Many houses with aging residents sport unsightly or makeshift ramps for wheelchairs and walkers.
Now a Chinese architectural studio has a solution, designing a sleek and modern house with a ramp as its eye-catching central feature.
The three-story, five-bedroom house was built in the rural Chinese village of Nansong by AZL Architects.
It’s designed as a home for four generations: a couple in their 50s; three older family members who use wheelchairs at times; and the couple’s daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, all of whom stay in guestrooms when they visit.
A ramp wraps artfully around and up the outside of the angular concrete house.
Features for accessibility, mobility and security are likely to figure in more housing designs, as the population ages and multigenerational households increase. One study has found more than 40% of Americans buying a home were considering space for an elderly parent or adult child.
The layout of the Chinese house was planned to give the generations both privacy and connections.
Mirrors at the ends of staircases and hallways visually link the public spaces.
“No dead end exists in the public space, so that the elderly and the children can take care of each other,” the studio said.
The home is built around an open-air central courtyard that evokes a traditional Chinese farmhouse.
The elderly mother lives on the ground floor, where small openings in her bedroom wall let her feel part of the adjacent family living area. She has an additional kitchen and a small garden to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
Upstairs, the granddaughter has a bedroom, a video room, and a room for playing table tennis. The main kitchen and dining area are open-plan, and the ground-floor bathroom can accommodate two people in case help is needed.