Accessibility was a key factor in the design of our extension given that we are a charity providing help to blind people. We wanted to ensure that people with other disabilities could also use the building easily.
Our architect Rajeswari Raj and builders EJ McGrath proved to be the ideal team. We have an old Victorian building and stone reclaimed from the demolition of old out buildings was reclaimed to build our new extension. The stonework is amazing and really blends in well with the old building.
EJ McGrath really understood our needs, we wanted to get lots of natural light into the building and they helped us to select the best patio doors for the job – sliding doors rather than bi folds because they are more accessible for blind people. We had very specific needs regarding our lighting, with up lighters to reflect light back from the ceiling, suspended fluorescents which needed to be dimable and best of all the outside LED lights to provide wayfinding for people with sight loss.
Roger, EJ McGraths electrician, took all of our demands in his stride and we have a really flexible system to suit all occasions. Our colour palette of lime green and egyptian cotton came as a bit of a shock to some, but provided an ideal contrast between walls, flooring and furniture which is a great help to visually impaired people. We are keen to demonstrate to everyone that visits our venue that you can be stylish and still have the accent on accessibility.
We have had such good feedback from service users and community groups alike and we are very proud of the end product. It’s all down to listening to each others ideas, good team work and excellent workmanship.