Hip Hip Hooray for ADA!
Just 30 years ago the ADA Civil Rights Act was signed into law, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life including jobs, schools, transportation, and amenities open to the general public. Being the interior designer at WORKSHOP8 everything that I design revolves around ADA compliance, and it’s really hard to imagine a world before this was made mandatory.
WHAT DO WE WANT? ADA. WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW.
The history of ADA started long before its signing ceremony at the White House on July 26, 1990, and long before it was introduced into Congress in 1988; the movement began decades earlier by local advocacy groups, making the daily injustices faced by people with disabilities visible to the American public and politicians.
The first historic success occurred in 1973 with the passage of Section 504, which banned discrimination of disability by recipients of federal funds. This was the first time that the segregation of people with disabilities was viewed as discrimination, as opposed to “inevitable consequences imposed by the disability itself” – A.K.A we CAN and SHOULD do something about this!
Next, a national campaign called “discrimination diaries” caught Congress’ attention in 1988. These diaries represented “a day in the life” of living with a disability, bringing to the spotlight the physical barriers and discrimination experienced by people in all stages of life.
Then, likely the most monumental movement happened on March 12, 1990, the “Capital Crawl,” where more than 60 activists abandoned their crutches, wheelchairs, powerchairs, and other mobility-assistance devices and began crawling up the 83 stone steps that lead to the Capitol.
ADA was signed into law by President Bush on July 26, 1990, and amendments to it have been made ever since to ensure we continue to strive for all-encompassing inclusivity.
ADA IN DESIGN TODAY
ADA was a huge game-changer in the design industry, and it created new design guidelines that we must abide by. It’s pretty spectacular what minor changes in design can have on a person’s comfortability in life. I’m sharing with you two ADA compliant plans that we have recently designed that show examples of some of the many different requirements and considerations that go into an ADA compliant space.
WINDSOR SENIOR APARTMENTS ADA UNIT CLEARANCE PLAN
Providing a clear floor space in front of all doors, fixtures and appliances creates a more livable and functional environment for those with disabilities. Roll-in or transfer showers, grab bars, lower countertop heights, accessible light switch locations, roll-under workspaces and sink access are just a few of the crucial elements that are implemented in an ADA compliant space.
SUNDRY MARKET ADA CLEARANCE PLAN
In the SUNDRY Market, which will be located on the first floor of Gateway South, it is critical that any person who wants to shop there is able to comfortably move around the market. The market has been designed to include clear floor areas in front of all doors, displays, and points of sale, and 60” turnaround spaces are at the end of every aisle creating a space that is easy to navigate in a wheelchair. Design elements mounted to the wall are carefully placed so that they are low enough to be detected by a cane or higher than 80” creating a safe space for the visually impaired.
Thanks for Reading!
Everyone can celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the ADA by assessing the accessibility of your current workspace or business, educating yourself, or creating more awareness.
Chelsea Semelka (& my not so little puppy, Olive) | Interior Designer
28 JULY 2020