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Bridging the gap between Architecture and specially abled with Universal Design

John was born healthy and wealthy as a newborn. What came to him as a bang was his retina cancer at the age of 13. He lost his eyesight and hence the world around him dwindled. The colors that were easily identifiable until yesterday were now all blanked out. Life suddenly seemed difficult and troublesome!

In 2015, a total of 1.02 million people were blind and almost 3.22 million people suffered from VI (Visually Impaired). By 2050, these numbers are projected to get doubled approximately to 2.01 million people with blindness and 6.95 million people with VI.

Considering the above data, it is evident that there is an urgent need of providing support and help to the visually impaired. It is a primary need to construct building keeping in mind all the necessities of a VI or a specially abled person. A building or a design should not be a huddle for the VI or specially abled but must have a welcoming gesture for the same. Keeping this in mind, various steps could be taken into consideration while designing the building/facility.

Universal Design is a big term that encompasses familiar methods such as ‘accessibility’ and ‘barrier-free’ design. Universal Design is a design for everyone which comprises of all those that are able as well as specially abled. According to the National Institute of Health the population of VI and blind in America is expected to get doubled to more than 8 million by 2050. But they live in houses that are not so comfortable and convenient for them, houses that do not listen to their need and comfort. The architecture of a place is not in getting mesmerized by looking at the detailing’s on the dome or the structure of the vaults, it is more about the feelings cultivated within the audience by sensing the place. It is the quality of experience that one goes through to interpret the space.

The design guidelines that can be followed are as follows –

  • The braille code and format must be up to date.
  • The layout of any room should not create hindrance by putting furniture in the middle of the circulation.
  • The furniture finish must be smooth and not edged since there are chances to get hit and get hurt.
  • Control glare lighting for opening, building orientations.
  • Some part of the wall could be recessed to let them know about the start and end of the walkway.
  • Minimal use of carpet floor so that the specially abled would get to move around quickly and also could sense the person coming in the way with the help of his/her footsteps.
  • Tactile pavers should be used as they are available in various textures and combination to guide the path.
    Tactile pavers in flooring are used to direct the specially abled
    Tactile pavers in flooring are used to direct the specially abled

Also, the light and glare need to be managed intelligently. The reflective characteristics such as the surface which is typically expressed in terms of the percentage of light falling on it, which is identified as the light reflectance value (LRV) should be considered always. A typical example is 20% for floors, 50% for walls and 80% ceilings.

Indovance Expertise

Indovance, Inc has done a huge diversity of projects in Architecture and Interior Design. We have a very talented workforce of dedicated staff working for us. We have a diversified portfolio ranging from industrial workplace design to BIM and MEP layout projects. We make sure that we cater to our clients need and give them 100% accurate and error-free drawings within a stipulated period.

For more information log onto our website at www.indovance.com or contact us at +1-919-238-4044. We are more than happy to help you with your needs!

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