Australian developers claim apartment living is the top choice for downsizing to a home with level entry. However, level entry into the home is only one universal design feature. When it’s time to upgrade the kitchen, this this is also the time to include universal design features.
While apartments usually provide a level entry, the internal design of the dwelling may not support people as they age. Apartment kitchen design is an important consideration and is tackled in an article from Korea. Wheelchair circulation spaces are the key element which means the designs suit other mobility devices.
The title of the article is, Application of Universal Design in the Design of Apartment Kitchens. The article includes several drawings of different sized kitchen layouts based on the analysis of user reach range and other capabilities. Technical specifications are included.
The authors note specialised housing designs for people with specific limitations are still needed. A better alternative is to make mainstream housing more usable and universal for the highest number of people.
From the abstract
The purpose of this study is to suggest designs for apartment kitchens without major redesign for older people and people with disability. According to the concept of universal design, five criteria for analysis were developed based on research on the mobility of wheelchair users: clear floor space, work flow, universal reach range, area for later use, and safety. Using the criteria developed, the accessibility and usability of five kitchen subtypes were investigated through the analysis of architectural documents.
The result shows that modification of the locations of the refrigerator, sink, and range was mainly required for appropriate clear floor space, work triangle, and countertops. Alternatives to five unit types were suggested without the need to increase the current kitchen size.
A Useable Kitchen
A useable kitchen is a must and it is often the details of the design that make the difference. Once the overall working space has been thought through, the fittings become the focus.
Lifemark in New Zealand has partnered with Blum kitchen products that help make any kitchen more functional regardless of level of capability to open, grasp, or carry things. Drawers instead of cupboards are now standard in kitchen design, but storing items logically and tidily is another matter.
How to make your kitchen more usable covers workspaces and cabinetry, flooring, colour contrasting, taps and handles.