While these designs are great for wheelchair users, there are others who might find these designs tricky to use. A case in point is a cantilevered sink against a glass wall. Maybe in real life it doesn’t trick the eye as much. However, I wouldn’t classify these designs as universal design. Anyone with perception problems would be confused with the sink.Have a look and see what you think.
What the pictures clearly show is that accessible and universally designed bathrooms can look good. There is no limit to creative design. Of course, a custom design for your own home should work for you if not others.
This newsletter also has a picture of a man who got a tattoo of a cochlear implant on his head to make his daughter feel more comfortable with hers.
Todd also has a magazine. He is based in New York.
The Housing Industry Association website has a page tucked away titled, Aesthetically Accessible. It shows how designing and constructing a bathroom can be “accessible to people of all abilities and ages”. And it is becoming much easier, “with more beautiful results than ever”. The key points for accessibility are discussed in the article with lots of pictures. Livable Housing Design Guidelines are mentioned, and so they should. HIA was one of the stakeholders in the development of the Guidelines. However, this is only one page relating to accessibility. More recent news on bathrooms returns to the regular design ideas and the importance of fashion trends and style inspiration without reference to the Guidelines. Universal design and inspired style are compatible – they are not mutually exclusive.
Editor’s comment: At the recent access consultants’ conference, the Chair of of LHA, Alex Waldron, said that LHA maintains its stance on voluntary adoption of the guidelines. This leads to the conclusion that they will not be supporting changes to the National Construction Code proposed by the Australian Building Codes Board.
It is often quoted that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and that probably won’t change in the future. But what people might doing in the kitchen could change significantly. A blog on a product website lists five key design features for the future of kitchens: connectivity, sustainability, ease of use for all, and the rise of professional products.
Below is a video where researchers and designers from around the world were asked how they thought kitchens will evolve. Their ideas on the future are worth looking at. There are some neat ideas at the end of the video. You can choose English subtitles in the settings.
The techno kitchen
Much has changed with electronics entering this design space. The soft touch openers for drawers and cupboards and height adjustable work benches and sinks are just the start. And they make the “techno” kitchen easy to use for everyone regardless of height and dexterity. Indeed, a universal design approach. As these easy to use fixtures appeal to all it won’t be long before these features are standard. The video below shows some of the latest. However, motorised adjustable benches can be a trap for fingers. You can see the potential for this in the video too.
How do you know what older people want in their bathroom design? Simple. Ask them. And have lots of Post It Notes handy. That’s the basis of co-design. Having a more flexible and safer bathroom at home is one of the keys to ageing in place. Knowing “what’s best” is not necessarily in the hands of design experts or health professionals. The Livable Bathrooms for Older People Project investigated and evaluated all aspects of bathroom design, fixtures and fittings. The report spells out in great detail how the project was conducted, including the role of participants in the process, and the outcomes of the research. There are many explanatory pictures demonstrating the process.The report is available on ResearchGate, the UNSW Library list, or can be purchased from Google Books.
The Co-Design research was carried out by Associate Professor Oya Demirbilek, the Co-Design Sessions Lead Investigator with assistance from PhD Students Alicia Mintzes, Steve Davey and Peter Sweatman. University of New South Wales. 2015.
Note: The picture is of the renowned public toilet in Kawakawa New Zealand. It would be very confusing for someone with perception issues. Editor’s photo.