Accessible Design
Recreational center for the disabled
The Yemeni Capital, and the high council for motherhood and childhood plan to construct a recreational center for the disabled in one of Sana'a city's public gardens. The aim of the project is to invlove the disabled in the society and enhance their talents and abilities. I am involved in the desiogn process but there is a big shortage on information about what regulations we should follow in designing something recreational for the disabled and I mean here different kinds of disabilities with a great focus on the hearing and sight disability.
If anyone has any information online on this topic, I would be very thankful if they would share it with me.
Nada Ishaq
Recreational center for the disabled

Dear Nada,

Hello there.


Well I'd like to tell you what I think in general about the design of such a project ��


For sure you must see the reference books ( Neufert & Time-Saver Standards ) for collecting the basic data about the facilities the disabled and handicapped used, but I think that if you can visit any place where disabled use, to see how they interact with the place, and what's good so you can use in your design, and what's bad so you must avoid to make your design able to be used, not just very nice, well presented on paper / computer��


Also I think that the place to be recreational is a combination between 2 main factors:-

What beauty/pleasure of the space can afford.

To what extend users of the space can interact with it successfully.


So to reach this goal, I think that it's important to make the mass ( building or buildings ) contributes with the space ( the outside area ) and the connections between them must be easy so users can interact so the design - whatever the language you'll use for - must focuses on the simplicity of how the users can use it, so circulation is very important inside the place and outside in the space.


The outside space is very important to be used, not only to have a good design/landscape, but also I think that some or many activities those disables can make in the outside space, as those people need to be always connected with the nature, and also if they have to make activities inside the mass, the building must be visually connected with the outside space.


I think that the design must have good/creative landscape, and so you may need to consult a person who's specialized in different kinds of trees, plants��etc to suggest the right kind of landscape to be placed according to your landscape design. If available, you might have a landscape architect for your project ( I don't know how much budget you are allowed to use ).


It's important to take the climate of Yemen into consideration, so the place/space as it's open space, must be good and naturally ventilated and lighted as much as you can, also well shaded, because the sustainability of the place is important, so I may suggest you use sun for generating electricity, using photo-voltaic panels. ( I don't know how much budget you are allowed to use ).


Also I think if you can have some presentations for them either inside the mass or outside it using some he-technology, like laser show screen so the place can be more interactive ( I don't know how much budget you are allowed to use ).


One last important thing, that the disabled people have internal powers, and those powers can be induced by a creative, open design �� so it's not important to have a very complex design to be creative, it's nice to have the local identity of the Yemen Culture to be introduced whatever your language of design will be, you have the choice to reflect the identity using a contemporary language, I don't know how but it's nice to have other members opinion.


Other Sources

You can see other sources for more information and I hope they will be useful for you:-

  • { The Hanover Expo 2000 } to see how did they use technology inside the pavilions. @ [ Medina Magazine, issue 8 // albenna Magazine, vol. 20 issue 121 ].

  • { Zaha Hadid's LF One Pavilion } in Germany.

  • { ArchNet Digital Library } search inside it for more information.

  • { Aga Khan Development Network }, visit the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture under the Aga Khan Trust for Culture section and look at the winning prizes for the cycles 1998/1999, and 2000/2001.

Wishing you all the best,

Good Luck,


Hicham Maged
Recreational center for the disabled
Thank you Hicham for your response.
I was looking forward to more discussion about this issue in terms of not just functional regulations but also about how you can enhance the visual qualities of a project to trigger the interest of deaf children, and at the same time enhance the sound qualities to give the blind child the effect and impression you would like to give.
In other words how can we use color, signage, materials to create some kind of orientation in the project, and how can we maintain different degrees, and types of sounds to enhance the understanding of the blind child of the project and it's different sections, and also how can we further enhance other senses in the project to make it a pleasing experience for the disabled?
So many questions?
Iknow...but Ithink that they are the keys to creating a good and humane design for such a project.
Nada Ishaq
Recreational center for the disabled

Dear Nada,

Hello again.


I understand what you mean, so I think you must have a physiologist consultant involved in your project to understand more how to improve the ability and senses of those disabled people, in addition to this I think that the color, shape and the volume of the building ( mass ) can play a strong role in this, as there are many studies about this.


Also did you hear about The Chakras ? Well it's methods which study the relation between Consciousness, the Energy Field - the aura - that surround our body and the Physical Body itself; as it divides our body into 7 main energy centres or 7 chakras - represented by the basic 7 colors - as you can see in the figure illustrated up. According to this, without any complex details it also suggests that colors can play a great role in how the colors can affects the main energy centres of our body ��


In fact I'm still reading about it, and I don't know all the information about it yet, so I'd like other ArchNet members to share there opinion, if any body have more information about this or if anyone had used this in architecture before. ( i.e. the role of color��.) ?!!!


Related Sources

I suggest visiting the following online sites for more information:-

If you'd like, you'll find a file tilted Cakras Chart in My Files\General folder.


Wishing you all the best,

Good Luck.


Hicham Maged
Recreational center for the disabled
Dear Hicham,

Thank you for your response.I just wanted to ask about the chakra's background and ideology on which it stands, so when I suggest such concepts I would know where I stand. It is really interesting to imagine the points of power in our body and interpret them in color terms, but Are these colors illustrating colors to make us see the difference between the chakras or do they relate to the interaction between the body and it's surroundings?
We would like other members to participate and tell us about their experince with color in architecture.

Nada Ishaq
Recreational center for the disabled
Dear Nada
I am a student of architecture and in my thesis I am designing a Franciscan monastery which have a recreation center for disables. Could you please me help me with the requirements and the design process.
Kanwardeep Thind


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