CapitaLand Goes Universal
CapitaLand properties have Universal Design features to ensure accessibility for people of all ages and abilities
Issue: Sep 2012
CapitaLand embraces universal design in its projects to promote accessibility for people of all ages and ability like this family room at Lot One Shoppers’ Mall where the washroom with toilet facilities are large enough so that parents can keep an eye on their young children who are unable to use the washroom on their own
When CapitaLand says it builds for people, it means just what it says. Its properties – shopping malls, homes, serviced residences and offices are designed with the needs of all people in mind. Incorporated into the buildings are features that exhibit the design philosophy of “Universal Design”. The term, first coined by architect, Ronald L. Mace, and later popularized by author Selwyn Goldsmith, refers to products and built environments that are usable by everyone regardless of age or ability. Universally Designed products and environment cover the needs of people of different abilities and is essential in providing an accessible and user-friendly environment for all.
In Singapore, there has been a greater move towards Universal Design. The shift is both in anticipation of the increasingly greying population (by 2030, an estimated 1 in 5 in Singapore will be aged 65 and above) which will require special care and access, as well as to create a more inclusive society.
“As a socially responsible real estate developer, CapitaLand buildings must meet the needs of the end users, be it the residents, shoppers and tenants regardless of age or ability. Therefore we incorporated Universal Design (UD) since 1 June 2011 in our Green Buildings Guidelines to ensure that UD considerations are factored in right from the start of a project. We want our projects to be as ‘inclusive’ as possible within the local context and function of the building and encourage our colleagues to go beyond just compliance to UD regulations,” said Mr Francis Wong Hooe Wai, Chairman, CapitaLand Green Committee.
Mr Wong should know. He is the newly-appointed Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Industry Ambassador (Universal Design) in Singapore. As an ambassador, Wong has to help communicate BCA’s key initiatives and garner support from industry peers.
Enabling the less abled
Side doors at lift lobbies and ramps make it convenient for the wheelchair bound to go in and out of One George Street
At CapitaLand’s offices, Universal Design is expressed in features that make the development user-friendly to all. At One George Street, the pathways linking the buildings to the MRT station are sheltered. The Grade A office building also has lift lobby access and ramps for wheelchair bound visitors or office workers, making their entrances and exits a breeze. There are also ample communal spaces for people to gather and interact, such as seats along the main pedestrian path and at the drop-off porch.
Carparks in CapitaLand properties are also designed with parking spaces for the disabled. In CapitaMalls, there are also ramps enabling wheelchairs and strollers to easily move from place to place; as well as special toilets for wheelchair users. In addition, JCube also has washrooms with no doors to make it easier for the wheel-chair bound to enter.
(Left) Ascott Raffles Place’s handicapped lift (white door pictured here) affords easy access to those in wheelchairs; (Right) Residential properties have switches that are just a metre from the floor for easy access by children and wheelchair users
Serviced residence, Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, has a handicapped lift from street level to lobby for wheelchairs, and strollers to access the lobby without negotiating the stairs. Lifts have buttons low enough for the wheelchair-bound to reach and door frames wide enough for them to pass through easily.
Over at Citadines on Bourke Melbourne, Australia, features that make the stay comfortable and convenient for the less abled are well thought out. Braille signages can be found throughout the building to help the visually impaired find their way around the property. A lowered desk at reception is specially designed for guests in wheelchairs. There is even an access lift chair in the pool. About four percent or 15 rooms in Citadines on Bourke Melbourne are specially designed with wide corridors and special bathrooms to accommodate the less abled guests. What is also thoughtful is some rooms are interconnecting which allows a carer to be on hand while according the individual privacy in their own space.
Braille signages and lowered reception desk are just some thoughtful features put in place at Citadines on Bourke Melbourne for the less abled guests
At CapitaLand residential developments, ramps are installed in the landscaped areas where possible, and from the pathways leading into the building for the convenience of wheelchair-users and usage of strollers. There are also ramps at the main entrances where there are significant changes in the grounds level.
At newer developments, at least one bathroom in each home is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs while switches are installed just one metre from the floor so that children and wheelchair-bound individuals can reach them easily.
CapitaLand’s Australand property, Discovery Point, is a fine example of a residential community that caters for everyone. The whole community of Discovery Point has been designed to comply with disability access codes. As such, the development has several features that provide access for people with disabilities.
Discovery Point in Australia has a number of disability-friendly features such as ramps that link the development to public areas for easy access
For example, a pedestrian-friendly environment is central to its design. The development is built with a permeable network of streets that connect residents to the surrounding amenities such as a park, the river, public transport and shops. Ramps between public areas and the Discovery Point community ensure that whenever there is a change of height, wheelchair users and the visually handicapped can still transit easily. When possible, the public plaza areas are designed so that the level change is gradual and the entrances to buildings are level.
Where the difference in height is significant, lifts have also been installed. Examples of this include from the footpath to the train station ticketing level and from the basement car park to the street level car park. Finally, there are lifts in each building for disabled access.
Caring for the Elderly
These seats at the open-air garden in JCube have handrails so the elderly have support when lowering themselves onto the seats and getting up from them
JCube is a magnet for both youths and the young-at-heart. On the second storey, the mall has an open-air garden with wooden benches where shoppers can hang out and enjoy Nature. The seats have handrails to provide better support and grip for the elderly as they get up or lower themselves onto the seats. Pebbles set amidst granite tiles along the footpath makes it perfect for anyone to take an evening stroll and enjoy a little foot massage.
CapitaMalls are so focused on the needs of its customers that it has inspired its retailers. Golden Village Multiplex at Plaza Singapura allows families with the elderly and pregnant mothers to exit from the entrance of the cinema for their convenience.
Selected residential units at d’Leedon will incorporate elder-friendly features like emergency call buttons in the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms
Ascott Raffles Place Singapore has a studio apartment with special safety features such as an emergency call button linked to the security office, railings in the bathroom for support and a seat in the shower for those who cannot support themselves. The apartment connects to each other for the caregiver so help is always at hand but the elderly can still have their own space.
“Most of the serviced residences in Singapore are older buildings, and as such are not designed to cater to the elderly and mobility impaired. This gives us an edge when elderly or mobility impaired people are looking for accommodation in Singapore,” said Andrew Donadel, Residence Manager at Ascott Raffles Place.
Such elderly-friendly features can also be found in homes built by CapitaLand Residential Singapore. Emergency call buttons which are linked to the development’s security, will be made available in the living room, bedroom and bathroom of select units at d’Leedon.
Multi-generation units can be found at Varsity Park Condominium and The Metropolitan. These units have a separate room or studio unit that is segregated from the main unit so that the elderly can live close to their families while maintaining a measure of privacy and independence.
Citadines Karasuma-Goko Kyoto’s bathrooms have handrails and wide spaces to accommodate those in wheelchairs and ostomate sinks to enable people who have undergone invasive surgeries to empty their waste pouches
In Japan, which has the world’s largest greying population, catering to the elderly is especially important. Citadines Karasuma-Goko Kyoto has wider bathrooms with handrails for wheelchair users. As part of providing a barrier free environment for the disabled, the property has also installed ostomate sinks to enable people who have undergone invasive surgeries to empty their waste pouches.
Watching Over the Children
Dedicated cubicle with baby seat inside the ladies rest room
Parents have access to nursing rooms with hot water, changing tables and child seats. The height of the urinals has also been adjusted so that young boys can use the same urinals too. At ION Orchard, there are special parent cubicles that are larger to accommodate mother and child. It also has separate children’s restrooms with facilities just for the young ones. Meanwhile, Lot One Shopper’s Mall women’s toilets are being fitted with baby seats inside the cubicle so mummy can tend to herself hands-free.
Family parking spaces like the one in Plaza Singapura (left) and Lot One Shoppers’ Mall (right) cater to families and are situated closer to lobbies for shoppers’ convenience
For families with young children, malls such as Plaza Singapura, Junction 8, ION Orchard and Lot One Shoppers’ Mall have special parking spaces. These reserved spaces are larger and have wider walkways, allowing for easy maneuvering of strollers.
Shoppers at Plaza Singapura and ION Orchard can also borrow strollers from the concierge or customer service counter.
(Left) Plaza Singapura’s Family Lounge is a great place for tired families to rest and play after a day of shopping and dining; (Right) At ION Orchard, there are special child restrooms with miniature facilities for children and parent nursing rooms with amenities like hot water and a diaper changing table
Plaza Singapura goes beyond the usual nursing rooms and changing tables to provide a Family Lounge on Level Four. The room has toys, board games, as well as cable television, and provides a haven for tired feet and kids. Parents can also rest at the massage chairs in the Family lounge.
With people as its focus, CapitaLand has ensured that the young, old and those with special needs are all taken care of, as the developer designs its buildings for all.