Local News

Universal Design Creates Homes Of The Future

Posted April 20, 2000

— Homes built for the future can be found in the Triangle. They look like regular homes, but they are designed to meet people's needs throughout life.

A Habitat for Humanity house in Chapel Hill is an example of a Universal Design developed byN.C. State's School of Design. It looks like a regular home, but it is equipped with features that are easy to use.

The handles are easy to open. The cabinets below the sink slide away so people can sit and work. The washer and dryer are built up higher and the appliance controls are easy to reach.

A stroke left Halina Morman with limited use of her right arm. She says the Habitat for Humanity house was built with her in mind.

"Further on down the road when I can't handle everything, I can sit down with a wheelchair and do exactly the same thing," Morman says.

Architectural designer Rex Pace says the Universal Design makes a home more flexible over a person's lifetime and much more economically viable to change it as they need to.

"It will be more convenient for everybody to live in a home today, but it will also be easier to change that home to meet future needs you may have as you age or if you take care of an aging relative," Pace says.

The Universal Design can be implemented in any price of home. The key is to incorporate them into the construction of the home.

Pace says he hopes that Universal Design will become a nationwide demonstration project.

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