A corridor that is too narrow, a poorly located switch or a simple unevenness can go completely unnoticed to many, but they can also be insurmountable barriers for someone with a disability. We all have a family member or acquaintance with mobility difficulties and, possibly, we might also experience them at some point in our lives. Architecture has the power to create truly inclusive spaces so that people with disabilities can have the autonomy to perform all necessary daily tasks, without needing the help of others. Integrated into architecture, technology can play an important role in this context, making the spaces in which we live even more accessible to everyone.
In Sydney, Australia, Aaron Stevens and DPN took on the challenge of creating homes for people with different needs and disabilities. The homes of Casa Capace are by no means characterized as houses for the disabled, which often appear to be more like a simple checklist of the minimum standards specified by the authorities, with no real concern for solutions, materials and aesthetics. The built residences are welcoming, modern and stylish. Inspired by mid century modern homes, there is a focus on connecting the interior with the exterior, articulated micro and macro details, and a calm palette of colors, materials, finishes and lighting.
In addition to well-specified materials and dimensions suitable for all displacements and rotations necessary for a wheelchair user, it also includes the general benefits of home automation, such as easy control of lights, blinds and temperature, reduced energy consumption and related costs, and increased security level for all residents. These elements can be operated via smartphone, tablet or loudspeaker, according to the specific needs of residents.
It is characterized by a smart technological infrastructure, which provides a more comfortable life for residents, but without visually intruding on the design. This level of building automation is enabled by ABB i-bus® KNX technology. It is an open source integrated solution which permits the use of hardware from multiple vendors, unified in a single software platform. ABB-VoiceControl® for KNX also allows occupants to use their preferred voice assistant to control the home. Voice control and Door communication systems through indoor and outdoor solutions are integrated through ABB-VoiceControl® and ABB-Welcome, respectively, to address the needed requirements. Their combination makes the home more convenient, as well as easier and safer to control.
Episode 15 of ABB's Frozen Music series explores this theme, featuring interviews with the responsible architects and images of the inclusive homes built. Each of the series' episodes showcases a unique construction project and the creators behind them to a global community, providing a quick look at safer, smarter and more sustainable construction projects.
Watch this episode and sign up to the ABB newsletter to stay tuned. Previous episodes of the series are available on the official website.