Universal Design

Building Homes with Accessibility in Mind

Universal design is for everyone, regardless of age, size, ability or disability and stage of his life. Employing universal design when building or remodeling is an investment and benefit for you or the house for a life time.

In 1997 in North Carolina State University, a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, collaborated to establish the 7 Principles of Universal Design.

  • Principle 1: Equitable Use
  • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
  • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Principle 4: Perceptible Information
  • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
  • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
  • Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use

Universal design in housing is not a new idea, a new trend or an innovating style. its goal and purpose is the design of something useful for everyone bearing in mind the needs of people and market. In many cases, it only requires slight  modifications in size, the shape of an element, its placement or its use according to its owner’s needs.

The house shown in this article was designed by MIKITEN Architecture to meet two equally important requirements: First, to build an energy-efficient, ecologically sound house; and second to create a home that would be completely accessible and usable by all family members, including active teenage kids, the lady-of-the-house who uses an electric wheelchair, and her elderly mother who may move into the secondary unit. This usability for everyone is a perfect example of Universal Design. Careful integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, careful design of cabinetry and plumbing, and electronic automation of key components make this house both beautiful and universally accessible.