a lecture. Even this early on into the game, it’s evident that there are much better alternatives.