ADA & Universal Design
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created as a civil rights law in 1990 and updated by the Justice Department in 2010 for today’s design standards. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) creates guidelines for individuals that may have a form of a disability. The ADA reaches across a wide array of platforms from architecture, graphic and product design to fighting against discrimination in the work place. Creating an all encompassing world that accepts and acknowledges those with a disability.
However, disabilities can take form in a variety of ways and the ADA aims to assist all those within it. As stated in July.2020 by Upcounsel;
“The ADA defines a physical impairment as a physiological disorder or condition, anatomical loss, or cosmetic disfigurement that impacts one or more of these body systems:
- Special-sense organs
- Hemic and Lymphatic
The ADA did include examples of covered mental and physical impairments. Some of these impairments include:
- Wheelchair users
- Orthopedia, Speech and Hearing Impairments
- Visual Impairments
- Heart Disease
- Cerebral Palsy
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Drug Addiction
- SPecific Learning DIsabilities
- Aging Individuals
- Muscular dystrophy”
So how does this affect Architecture & Design?
The way we design spaces, both exterior and interior, has a direct effect on the individuals using them. There are three common design principles used; accessible, usable and universal design. They all aim to create spaces and/or products that allow a greater group of individuals to experience them, however, each achieves a different outcome.
Accessible Design = persons with disabilities are specifically considered within the design process.
Useable Design = the design process focuses on ease and efficiency of use for the general public.
Universal design = ALL people are considered in the design process.
As stated in 2019 by DO-IT ,“They benefit people with disabilities, parents with baby strollers, delivery workers, and others. Human characteristics considered in universal designs may include age, gender, stature, race/ethnicity, culture, native language and learning preference”.
Watch ARTiculations talk about the concepts behind Accessible & Universal Design here:
Typical methods used to achieve universal design:
- Ample floor space for maneuvering
- Door & hallway clearances
- Specific ramp, elevator, stair and handrail design
- Clear wayfinding through signage
- Plumbing fixtures & grab bars
So how does Tiny House living intertwine with accessible design?
Just like large public spaces, tiny homes need to be accessible for their users. While the square footage is significantly minimized in comparison to regular single family homes, tiny homes are just as easily made into accessible spaces. Utilizing the multi functionality that is already so prominent in the tiny house community designers are able to create seamless transitions for their users.
At B&B Micro Manufacturing our designers are able to utilize universal design principles to achieve a unique one of kind space for each client. Here are some tiny home accessible design solutions:
- 5’ turning radius in common area
- 3’ wide ‘hallways’
- Shorter countertops in height
- Openings under kitchen & bath sinks
- Mechanically raised bed
- Accessible latches & hardware
- Entry Ramp
- Single story living
View our partnership with The Wheel Pad on our website for examples of accessible design at B&B Micro Manufacturing.
See below, two examples of existing universally designed tiny homes for a wheelchair user & aging individual.
Kate Reggev, Aug.04.20
Megan Schires, June.06.17. Arch Daily