xenakis: (Default)
xen ([personal profile] xenakis) wrote in [community profile] accessibility_fail2009-06-15 12:53 am

Accessibility Win!

Because they exist, too!

As an architectural intern, I have to deal with issues of accessibility and universal design all the time. That means to be concerned not only with the minimum dimensions required by the building code (yeah, how'd you guys like them 1:12 ramps? pff!) but to think about the wider issues of location of accessible entrances, barrier-free routes, legibility of signage, etc. It's pretty hard and frustrating sometimes, but I try to see the ADA regulations as opportunities for innovative design. One pretty wicked example of this is the stair/ramp designed by Cornelia Oberlander and Arthur Erikson in Robson Square, Vancouver:

The "Stramp", as we call it, pretty much embodies the idea of universal design: to make one feature accessible to everyone. You wouldn't know it looking at the amount of fail you encounter in buildings, but we are actually taught these things in school (ok, it was an elective, and three of us took it, which is probably one of the reasons for the failfest...) Architects are usually pretty on board with coming up with solutions like this - none of us want the ugly lifts or endless ramps to mess up our beautiful facades - but it is often quite hard to convince clients or city officials to spend extra money or "waste" space on integrated design... What they need to understand is that people with disabilities are not the only ones helped by these changes: parents with strollers, elderly men and women, people who just want to take the scenic route up the building, everyone benefits from them.

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[personal profile] dreamatdrew 2009-06-15 06:38 am (UTC)(link)
Pretty....... me like
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[personal profile] vass 2009-06-15 07:18 am (UTC)(link)
That is one sweet stair/ramp.
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[personal profile] aliceblue 2009-06-15 08:27 am (UTC)(link)
people who just want to take the scenic route up the building, everyone benefits from them.

So very true! Our local library is on a somewhat steep hill, so they added a far more accessible ramp that winds around in front of the building. All the little kids adore it. They get to go the long fun way, while their parents walk up the boring adult way.

(Also, that stair/ramp is amazing.)
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[personal profile] jnala 2009-06-15 08:45 am (UTC)(link)
That's an awesome idea, but... I can't help thinking that it looks *really* precarious for a chair user. Go slightly off course and you take a huge tumble. Honestly it looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen, especially if it's the only ramp provided.

Those of you who actually use chairs or work closely with chair users, am I being overly paranoid here?
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[personal profile] pauamma 2009-06-15 10:29 am (UTC)(link)
I had a kinda-related thought. I don't know how lines of sight are there, but there are no passing areas that I can see (unless the landings qualify?), so I'm not sure how 2 chair/scooter/etc users, one going down and the other up, would deal with it without one having to turn around.
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[personal profile] sasha_feather 2009-06-15 05:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Your caveat about it being a landscape element rather than access to a building is important-- because there is no handrail on the ramp. Some people use ramps for walking and need the handrail.

It's very pretty, though! And I love the idea of it. Thanks for posting it.

[personal profile] vito_excalibur 2009-06-16 02:54 am (UTC)(link)
That is so FREAKING cool. Thanks for posting!
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[personal profile] lacey 2009-06-17 09:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow. That's wonderful.
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[personal profile] jesse_the_k 2009-06-20 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
That just put a big old grin on my face! Thanks.

Any other cool things you and the other two learned in that class?
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[personal profile] ashi 2011-08-11 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, love it. Wish I saw more solutions like this around. Thanks for posting!