BCA Universal Design Award winners showcase facilities for users with mobility disabilities

Asia-Pacific, Universal Design, May 26 2017

SINGAPORE: Wheelchair accessible weight machines at the gymnasium, staggered platforms with handrails at the swimming pool, extensive braille indicators, step-free entrances to units and bathrooms.

These are just some of the features that won serviced residence Ascott Orchard Singapore and Cairnhill Nine condominium the Universal Design (UD) Mark Platinum award, given out by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Ascott Orchard Singapore, a 220-unit serviced residence that operates with a hotel licence, and Cairnhill Nine, a 268-unit condominium, make up the integrated development which sits atop a multi-storey carpark and the Al-Falah Mosque on Cairnhill Road.

It is the only project to win this top award out of the 30 awardees this year, the BCA said on Monday (May 15) during a viewing of two selected projects.

Introduced in 2012 by the BCA, the annual awards — which rate projects in increasing order of performance from Certified, Gold, Gold PLUS, to Platinum — give recognition to projects that incorporate user-friendly features to build an inclusive living environment.

Mr Andy Tan, 57, who has been on the wheelchair for the last three years and a former guest at Ascott Orchard Singapore, said that a gym with equipment for people on wheelchair is “an amazing idea”.

“I don’t know why they don’t have (such a design) earlier, because it’s exactly the people (who) are injured and weak that need to exercise more,” he said. Mr Tan is a regular patient at Paragon Medical Centre, and the integrated development is connected to the centre via a step-free link-bridge.

It is not just wheelchair users who can benefit from the development’s thoughtful features. Braille indicators are used extensively at navigation points to help people with vision disabilities find their way, as opposed to being just in elevators, the way it is in most residential areas today.

Mr Eng Tiang Wah, vice president of product development and design in CapitaLand Limited, the project’s developer, said: “Wherever we can add in little elements of universal design, we did it… From the towers, to the surroundings… down to even the benches that we sit on.”

Kallang Trivista, a public housing development comprising three blocks of 808 homes, was also awarded the Universal Design award (Gold PLUS), with facilities and spaces that catered to all age groups.

Ms Goh Hui Hoon, senior architectural associate at Surbana Jurong Consultants, the architectural firm of the project, said:
“Universal design means to think about the user first… We had to think about the facilities and amenities users would appreciate… and incorporate them into the design.”

The features were embraced fully by Madam Lee Peck Kiow, 61, who lives in a one-bedroom studio apartment at Kallang Trivista. She had been living in a three-room flat at Rochor Centre for 30 years before it was acquired by the Government.

Besides what she called the “million-dollar view” from her new home, with vistas of the Singapore Sports Hub, Kallang River, and the Singapore Flyer, Madam Lee is also pleased with the variety of amenities within the residential area. “There’s a Senior Activity Centre, childcare centre, 24-hour supermarket… it’s all so good,” she said, adding that she visits the activity centre to exercise and take part in taiji classes.

Other features at Kallang Trivista’s elder-friendly units include cabinets mounted at a lower height for wheelchair users, step-free bathrooms fitted with grab-bars, as well as an alarm alert system. When activated by pulling a string, the alert system notifies the Senior Activity Centre on the first floor. The resident’s unit number will also be displayed on a signage just outside the lift lobby on that floor, notifying neighbours who will be able to render help.

Madam Lee, who lives with her 58-year-old husband, said: “It’s very good because we never know what will happen to us. We may just fall ill or faint and we need urgent help.”

Source: todayonline

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