Accessible everyday

Force4 Architects has november 2013 won the 1. Prize for the project Accessible Everyday For Everybody in the competition Accessible Everyday.

You can download the project here: https://www.innosite.dk/idea.php?id=1794

The project

The concept behind our project sought to address the issue of accessibility with the notion of Intuitive Accessibility. In doing so, we ensure that the process of identifying and operating the entrance is based on logical principles and a careful and deliberate stimulation of the senses. This allows the users to come in contact with the entrance not only through sight or bodily perception but by making use of all their senses – effectively rendering all users equal.

Going beyond the problems posed by the competition brief – climate conditions, water drainage and insulation efficiency – we focused on the different user groups that we have come across within our practice over the years with the issue of accessibility and defined 8 main user groups.

  1. People with allergies
  2. Wheelchair users
  3. People with reading difficulties
  4. Obesity
  5. Walking – arm – hand problems
  6. Visually impaired people
  7. People with reading problems
  8. Mentally disabled people

After considering the primary disability groups we focused on their individual needs and found a number of common issues which were fundamental to establishing our approach to the design task:

–  Barrier-free entrance (going beyond the notion of a level-free entrance, we promote the notion of an entrance free of the common obstacles that so often become impediments in our experience of the city)

–  Appropriate interface (type, position, height. One that in its simplicity, can engage all users)

–  An automatic door (a door which will allow users to traverse the entrance in a fluid manner)

–  A sense of security and ease in operating the door (Giving them back their stolen comfort in experiencing the city)

–  A need to fully identify, recognize and operate the door

Incorporating all of these observations into our design, we were able to present a proposal which offered a truly open and barrier-free entrance – in all senses – to modern society – effectively creating an integrated and intuitive accessibility.

Integrated because we were able to implement solutions which, while already existing, are adapted to fit a common goal, creating a whole, an idea that suits and simultaneously benefits all users.

Intuitive because users are offered a new experience of the city, free of barriers, where they will engage the world with their senses, making their experience of the city an intuitive one, one that comes naturally to them. They can once more engage the city they inhabit.

Conclusion:

A key point in our design process was to establish that the initial question posed by the competition brief was flawed because, while it is fundamental to achieve a fairer and more equal society, it does not sufficiently consider and integrate all users in a society. From that start point we were able to look at a wider range of users, establishing a broader perspective on the problem which allowed us to seek a truly holistic proposal – while still addressing all the technical issues inherent to such a problem.