First Juried Collection of Universal Design Exemplars
Rogue River National Forest, Terry Lee, USDA Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest, Grants Pass, OR; The design features a universally designed tent site. The key is a 18" vertical change in level formed by a low retaining wall constructed of logs and earthwork that also serves as a bench. Tents can be placed on the upper level. Campers who use wheelchairs can get in and out by parking their wheelchairs on the lower level and transferring to the bench at the higher ground level
Cuddle Tub, Janet Scata, Anderson Design Associates, Inc., Plainville, CT; The Cuddle Tub is a molded plastic shell with a velvety surface texture, hammock insert and head cushion. This product was developed to address the need for safety and security when bathing babies
Automatic Public Toilet, Suzanne Davis, JCDecaux USA, New York, NY; This single user toilet facility provides safe, comfortable and usable accommodations for all users in the most public of locations. The toilets are coin operated and designed for use on public streets in major cities. They are part of a universally usable system of related street furnishings such as information kiosks, news stands, lamp posts, and benches.
Rest Seat, Brian F. Donnelly, Donnelly Design, Davis, CA; The Rest Seat was designed as a prototype for an alternative to bench-type public seating. Rest Seat is intended to make sitting and rising from a seated position easier and safer by providing extended armrests and a seating surface that is pitched slightly forward and higher than conventional public seating.
GE Real Life Design Kitchen, Mary Jo Peterson, Mary Jo Peterson Design Consultants, Brookfield, CT; The Real Life Design Kitchen is a complete and uniquely detailed kitchen designed for a wide range of users as a demonstration of the concepts of universal design. An excellent booklet with additional information on this kitchen is available from GE Kitchen in Louisville, KY. The kitchen is complex and has many notable features. Some are significant because of their selection and some for their position or installation. For example: The side by side refrigerator with a through-the-door ice maker provides access for all reach ranges to both refrigerator and freezer sides as well as ice without opening the door.
Purks" residence bath, Dede Gilreath, Gilreath and Associates, Atlanta, GA; The renovation of the Purks" family bathroom allows multiple modes for bathing. The floor is waterproof and has a floor drain. A hand held shower head and a faucet beside the toilet allow for use as a roll in or a wet-area shower. The hand held shower controls can also be reached from the toilet so the user could bathe while seated on the toilet. The tub also has a built-in seat at one end that can be used as a transfer surface or seat for showering. The bathroom is large enough to allow wheelchair maneuvering if needed.
Swing Hinge, Dede Gilreath, Gilreath and Associates, Atlanta, GA; GA; The renovation of the Purks" home allowed the installation of many cost-effective features to enable wheelchair access within the house. Door hinges were replaced with swing clear, offset hinges to increase the clear opening width of doors by an additional 1 inch clearance when in open position.
Unit Dose Medication Cart, Bradley Carlson, InterMetro Industries Corp., Wilkes Barre, PA; The Unit Dose Medication Cart was designed as a flexible, mobile work station for nursing and pharmacy staff in hospitals and long-term care facilities. The cart has large, locking casters, a work surface top with storage drawers and trays below, and additional swing-out work surfaces at the sides. Additional swing-out storage modules may be hung on the sides as needed. It is designed for the way people work.
Stor Trac, Peter Orleans, Stor Trac Company, Denver, CO; This prefabricated modular kitchen storage system replaces traditional kitchen cabinetry with narrow, adjustable, pull-out drawer shelves equipped with full extension ball bearing hardware. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities through several choices of configurations. The adjustability of the narrow pull-out "drawer shelves" accommodates different sizes of canned and packaged goods, cooking utensils, glassware, etc.;
Playscenes, Kevin Owens, Playworld Systems & PlayDesigns, New Berlin, PA; Playscenes is a simple system of play elements that suggest everyday community activities and makes them accessible to children of all levels of ability. Playscenes elements consist of streets and sidewalks at ground level that can be used by children on foot, walkers, crutches, tricycles, wheelchairs or other vehicles to visit and use such features as a clock tower, service station or drive in restaurants. Playscenes stimulate and support spontaneous dramatic play. The design reduces physical demands on children during a play experience, while providing maximum opportunities for interaction.
Hopedale Town Hall Terrace, Robert A. Nichols, Nichols Design Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C.; The modification to Hopedale Town Hall eliminated three separate sets of steps serving three separate entrances to this historic building. The design provides access for all visitors via a new level terrace, and access ramp, or stairs. The horizontal terrace designed with materials that match the existing building is compatible with the original Romanesque design and effectively conceals the access ramp. The design, besides providing access to all entrances, added terrace space for outdoor seating for a restaurant served by one of the three entrances.
Miconic 10 Elevator System, Lynn D. Cullen, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Morristown, NJ; The Miconic 10 Elevator system designed by Dr. Ing Joris Schröder moves elevator controls closer to a universally usable system that reduces wait and travel time and increases elevator efficiency. The user selects the destination floor while in the elevator lobby and is directed to a specific car that takes them to their floor with a minimum number of intermediate stops. The familiar keypad arrangement and placement in the hall places all controls within reach of all users whatever their height.
The Lighthouse Inc., Christa Mahar, Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, New York, NY; The Lighthouse Inc. building is an excellent example of how to include the widest spectrum of user needs within the overall design concept. Many building features address vision, hearing, cognitive and mobility needs and are good examples of the principles of universal design. The extensive use of lighting, color and color contrast define such features as stairs, hallways, door openings and railings, making the facility safer, and more simple to use. Rectilinear circulation plan, lighting, use of symbols and color patterns and careful placement of elements such as the information desks at corners on each floor simplify way-finding.
Talking Signs, William Crandall, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institution, San Francisco, CA; The Talking Signs system is an orientation and wayfinding system that provides a repeating, directionally-sensitive voice message that originates at the sign and is transmitted by infrared light to a hand-held receiver about the size of a garage door remote control. The user hears the message through a speaker or earphones. It enables people to find and understand the sign even if they cannot see or read the written information.
Window Latches at The Owens, Jean DeLaura, ASID, Design One, Lemont, IL; The Owens home was remodeled in 1994 to accommodate aging in place. One element in the design, single-lever latch/lock mechanisms at the sill level replaced conventional window hardware on the double casement windows.
Matheny School and Hospital Auditorium, Michael D. Farewell, Ford Farewell Mills & Gatsch, Princeton, NJ; The proposed design for Matheny School & Hospital Performing Arts Building is a unique and fully accessible multi-tiered seating plan that allows wheelchair users and others to be seated in almost any location on all levels (Photo #96-1031). Through the use of folding or permanently installed seats, individuals using wheelchairs can be positioned next to any number of their companions whether they are in wheelchairs or not, and enjoy a performance.
REHAB 1,2,3, Ron Landsborough, GUYNES Design Inc., Phoenix, AZ; REHAB 1,2,3, part of the Rehabilitation Center at Danbury Hospital, was designed as an enjoyable therapeutic setting for pediatric rehabilitation patients, their clinicians, and their families. The exterior of the colorful, 400 square-foot environment incorporates a draw bridge, cave, interactive pipe organ, climbing wall, basketball court, and therapy balls. Included within the environment are pneumatic stepping stones and balance beam log, a trampoline, game table, slide, ball bath, and crawling tunnel. There are more than 20 stations in all. One patient noted, "You made me forget that I can"t walk, because it doesn"t matter here!"
Way Finding Signage at The Lighthouse, Inc., Roger Whitehouse, Whitehouse & Company, New York, NY. A comprehensive signage and wayfinding system was included in the renovation of the headquarters for The Lighthouse, Inc., completed in June 1994. People with a variety of visual limitations provided a considerable amount of feedback in the development of the information systems. The Room signage system includes a special tactile sign type font, a highly readable visual signage section and "talking signs".
Hunnewell Visitors Center, The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Carol R. Johnson, Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc., Cambridge, MA; This project involved the modification of an inaccessible walk and stair that approach the entrance door of the Hunnewell Visitor Center, part of Harvard University"s famous Arnold Arboretum. The design consists of a curving, gently sloped walk on an earth berm. There are no edge drop offs so handrails were not required. The result is a garden/lawn walk experience that rises to rejoin the main pedestrian path at the top of new stairs near the entrance doors. Landscaping and planting of the berm maintained the existing views from building windows, provided water control by routing water away from the building and provided an attractive garden for building users.
Meandering Brook at The Childrens Museum, Boston MA, John C. Gustavsen, Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc., Cambridge, MA; This dramatic play structure on the waterfront in Boston provided interactive water play for city children during hot summer days. The cool blue 56-foot artificial mountain stream with fountain, waterfall, and multiple streams was designed constructed and installed in 1990 for The Children"s Museum of Boston, MA. The play structure was universally accessible to the public, all hours of the day at no charge to function as a play structure during daytime hours and as a sculptural fountain during evening and nighttime hours.
International Fountain, Seattle WA, Kenichi Nakano, Nakano-Dennis Landscape Architects, Seattle, WA; The design is a renovation and updating of the bowl-shaped fountain installed in 1962 for the World"s Fair. The goal was to make the fountain safer and more accessible while maintaining its popular and historic image and reputation. The new fountain eliminated steep sloping sides and a dangerous "non-people" field in the bottom. The revised design has gently sloping sides and a very shallowly sloping, spiral walking surface leading from the top to a more inviting wet area at the bottom of the "bowl" where people can walk, roll or otherwise play in the water.
Mobile Computer, Dennis L. Carlson, Carlson Technology Inc., Livonia, MI; This 1996 concept for a mobile computer integrates nearly every conceivable feature into a 12" x 15" x 3 1/4" package. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities, owing to its complete adaptability to input and output preferences. Evaluators were excited by the concept of a laptop computer with such an array of features. For example, the integration of scanner and voice output capabilities implies that the product might be used by visually impaired people as a portable text-to-speech translator.
Oxo Good Grips, Tucker Viemeister, Smart Design Inc., New York, NY; Oxo Good Grips is a line of manufactured kitchen utensils. Their distinctive shape incorporates a large resilient grip surface that is oval in cross section to prevent slipping in the hand. Fins at the thumb are for added grip
Cicena Home Phones, Tucker Viemeister, Smart Design Inc., New York, NY; The Cicena Home Phone has a handset design that is inviting to grasp due to its ergonomic shape, which is thicker in the center than at the ends. The designers edited the many possible features available on contemporary telephones down to the essentials. The phone was also designed to be economical, selling through mass merchandisers for about $20.
SmartPower Hand Mixer, Tucker Viemeister, Smart Design Inc., New York, NY; The SmartPower Hand Mixer offers a fresh visual approach to a common household appliance. The ergonomic shape is appealing and accommodating to all users. The handle design fits any hand size, and the swivel cord interface makes the mixer convenient to use with either hand.
G-O-Cup, Timothy C. Johnson, Tim Johnson Design, Inc., Boston, MA; This prototype for a disposable cup and lid, cut and folded from all-recycled paper fiber could be integrated into the design for any disposable drink cup. The lid is secured to the paper cup with three oversized grab hooks that fit into the cup rim. The lid can be removed by pulling on any of these three hooks, though this is not necessary to drink from the cup. The product reduces hazards with its oversized highly visible sidewall seam and open rim band that act as cool zones for the user"s thumb and fingers. The recessed lid is designed to act as a splash guard to contain hot liquids. Evaluators, and one elder interviewed, cited the advantages of being able to drink through the G-O-Cup lid without tearing off tabs or other precision operations.
Catherine Morrill Day Nursery ramp, Nancy L. Barba, AIA, Barba Architecture & Preservation, Portland, ME; The design consists of a common use curving ramp and step system at the entrance to a day care facility. The ramp is an interesting, fanciful and universally usable pedestrian pathway from the play yard to the building entrance. Scaled for both children and adults, the ramp slopes gently and has both level landings and steps from each level of the playground. There is also level access to a yard area at the upper level. The dual level handrails accommodate children, seated people, short people and standing adults.
Chemistry Workstation, Bonnie Blake-Drucker, Blake-Drucker Architects,Oakland, CA; The Chemistry Workstation was installed in 1995 at the University of Berkeley for use by first year chemistry students. The workstation is the result of a survey of the UC Disabled Student Association and research into all available laboratory products. The design fits a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. The workstation is designed to be easily adjustable to students" needs without assistance from maintenance staff. Powered height adjustment makes the workstation equally usable for seated or standing students. Braille labels next to controls and gritty texture on faucets help identify controls. A stainless steel trough runs the length of the counter top to prevent spillage onto the lap of a seated student. The adjustments are powered and easy to use. Height adjustment of the hood is accomplished by activating a remote control button.
Decora Switch, Illuminated Switch, and 911 Switch, Patricia Novy, Leviton Manufacturing Co., Little Neck, NY; The Decora Line of light switches has long been a favorite choice for universal usability. The large rocker panel is especially easy to find and activate with very low force and minimal dexterity. The switches can be selected in color or with color trim to contrast with the mounting surface or lighted with various back lights and lighted on/off indicators all of which help users to see and use the switches in ambient conditions. The "911" emergency flashing switch for outdoor lights adds another function to an already elegant, simple and universally usable product.
Compliers, Steve Visser, Compliers Inc., West Lafayette, IN; Compliers is a fish hook remover molded of Delrin, an acetal-based thermoplastic, in a single piece. The product is a very durable pair of pliers and just the sort of product to be found in a tool or tackle box. The product reduces hazards, since dropping it, leaving it wet, or flexing the mechanism to its limits will not damage it. The product can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue, since the product is light in weight (about 2 oz.) and designed to grip the fish hook firmly and remove it quickly, despite limited hand strength.
KUDO Crafters Clamps, Steve Visser, Compliers Inc., West Lafayette, IN; KUDO Crafters Clamp is a one-piece all-plastic handclamp designed to help the hobbyists by gently holding objects temporarily for assembly and detailing. When the handles are squeezed together, the jaws open. When the handles are released, the jaws close on the object, much like a surgical tool. The clamp is extremely easy to use, mimicking the hand in its operation. Unlike other types of craft clamps, the product can be used with one hand.
Flood Park, Susan Goltsman, Moore Iacofano Goltsman Inc., Berkeley, CA; Flood Park is an excellent example of a children and family play facility that has been purposefully designed to accommodate both disabled and non-disabled people. It is designed for people with different abilities to be in the same activities and spaces at the same time. Flood Park does this without stigmatizing labels, unnecessary rhetoric, or attention gathering fanfare. It mixes people and abilities in a natural and organic way that is both sensitive and subtle. The park has many features for the enjoyment of visiting families and children. It appears that access and use for people of all ages and abilities has been thoughtfully included in every feature starting at the entry drop-off and leading to every venue within.
Sidelights at Entrances, Ronald L. Mace, FAIA, The Center for Universal Design, Raleigh, NC; The full length entrance sidelight at doorways is a common architectural detail that can be an advantage to children as well as older adults, integrated into any entrance design, and adds little to the cost of the entrance. Typical viewing ports often require stretching or bending to reach, this design can be used regardless of the user"s body size, posture, or mobility, since the full-length sidelight allows equal viewing from any height.
Earth Berm and Bridge, Ronald L. Mace, FAIA, The Center for Universal Design, Raleigh, NC; This design creates a universal approach to the front door for a private home in place of the existing steps. The earth berm and bridge entrance design consists of a retaining wall and walkway graded at a slope of 1:20 or less up to the entry level. A level bridge, in combination with a deck or porch, is fabricated of wood or other durable material to span the distance between the retaining wall and the building entrance. The "moat" between encourages rainwater drainage away from the building and can be filled with decorative plants, ground cover, or grass. The bridge may have hand rails, benches, or planter for edge protection.
Adaptable Base Cabinet, Ronald L. Mace, FAIA, The Center for Universal Design, Raleigh, NC; This interior design detail was developed to provide knee space beneath kitchen counters for seated persons without needlessly sacrificing storage space through a permanent design. This was accomplished either by providing "self-storing" doors that slide into the cabinet or doors that can be quickly removed and replaced using spring-loaded cabinet latches.
Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, James P. Mitchell, West Palm Beach, FL; The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts consists of three performance facilities and a restaurant/conference center. Built over a period of years from 1992 - 1996, each subsequent building reflects the increasing movement toward universal design in architecture with the amphitheater being the most recent and perhaps most universally usable. The noteworthy feature and focus of the submittal of the Kravis Center is its carefully planned circulation system. Through use of ramps, sloping walks, elevators, and appropriate stairs, the designers have provided access to all levels and to many seating positions within each venue. This unusual vertical circulation system allows people of differing levels of ability, including wheelchair users to have a choice of seating level location more nearly similar to that available to others. The circulation system increases the universal usability of the public areas of the complex and allows stage access from seating areas for any participant.
Washington: Symbol & City, Joseph Rosa, Chief Curator, The National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.; The exhibit focuses on the design of the Nation"s Capital, Washington, D.C. The design of the exhibit is intended to integrate all visitors, including people with visual and mobility impairments as well as others. Large models of buildings such as the Washington Monument and the White House are designed to be touched by visitors, and are mounted on pedestals or other bases that allow a close approach for wheelchair users, children and adults of short stature. They are accompanied by various sizes of high contrast visual and tactile labels for sighted and non-sighted users.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal