Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Universal Kitchen Design January 22, 2009

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 10:36 pm

There are many obsticles to consider when designing a kitchen for the mentally and physically impaired.  It is most important to consider the accessibility of sinks, cabinets, countertops and appliances in a safe manner.   A rule of thumb for kitchen design that can be used for this target audience is to “not inhibit access or use by all people, disabled or undisabled.”

Posted by: Kristina Kalfaian


“Accessible Kitchens.” 2007. AP Accessibility Professionals. 22 Jan 2009 <;.


Access and Comfort

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 9:39 pm

One of the key potential principles of a kitchen design to work universaly is that, it needs to be accessable but at the same time confortable. It is very important for the design to be user friendly to all type of users. Our focus here is countertops;

  • 28 to 32 in high for standing and seated users; at this height they are confortable as chopping or baking centers. (Preiser, p.41.5).
  • 36 in high for general use by standing users; at this height the counter top works well as snack bar. (Preiser, p.41.5).
  • 42 to 45 in high for taller users. (Preiser, p.41.5).

Preiser, Wolfgang F. E., and Elaine Ostroff. Universal Design Handbook . McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001.

Posted by: Krithi Bhat


Universal Kitchen Design: Location, Location, Location

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 7:38 pm

Designing a space using the principles of Universal Design has become very important.  No matter the abilities or disabilities of the occupants, designers need to follow such principles.  One principle to keep in mind before designing a kitchen, for example, is the location of certain items, like light switches, cabinetry, and appliances.  Easy to reach and locate items help those that have disabilities that usually have a hard time operating such items.  Light switches should be located at a height that can be reached by someone sitting or standing.  Refrigerators with freezers on the bottom are a good universal design solution.  Cabinetry can be replaced by drawers and pullout “columns” because of easier accessibility.

Wildberger, Sara. “Everyone Welcome.” Washingtonian. 40.1 (October 2004): 193.

Posted by: Gania Kandalaft


Universal Kitchen Design – Lifting

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 7:35 pm
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Universal design in kitchens reduces the need for users to lift heavy items, such as pots and pans.  This is accomplished by placing countertops between major appliances, so that items can be slid instead of carried.  Sinks and dishwashers can also be placed at a close distance to the stove for easy transfer of cookware. (Riley, p. 65).


Riley, Charles A. “Someone’s in the Kitchen.” We (1999): 64-9.

Posted by:

Maggie Zilke


Universal Design and High-end Aesthetics are Not Incompatible

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 7:21 pm

For many years the term “universal design” has been thrown on many kitchens.  Unfortunately, these designs are not very pleasing to the eye.  Designers are finally coming up with kitchens that not only meet the needs of those who are handicapped but also meet the needs in an aesthetic form. The designs allow accessibility and easy operability for those who are handicapped.

Resource:  Pedersen, Martin. “Total access: three European kitchen systems prove that universal design and high-end aesthetics are not incompatible.” Metropolis Mar 2007: 104-7.

Posted By:  Gregory Sikora


Universal Kitchen Design

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 2:57 pm
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Kitchens are usually the heart of the home and an area in which much of a days activities take place.  To design a kitchen space that can accommodate all users, particularly those with mental and physical disabilities, there are various guidelines that need to be addressed.  For starters counter-tops and work-surfaces need to be adjustable or of various heights to provide flexibility and knee clearance at certain workstations like in sink areas is important.  Cabinets need to be designed with adjustable features such as  shelving, full-extension pull out drawers and easy to use drawer pulls.  It is essential to pay special attention to kitchen appliances as these are the main functioning tools of the space.  Things to consider when selecting appliances are the height of the appliance, how the doors open and where the controls are located.  Addressing these various design issues will ensure that the user has the best possible experience in using their space.

Posted by:  Anna Pasiut

“Universal Design In Housing.” The Center for Universal Design. January 2006. North Carolina State University. 22 Jan 2009 Pgs. 7-9

Universal Kitchen Design: Ease of access storage

Filed under: Kitchen Design — ia2studio @ 6:25 am

Well designed, sufficient, and properly located storage is essential to the success of any kitchen.There are certain height limits, as well as standards for how the cabinets and drawers open and close. The location of storage is especially important for those who are in wheelchairs or who are visually impaired.

For a kitchen to be universal, it demands that one consider easy access to all storage. Any faucets or handles in the universal kitchen should be easy to access and control.

Resource: Carol V. Dagwell, PhD.  Universal Design Strategy: The Universal Kitchen.

Posted by: Marissa Janice



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