A comment about Accessible Auroville Workshop 3 – 4 March 2011
An Accessible Auroville
Anjlees's/Samarthyam's approach gives us a wonderful new lens through which to view our built environments, one we could easily pass on to our children to help them develop more sensitive and caring attitudes.
Auroville's architects and those concerned with our built environment, how it confines us or liberates us, will soon, I hope, be convening a conference here to discuss how best to create an Accessible Auroville. We need rapidly to move things forward, develop a set of high standards for anything that is built in Auroville.
An exercise: Look at the builidings you live, work and play in; are they accessible to all potential users, and if not, what practicable changes could we make, eg removal of barriers/obstructions, clear signage, heights of switches and counters, widths of doors, turning room for wheelchairs, ramps with gentle gradients and rest platforms, textures of surfaces, non-slip floors, contrasting colours for visually impaired people, etc.
The workshop was excellent. Anjlee's grasp of all the legal requirements and practical solutions was impressive. The issue of accessibility is pressing, because each day we neglect it we exclude some members of our community and others who might have come here. Let our approach be steady, thorough and reasonable.
Let us hope all our architects will very soon find time to bring themselves up-to-date on issues of accessibility and comfort for all.
Auroville Accessibility Audit 2011
1st we'd like to thank Samarthyam for all their training and guidance
Next we would like to thank first of all” Accessible Auroville” who has organized this wonderful workshop with the help of PCG,Stich de Zair, L'Avenir, Town Hall for allowing us to access their space and give us this opportunity to help Auroville.
Finally to thank our team and the other attendants of this workshop for their support.
Our Team: Team 'A' for Accessibility
Team Leader: Martin
Note Taker: Stephanie
Measurers: Natalie, Gabie & Thamu
Time Keeper: Angeline
Assessors: Cornnia, Jamey & Richard
Supplies: Susmita and “Accessible Auroville” project holder
Guidence & Support: Anjlee
Aim & Objective
To raise awareness and assist in Auroville transition to becoming more accessible to all people.
To conduct an accessibility audit of Aurovilles Avenir town hall.
To produce an audit report and present it to L Avenir
Getting there... (to Town Hall)
Good sized roads (bus, car,... possible) :
Put clear visible signs for everyone
Ample parking space for motorbikes
Some areas paved and concrete
Sliding gate is helpful
Sufficient space for improvements
Mark out a pathway from the parking to the entrance.
Pathway to be made visible, wide enough and suitably surfaced from the parking to the building.
Drop off area within 30m of the entrance or permanent parking space within this area.
Additional parking spaces outside of gate designated for accessible needs.
Cabin for the security guard with an intercom at the gate.
Clear and visible signs to direct parking and entering of the building.
Fill in the gaps and create solid pathway from all parking areas.
Remove the cow catcher.
Consider recessing the gate track.
Pathway & Entrance
Paths outside are of ample size and well surfaced.
Doors open in both directions.
Extend the ramp to the side room and improve the gradient to a minimum of 12:1.
Put a ramp into the side door of the building.
Add hand rails on all ramps; should be 38mm diameter.
T-shaped ramp to enter the front of the building with a landing at the junction.
All entrances should have recessed matts and should be free of obstructions.
Install signage on the wall beside the entrances.
Consider a different door for entrance in front of the men's toilet because when opened inward it blocks the lavatory.
Previously recessed desk has now been filled in.
Redesign the shape of the desk providing access for wheel chairs and people who can not bend over.
Add a sign noting 'Reception'
Provide a lower counter for wheel chair users.
Raise floor for receptionist so they are not so much lower than the guests and straining their neck.
Alter sculpture to allow these changes.
Auditorium Kitchen Counter and Access to the Cafe
Low portion of ramp should be marked off to prevent head injury for any portion under 2100mm.
Kitchen counter should have a lower section at 800mm.
Pillar at bottom of the cafe steps could be painted to make it more visible.
Signage to direct people the ramp to access the cafe.
Steps to the open stage need hand rails and correction of the steps to prevent tripping.
Extend handrails leading to cafe and provide rounded edges.
Make handrails visible (yellow or red).
Ramps need handrails on both sides from top to bottom.
Improve over all gradient of ramp when extending.
Existing hand rails are 60mm and should be 38mm.
Extend the ramp to cafe. Currently a 1:9 ration and should be 1:12.
Landing area on ramp is too should and should be extend to 1500mm.
Cover ramp for poor weather conditions.
Barriers at the side of the ramps are sharp and could be rounded.
Ramp enter toilets need to be extended, to add a landing and to add handrails.
Make the to able to be opened in both directions.
Install handrails, one moveable and one fixed, in the toilets.
Restroom doors should open inside the building and toilets doors should open outwards.
Spray hose should be placed closer to the toilet.
Over all dimensions of toilets were too small, 1850x1400, and should be 2
Provide basin next to toilets for urine bags.
Wash basins should be lowered, provide tilted mirrors and make soap accessible.
Men's room should have accessible urinals with handrails.
Consider adjusting curved walls/corners.
Lower hangers for placing bags.
Install 'assistance' call buttons
Make surfaces and containers accessible for the visually impaired
Countertop needs a 800mm surface.
Balcony rails should be raised to 900mm or add a railing.
Signage in the cafe to the bathrooms and exits.
Keep ramp pathway clear.
Consider lowering hand washing sink.
Move the bulletin board to allow access to the hand washing basin.
Provide a menu card in brail.
1st Floor of Town Hall
Raise the barrier along outside corridor and address the gaps underneath.
Round off the sharp edges of the barrier uprights.
Replace wire barriers with smaller, sturdier barriers. Consider glass panels for aesthetic reasons.
Shade panels have sharp edges. Consider making more visible, red or yellow.
Paint sloping concrete pillars a more visible color.
Double glass door should be kept obstacle free and able to be opened.
Braille signage on all offices.
Visible exit signs.
Signs should be made more visible, larger font, contrasting colors, not white on clear glass and at lower levels.
Inside: Barrier surrounding open floor should be made 900mm and the sharp edges should be addressed.
Where the sculpture protrudes into common spaces; it should be made more visible.
Models and exhibitions should be at lower, more accessible/visible heights.
Provide a lift on the the 1st and 2nd floors. Space is available outside at the NW coroner. 2nd floor will need an additional platform to facilitate exiting the lift.
North balcony needs a barrier.
Provide shoes racks where shoes are removed throughout the building.