ACCESS ALL AREAS
Designing for disability can deliver beautiful spaces as these three projects demonstrate, writes Robyn Willis
Most of us wear our independence lightly. The ability to move freely and do things for ourselves is so second nature that we often take it for granted. But for those with mobility issues, getting through everyday tasks, from getting dressed in the morning to making a cup of tea at night, can be hard work.
Director of Liveable Housing Australia Nick Proud says Australia is still lagging behind countries such as Japan when it comes to designing easily accessible housing, also known as universal housing design.
“In Japan, they are third or fourth generation with their liveable housing designs but we’re getting there,” he says. “Ten years ago a five-star energy-rated house would have been difficult to get our heads around but things have changed.” drawers rather than cupboards for easy access and there are two sinks — a deep one and a shallow version accessible from a seated position.
“We thought we should make the kitchen fully accessible for him so there was no excuse not to get in there and cook,” Ashley says.
While doorways are wider, the only giveaway that someone with mobility issues lives here is the grab rails in the bathroom.
“The bathroom is bigger than normal,” Ashley says. “There’s a shower chair, which is also a commode, that packs into the cupboard next to the shower so he can roll in and out and he can move himself around.“