i really admire the design of these stairs and how they incorporate a wheelchair access ramp. in a world were barrier free design is essential to living a full and happy life, its amazing to see landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander has taken literal steps to design stairs AROUND a ramp, instead of the other way around.
RE: in response to amount of discussion ive been getting with this photo, id like to put my opinion in the mix, as some people have been getting quiet upset about this.
for those of you who arent studying architecture, the inclusion of barrier free design in modern architecture and civil projects has been a very positive addition. with a large portion of north america’s population entering their elderly age, the need for barrier free entrances, exits, pathways and vertical elevation devices is a must, and it makes sense.
there are a few people who have negatively commented that perhaps the ramp is a a little too steep, that including the ramp in the middle of the stairs is degrading to a person with a disability and that these citizens are “getting in the way” of able-bodied people, who are walking up the stairs. i am very glad this design has brought up these issues, and it only continues to prove that there are still kinks to work out in barrier free design.
my take: after analyzing the picture, i have discovered 2 things:
1. as i live in Ontario, Canada, i will reference the Ontario Building Code: “barrier free ramps” are allowed a maximum slope of 1:12 (4.7 degree slope). my best guess from the stairs in this picture, there is a 1:2 (26.5 degree slope). that being said, this stair design is in Vancouver, British Columbia and doesnt follow the Ontario Building Code. fortunately, BC does have a similar building code, and the 26 degree slope makes this a non-barrier free ramp. on the other hand though, there was no mention of this ramp even being built to barrier free standards, BUT persons with wheelchair-required disables could still find this ramp useful if used with an able-bodied care taker.
2. my response to the idea that the ramp degrades disabled persons since they are crossing the path of able-bodied, and have a longer route, is the exact OPPOSITE. please think to yourself the last time you noticed a barrier free ramp that was one of the main entrance ways, and not off to the side, away from the main set of stairs. the idea of this design was to incorporate the ramp into the stairs, thereby giving respect to the disabled persons, and combining both entrances into a single, equal entrance. i strongly believe this is a fantastic way of viewing society as one group of people with different needs, rather than separate groups with different abilities.
thanks for your time guys, i appreciate the feedback. let me know what your take on it is :)