They say that no person is ever disabled; society makes one feel so. Society does not thrive with individuality. It hates it. Society thrives with inclusion and inclusion happens when we care for others as much as we care for ourselves. When we talk about home, rarely do we talk about its design to serve people who find it hard to go normally through their lives. People with disabilities find things harder because the world around them does not get designed to help them go with ease. So, how do we design homes for people with disabilities? We spoke to Radvi, best architect in Coimbatore and around India, about it. See more about what architects actually are. It told us that a few changes in the design can make huge differences.
So, how to design a home that treats all with equality?
Designing a home for disabled – best architect tips!
There is a term called ‘Universal Design’ that was coined by the great architect Ronald Mace. His idea was that a space should be designed in such a way that it is easily accessible to as many people as possible. Ronald Mace was himself challenged by Polio and thus used a wheelchair throughout his life. He saw the challenges and thus worked on them. This gave birth to the concept of Universal Design.
Universal Design is a concept that works on anthropometrics and proxemics. It intends to make space usable, functional, and yet aesthetic in appeal. The best architects in India and around always hold the required knowledge around space appeal and functionality.
We’ll be discussing this article based on three types of disabilities –
- Visually Impaired
- Motion Impaired
- Hearing Impaired
1 – Designing homes for visually impaired people!
People who find it difficult to see things clearly or are totally blind need slightly different space settings. The idea is to design a space that is good for all the members in the family. If there is no one who is motion impaired, you need not to compromise a lot on the design.
Here are the best architect tips on how to design a home for visually impaired people!
- Because the person cannot see, it depends on sounds and textures to hear and touch. This helps in better communication. Ensure different textures on door handles or knobs of different rooms.
- Use a texture for dangerous areas and have them before that threatening place.
- The curbs and stairs must have a different texture before a change. For example, texture the last step of every stair to indicate the end. You may do this for the beginning too.
- Hangings and projections must be avoided. They are not detectable with a cane.
- Use signage for smaller words. It is impossible to use signage for big sentences.
- Braille can be used in different areas to help them.
- Extend the handrails even when the stairway ends. This lends support after the end of the stairs and prevents surprise falls.
- Use audible signals for elevators, floors, emergency situations, leaks, etc. For this, install audible alarm systems to detect smoke, gas, water leak, etc.
- The gas tops or stoves should be placed in such a way that the hand does not have to go over another to access those behind. The heat may burn the hand and thus burners should be placed in a rhombus or trapezium shape.
- The edges of the furniture like the bed or couch should be rounded and padded. This helps in avoiding injuries to the foot. The table too should have round edges.
- Place hooks next to electrical outlets.
- Do not place electrical outlets at the stomach height where the person usually extends hands to check hurdles. Keep them slightly higher to avoid any unnecessary touch.
Take the help of an architect. Radvi, best architect in Coimbatore and India, has been helping people design their homes for specially-abled people. Consult them if you require expert intervention.
2 – Designing a home for the motion impaired!
When we talk about motion impaired people, we talk about wheelchairs. The needs are different from that of a visually impaired person. Thus, space should be designed much more than the texture of things. See more on how architects can help you have a space that is a blessing for the motion impaired people.
- Use slopes on the curb with a smooth angle rather than a stiff angle. This allows persons on a wheelchair to move with ease. A stiff slope will make it harder for wheelchairs to ascend and descend.
- If the person does not use a wheelchair, the best is to use stairs. Slopes are risky for those who walk using canes.
- Use usher lights to highlight slopes, ramps, stairs, etc. This helps in avoiding accidents.
- The material of handrails should be such that they remain dry and non-slippery. Remove ice every time you can.
- Use oval handrails. Keep a clearing distance of 1 and a half inch at least between handrails and walls. This will prevent fingers from getting stuck in case of falls.
- Here is the space that any best architect uses for wheelchair clearance –
- At least 32 inches of clearance at entrance points
- 60 inches of clear space for a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn.
- Standing floor space for a wheelchair should be 30×48 inches.
- Doors should be easier to open and must have handles rather than door knobs.
- The opening pressure of doors should not exceed 8 pounds of pressure.
- Use non-skid material for flooring.
- Fix the rug tightly if you are using one. The depth of the rug should not exceed half inch.
- The kitchen should be L or U shaped.
- The height of countertops and cabinets should be adjusted accordingly.
- The sink should have space for legs to go below.
- Bathroom doors should be at least 39 inches wide.
- Grab bars must be mounted in the bathroom to support the person. They should be fixed tightly to support at least 250 pounds of pressure.
- In the bedroom, the height of bed should equal the height of the wheelchair.
Apart from all these things, there are many other areas that need special consideration. If you are planning a house from scratch, look for a good architect around you and discuss these things. Radvi, best architect in Coimbatore, can help you out if you live in major cities of India.
3 – Designing a home for the hearing impaired!
The requirements of a hearing impaired are different and less than the other two. The only changes that you need to make is around sound. You need not to make much spatial changes for one who hears hard. Here are some considerations to make –
- Use an alarm system that relies on light. For example, in case of a fire, the alarm should set flickering lights to let the person know about the same.
- Because the person depends on reading lips, a round dining table and U shaped furniture are good. They provide a clear sight of people’s faces.
- In the case of a baby, a sound to light alarm system must be used. This will set lights on the alarm in case the baby is crying.
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These are a few things that a hearing impaired person requires.
In case you have a big space to design, we always suggest to look for architects around you. Consult Radvi, best architect in Coimbatore, and see more about how it handles things around aesthetics and functionality. The idea is to create a sense of inclusion and give everyone equal ease of living inside a home. The home does not thrive when even a single person falls behind.
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