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ABLE: Access a Better Living Environment

A talented group from Canada has won the Team Prize in the World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day competition to design a house for people with cerebral palsy who experience unsteady balance and movement.

About the project

This ambitious redesign of an existing Canadian home considered a broad range of issues – environmental, cultural, and emotional – and uses these as points of departure for several features proposed in the home.

Here’s how they described the project:

Our design is safety and beauty with the challenges of cerebral palsy in mind. We implemented universal design principles, functionality, flexibility, simplicity, low physical effort, wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing living environment.

We propose a virtual renovation of a typical Canadian bungalow residence by stripping out the partitions and cabinetry to create flexibility in sizes and functions.

The floor is one continuous level surface on thick cork underlay throughout with radiant flooring for warmth and comfort. From oil rubbed wood floors throughout on thick cork underlay and recessed teak mat in the shower.

Materials introduced are inspired from the softness of a sponge while remaining natural, resilient and easy to maintain.

Outside corners were designed curvilinear including horizontal and vertical surfaces to embrace movement.

Lighting choices are influenced by therapy colors from LED and large textural pendants in the airspace.

The bathroom was expanded for wheelchair access with accessible fixtures such as recessed wall-hung toilet, walk-in bathtub and no-curb walk-in shower.

Kitchen includes wall oven, cooktop, drawer type appliances, drawer cabinetry and a mobile harvest table.

The sunroom’s floor-to-ceiling glass invites the outdoors in. Easy access to the backyard where awaits all senses stimulation of grass, trees and an accessible raised herb garden.

ABLE Design Description [pdf]

ABLE Annotated Design Drawings [pdf]

ABLE video [YouTube]

The team

A team comprised a group of multi cultural Architects and Interior Designers with international experience, universal design expertise, lots of passion, and a strong will to embrace the challenge and make a difference in the life of the CP community:

Sonia Zouari: Senior Architect and Mother of a special need child, comes with strong advocacy for universal design and aging in place approach, a good feel for crucial accessibility details, a passion for an inclusive built environment and the ambition that Architecture can help integrate society, enlarge the ecosphere of kindness and accommodate the CP family by design without a “label”.

Yomna Anani: is an internationally trained Architect and passionate about creating universally accessible spaces. At some point of time she experienced daily mobility challenges following an accident since then she developed a long lasting attention to details in implementing hazard and bump free architecture.

Carolyn Andrews: is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies at Carleton University. She enjoys taking on thought-provoking projects, and is particularly interested in tackling challenging design issues such as accessibility for wide ranges of ability.

A.A. (Sam) Milne: is a registered interior designer with 30 years of architectural interior design experience in corporate, hotel, residential and theatre. Early in her design career, Sam became cognitive of the barriers imposed on her family, colleagues and clients, which has influenced her efforts to design barrier-free interior environments.

Ally Darling: is a recent graduate with a background in interior architecture. She enjoys working on projects such as this one because she knows that there are so many individuals living uncomfortably in their homes, and is happy for the chance to add to the body of knowledge on universal accessible design.