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Ada: The Latest Architecture and News

Karen Braitmayer, Founder of Studio Pacifica, Weighs in on Accessible Design

Karen Braitmayer, a disabled architect, consultant, and volunteer, brings her unique life experiences to Studio Pacifica, the Seattle‐based practice she founded in 1993. With deep expertise in code compliance and regulations, Braitmayer and her team work with architectural firms like Olson Kundig and Perkins and Will to help create barrier‐free civic, residential, and commercial buildings. Studio Pacifica has served as consultants on notable projects ranging from the Space Needle renovation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center and student housing at Smith College. Braitmayer was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Access Board, a position she still holds today.

As we mark the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this month, we spoke to her about how far we’ve come, and how we can continue to advance accessible design in the built environment.

A ramp at Deep Dive is an elegant and integrated part of the restaurant's design. Courtesy Studio PacificaAxle Apartments. Courtesy Studio PacificaStudio Pacifica consulted on Modera Ballard, a residential project in Seattle by Tiscareno Associates. Courtesy Studio PacificaStudio Pacifica also worked on Axle Apartments in Seattle's Interbay neighborhood. The apartments were designed by Encore Architects. Courtesy Studio Pacifica+ 6

Design Accessible Bathrooms for All With This ADA Restroom Guide

In this article, we provide you with the tools to design more inclusive architecture. Although each region and country has its own accessibility guidelines which you should review in depth before starting a project, the material presented below, based on the ADA and ANSI standards, will help you design comfortable and efficient spaces for all its users.

Read on for detailed diagrams with the recommended measures to design an accessible bathroom.

A Simple Guide to Using the ADA Standards for Accessible Design Guidelines

Only a special few architects can truly say they enjoy reading building codes. There’s no doubt that it’s daunting and it can certainly pose challenges to your design. Over time you’ll likely become familiar with the types of things you need to look out for on a project, but even the most experienced architects may still need to double-check a code question or two during the design process (or have an intern check it for them.) Unfortunately, many code documents are unwieldy to say the least, and there are few cases in which this is more true than the 279-page ADA Standards for Accessible Design. However, once you understand the layout and how to use a code book or the ADA guidelines, they become more manageable.

This guide aims to describe each chapter in the ADA 2010 guidelines to give a foundation for navigating them. Luckily for designers in United States, the documentation for the ADA Standards for Accessible Design is available online. Keep reading for a quick summary (all information and diagrams are directly from the guidelines). Check out the whole document here if you need it—or for convenience, each subheading in this article links directly to the relevant section in the PDF!

Golf facility standards. Image Courtesy of United States Department of JusticeAccessible route clear width. Image Courtesy of United States Department of JusticeRequired door clearances. Image Courtesy of United States Department of JusticeSignage standards. Image Courtesy of United States Department of Justice+ 16

Michael Graves on Hospital Room Design

Michael Graves2012 Richard H. Driehaus PrizeTEDMEDhospitalStrykerimproved products