The term ‘universal design’ in architecture means that the structure created meets the needs of a wide variety of people, no matter their age, or whether they are able-bodied or not.
When designing a home, it’s important to take into consideration the needs of any disabled family members, as well as looking forward to the future. Do you need to be able to convert a downstairs living area into a bedroom in the eventuality that, as you get older, you may struggle to climb the stairs?
Of course, you want your home to look stunning, but if parts of it are unusable or inaccessible, it will soon start to become a less enjoyable place to live. Long-term illness can create issues with mobility and may also need to be thought about if you’re caring for an elderly relative.
There may come a point in their lives when they need to move into your house so you can care for them. ‘When it comes to housing for older and disabled people, there are plenty of options to consider at the planning stage. Design better and don’t just rely on adaptations.’ Emma Watt sums up the importance of universal design at the early stages of the architectural process.
During the initial stages of designing a project, we take the time to understand the needs of those who will be using the building. For example, when we carried out a recent Village Hall design it was important to ensure the restrooms were accessible and handrails were added as required. Level access was also provided to the entrances to both the Main Hall, and the changing facilities, to ensure these were suitable for everyone.
This forethought applies to designing office spaces too. Creating a workspace that is comfortable and already has things in place for those who are mobility impaired can increase engagement and productivity, as highlighted in a recent article.
It’s important that universal design is included within the early stages of the architectural process, so that staff don’t have to ask for changes to be made to make their lives easier. Having them already in place saves staff feeling awkward or embarrassed to speak up about their disabilities.
Here at KJ architects, we want to make the design and build process as stress-free as possible for our clients. We provide a bespoke architectural services to a variety of different sectors.
As well as creating solutions that meet your requirements, we also take an interest in the environment, providing sustainable solutions that will stand the test of time. We want your building to be accessible to everyone. Our extensive planning process ensures that all possible issues are considered.
If you would like any further information on how we can help create a more accessible space for you, contact our team today. We have worked in a variety of sectors, including social sheltered housing, so we understand the importance of providing solutions to meet the needs of everyone.