When it comes to restoring and modifying historic sites, there is a lot to take into consideration. Improvements need to be done while also keeping the architectural integrity of the building. Making the historic site wheelchair accessible can prove an even bigger challenge. Adding an accessible entrance to the outside without taking away from the site’s character can be difficult. But when done right, a place of history can be made accessible for all while maintaining its historic look. In Frankfort, Kentucky this has been done with the addition of a wheelchair ramp at the Orlando Brown House.
Category Archives: Commercial
For the most part, wheelchair ramps are made of either wood or concrete. Both of which work just fine and can look great at the same time. But with any material there are some minor drawbacks. Wood is weather susceptible and can warp and crack over time. Concrete is strong but the surface is very hard and is abrasive on skin. Another option is a rubberized surface that is soft, durable, slip resistant, and potentially colorful. One company that does this and has done some stylish wheelchair ramps is Rubaroc.
Growing up I built my fair share of forts and snow forts to create an imaginary world for myself. One thing though that I really wanted (thanks to Calvin and Hobbes along with Bart Simpson) was a treehouse. Unfortunately the places I grew up in didn’t have a tree where one could be built. So to this day I’m still a little nostalgically envious whenever I see a treehouse. Now the treehouses I’m featuring today are much bigger and nicer than any I could’ve dreamed of as a child. Some are also wheelchair accessible treehouses for children of all ages and abilities to enjoy. Built by the Treehouse Guys (formally Forver Young Treehouses) they design and build treehouses for children’s camps and communities.
This photo of Hampton Inn & Suites – Paso Robles is courtesy of TripAdvisor
In the Bad Design Style series I’ll mention how hotels will sometimes claim wheelchair accessibility when there really isn’t any. Or where there is, it’s poorly done. But if a hotel does in fact have good accessibility and looks great doing so, I like to feature them. And judging from their website and reviews, Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles looks to be a good choice as a wheelchair accessible hotel.
A common roadblock when making a commercial entrance or change in level accessible is making it accessible while still keeping the architectural integrity. Many times ramps can be installed which can easily be made to look appeasing. Platform lifts on the other hand can look very mechanical and garish. There are many ways to make platform lifts look stylish which I have wrote about before (read those articles here and here). But there is another problem, space. A small or narrow entrance could have room for stairs but no room for a platform lift. What to do then? How about hiding the platform lift under the stairs. Yes you read that right because it can be done with the Sesame Retractable Stairs and platform lift from the U.K.
I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of modular “temporary” ramps. I don’t always feel comfortable with their structure and well, they don’t look all that great. But I also realize that they may be the only reasonable option due to their lowers cost and minimal impact on the existing structures. Many of you may have heard that this past fall Lowes came out with their own modular ramp system. Their Gatehouse Custom Access Ramp System appears to be beefier than other modular ramps I have seen, plus their look is much more appeasing.
Universities have come a long way in becoming accessible for people with disabilities. Starting with Ed Roberts and his work at Cal Berkley, universities are now much more accessible in both physical and administrative terms. For the physical side, one place people at one time would never think of making accessible for people with disabilities is the recreation and fitness center. But with evens such as the Paralympics, everyone now knows that physical fitness is something everyone can be a part of. Which brings us to this fantastic looking and wheelchair accessible natatorium at Kent State University.