The Idea Of Universal Design Architecture Essay

There are many misconceptions environing the thought of cosmopolitan design. Peoples frequently believe that supplying the handicapped with signage or a incline is sufficient and patterns the ideals of cosmopolitan design. What people must understand is that cosmopolitan design is about supplying these necessary comfortss to the disabled without segregating them from the norm of society.

It is besides approximately making a infinite that can defy multiple environments and the crazes of clip as a dateless creative activity. In a universally designed universe peoples differences are non highlighted by constructing use but are designed for and make seamlessness between users. The bottom up theory is looked to by many interior decorators when set uping cosmopolitan infinite ; “ it works on the premiss that the edifice users, the designer is functioning include those with disablements are all people who can be treated as normal people [ 2 ] ” and with this you must get down at the underside of the pyramid and purpose to make the top and achieve universal design. Questions to see when planing a universally designed infinite may be how this infinite will react to different environments or epochs and as the user or users change what will be the response to how it is used.

Universal designed has been outlined and defined into seven rules that can be applied to a broad scope of countries including architectural infinites to merchandise design.

  1. Equitable usage
  2. Flexibility in usage
  3. Simple and intuitive
  4. Perceptible information
  5. Tolerance for mistake
  6. Low physical attempt
  7. Size and infinite for attack and usage

Access Living Headquarters

Access Living is an organisation that started in the early 1970 ‘s and has been committed to rehabilitation and growing of handicapped peoples by the support of handicapped peoples. This company has personal with a battalion of disablements and alone challenges that they encounter. In March 5, 2007 LCM Architects lead by spouse John H. Catlin, FAIA designed entree life ‘s chief central office in Chicago with non merely a cosmopolitan focal point by as a sustainable design way. This 50,000 115 West Chicago Avenue. concern footmark for Access populating genuinely reflects the mission of the company and reinforces their ideals to authorise the options available to differences of others. It has been awarded “ the Barrier Free America Award from Paralyzed Veterans of America ; A sustainable design award from AIA ; the Trend Setter Award from Friends of Downtown ; LEED Gold Certification ; and a Silver Award from the Association of Accredited Architects ” .

Design Solutions

“ LCM designers started the vision of cosmopolitan design, by taking an accessible location ” and sing edifice attack. The edifice is no more than two blocks from the local train ‘s belowground station and from the metropolis coach. This close relationship non merely encourages green transit but it provided for utilizations that may non hold other manners of transit and its premier location allows for people from multiple locations to be able to utile this characteristic with easiness. In add-on to the consideration of close propinquity, the garage of the edifice has designated infinites that allow for electric vehicles to be recharged for usage.

As users approach, the edifice integrates two kerb bead offs seamlessly added to let for users coming from street degree and for wheelchair lifts to hold a “ direct path to the chief edifice entryway ” [ 4 ] . Being in a colder clime of the United States, architect Catlin devised a solution to cover with iced pavements in the winter months by planing a het concrete pavements and good illuminated attacks. All of these characteristics lead straight into the entryway of the edifice that is separated by two sets of skiding doors that open straight off the pavement. These doors have a broad gap of 60 inches to let for easy mobility or two wheelchairs in passing.

Once you enter in to edifice for entree life, its good designed interior anteroom infinite and furniture choice leaves you no hint that this infinite is universally designed. LCM designers and there squad of interior decorators took close consideration into their interior picks being scruples of spacing, stuffs, colourss and constellations so this truly was a universally accepting infinite. “ Universal design has a close relationship to human factor and biotechnologies. As a procedure they both attempt to see the abilities and restrictions of users when developing a merchandise or edifice an environment. [ 5 ] ” All of the furniture came from the Steelcase, so a choice piece could be duplicated in several signifiers to include with arms/without, adjustable or basic systems that encouraged alteration as necessary. Using a individual maker line allowed for a broad scope of siting picks to read and flux seamlessly. Within this constellation ample infinite is giving for wheelchair move ability and integrating within a personal or big group interaction. Multiple chair highs are included for users of all statures and “ clearance below some of the seating is unfastened to let the user to force up to the standing place with their leg musculuss [ 6 ] ” .

A usage characteristic within the anteroom is the response desk ; “ Lehner points out that the response country underscores the cosmopolitan design. “ “ A individual nearing the response desk in a wheelchair should hold the same ability to utilize it as a individual who does n’t hold a disablement. That ‘s the premiss behind the full design-no 1 uses a back door or side door, and no 1 uses a incline. Everybody comes in the same door and uses the same lifts ” ” [ 8 ] . Unique to most response desk, the primary dimension is at a wheel chaired accessible “ antagonistic tallness of ( 29-30 ” AFF ) ” [ 9 ] . Based on the guided attack to the desk articulatio genus and toe infinite is carefully designed and supply for. The response desk does besides include a little part at the standard tallness of 42. Much consideration was giving to the response side of the desk because this would be the primary and full clip user of the millwork. The desk maintains the counter tallness and electrical mercantile establishments are placed at the terminals of the counter opposed to across to minimise the demand for users to strive to make across counter span. The employee besides is provided with a really accessible attack to their work station and a turning radius within, leting for a 360 grade wheelchair turning radius.

Beyond the response desk, cagey inclusions of cosmopolitan rules are utilised to help with user move ability throughout. Two lifts with dual entry points allow users to travel rapidly in and out without the demand of turning within a little confined infinite. The lifts are besides big plenty to back up four wheelchairs within. Along with the maximization of mobility within the lift Architect Catilin incorporated province of the art exigency usage engineering for the deaf and caput of hearing and enlarge lift buttons placed at a cosmopolitan accessible tallness. Each of the floors of the Access Living Company, are colour coded so users can easy place vicinity and way. This colour coding procedure is a fantastic tool to help the immature kid to aged and people with all timers. This would besides extinguish the defeats of acquiring off the lift on the incorrect floor, like so many of us have done. Once on a floor users, will detect ample floor infinite as to non to experience constrained by close furniture constellations and for wheelchair passing.

The high traffic and countries of emersion are ingeniously deigned with a floor boundary line that lines the walls so the visually impaired can easy use this tool to steer through the floors. To a user with no sight impairments this merely appears as an aesthetical characteristic because of how good it integrated throughout. This characteristic is a premier illustration of how cosmopolitan design rules do non foregrounding the differences of users.


In planing the Access Living headquarter LCM Architects, incurred many obstructions in making a infinite that was non merely cosmopolitan, sustainable but besides aesthetically and functionally functional. With their primary focal point on making a cosmopolitan infinite they rapidly learned that “ what works for one disablement does n’t ever work for another, [ 10 ] ” Lehner says. As a cosmopolitan interior decorator you must larn to equilibrate the integrating of adjustments so they are non swayed by a peculiar user. “ That ‘s nowhere more evident than in the flooring. Lowest common multiple discovered through research that rug, contrary to popular belief, serves people with MCS by pin downing contaminations that would otherwise remain airborne. It besides offers grip for people utilizing canes. “ But rug can be hard to negociate with a wheelchair, ” says Catlin [ 11 ] ” This is a great lesson to be learned because when people think a disablement they excessively frequently merely think of wheelchair users. After choosing a cloth that architect Catlin thought would be perfect for all of the users in the infinite he rapidly had to return to the pulling board after one employee had an epileptic ictus from the intense patterning of the flooring. This is one illustration of the many troubles faced in this undertaking in planing for the multitudes, but Catlin remedies this job by put ining a more hushed form through the edifice while still “ guaranting at that place was still adequate contrast on hallway boundary lines to assist steer people with ocular damages [ 12 ] ” .


Although they are a part of users there are wheel chair bound we must see and be cognizant that there are infinite damages that cause all users to hold different demands and ways in which they utilize a infinite. Planing a cosmopolitan infinite you must hold an apprehension of that and retrieve that you are non planing for outlined user but in bend everyone becomes your user. It is frequently really hard to make and plan a feasible solution that all people will hold user friendly, which is why designers and interior decorators seem to steam off from this rule. Catlin illustrates that non merely can plan be an aesthetically delighting cosmopolitan infinite but green rule can besides be an applied in a superb manner.

Plants Cited

  • Access Living. Ed. Geekpak. Acess Living, 2008. Web. 14 Oct. 2009.
  • Boniface, Russell. “ Paralytic Veterans of America Honors Chicago-based Access Living for Accessible Design. ” The News of American ‘s Community of Architects. AIArchitect, 17 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Oct. 2009..
  • Dong, Hua. Switching Paradigms in Universal Design. Vol. 4554/2007. Heidelberg: Springer, 2007. Print.
  • Goldsmith, Selwyn. Universal Design. Pine tree state: Architectural, 2001. Print.
  • Meyers, Tiffany. “ UNIVERSAL DESIGN IN ACCESS LIVING HQ. ” Metropolis Magazine Oct. 2007. Metropolis Magazine, Sept. 09. Web. 23 Oct. 2009..
  • Tandem, Byan, erectile dysfunction. “ Home Design: Understanding Universal Design. ” AARP ( 2008 ) . AARP. Web. 22 Oct. 2009..
  1. Goldsmith, Selwyn. Universal Design. Pine tree state: Architectural, 2001. Print.
  2. Goldsmith
  3. Access Living. Ed. Geekpak. Access Living, 2008. Web. 14 Oct. 2009.
  4. Access Living
  5. Dong, Hua. Switching Paradigms in Universal Design. Vol. 4554/2007. Heidelberg: Springer, 2007. Print.
  6. Access Living
  7. Access Living
  8. Boniface, Russell. “ Paralytic Veterans of America Honors Chicago-based Access Living for Accessible Design. ” The News of American ‘s Community of Architects. AIArchitect, 17 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Oct. 2009..
  9. Access Living
  10. Meyers, Tiffany. “ UNIVERSAL DESIGN IN ACCESS LIVING HQ. ” Metropolis Magazine Oct. 2007. Metropolis Magazine, Sept. 09. Web. 23 Oct. 2009..
  11. Meyers
  12. Meyers