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Think Universal Design for the Individual: Accessible Kitchen Design

Author: Amanda Shumar
Date: 2009
Program: Master of Science in Interior Architecture, Chatham University

In the kitchen field, universal design has shown significant growth over the past several years. This incorporates environments intended for use by as many people as possible, regardless of age, resources or abilities. This study evaluates an individual’s experiences in planning for a universally designed home. Both client and designer were interviewed to gain their insight on different phases of the process and how they adhered to the seven principles of universal design. Design considerations were addressed in the early stages of implementation to satisfy the clients specific wants and needs. After conducting the interviews, results revealed areas of challenge that produced solutions. The research suggested the importance of communication to the approach of how a kitchen can be designed around multiple individual’s needs. Results can be used to guide future research in the application of universal design to kitchens to accommodate the widest range of individuals apart from of their abilities.