Friday, October 1, 2010

Flashback Friday: Universal Design for the Rest of Us & Universal Design Checklist

Originally posted October 9, 2009

Anna's recent experience being a captive on the first floor of her home has us both thinking more about Universal Design. Earlier this year, I picked a up a great book by Wendy A. Jordan, Universal Design for the Home, which shows many examples of simple moves to achieve UD. Using elements from this book, I compiled a checklist for clients to consider many Universal Design features and mark it as "necessity; would be nice, if cost allows; allow for future implementation in plan, need more information, and not interested." From here we can prioritize and gauge what UD features are important to our clients.

Hare House Phase II, now under construction, includes s
ome UD features, including outdoor spaces on each floor and an elevator. Although the elevator is a large upfront cost, it allows for aging in place and for the clients to stay in the house as long as possible. The house is then ready should anyone be injured (or have their 5th knee surgery).

Not everyone wants to or can afford to go so far a
s build an elevator in their home. A space can be designated for an elevator that can be installed in the future, or just think about where an elevator could be during the planning phase. I am mentally remodeling my grandparents 2-story home (laundry in the basement) every time I am there.

Everyone home doesn't have to be a showcase fo
r the latest UD feature, but these ideas should be kept in mind as we are designing a home. It should be another layer of the process, just as we think about daylighting, durability, daily use patterns, etc. Good design should be universal, the concepts should not be mutually exclusive; just as many may consider now that all good design must be sustainable design.

Many are familiar with the story of Architect Michael Graves: a much more serious situation, but one that really illuminates the importance o
f UD: (Metropolis, Fast Company).

My favorite Universal Design feature, the washer and dryer in the master closet (photo: Point2 Homes)

D+A Studio Universal Design Checklist

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