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Universal Design Principles

Ensure that entrances to all buildings are welcoming and facilitate safe and comfortable access and egress for all people. Entrances are to be clearly distinguishable and easy to navigate, ensuring that architectural features do not pose unintended physical or visual barriers.

Design Criteria

Within the Curtin context entrances to buildings should:

  • Be orientated in such a way to reduce travel distances, in context with the surrounds and for visual and intuitive identification.
  • Be identified with artwork or a landmark and lit for night time, to ensure visibility from the principal pedestrian route and adjacent buildings.
  • Be distinguishable from the rest of the building.
  • Be designed so that principal entrance(s) differ in their treatment to minor entrance(s) as this will aid user orientation and reduce arrival error.
  • Be designed to that all building entrances, other than service doors, are accessible, welcoming to all building users with a level approach, without need for steps and a ramp.
  • Have dimensions that accommodate the anticipated volume of users and the building purpose.
  • Provide a suitably dimensioned canopy or shelter, appropriate to the prevailing weather conditions to create an identifiable landmark and to assist in the comfort of all users. The canopied or sheltered area must have a level ground surface with any required grade to manage the shedding of water kept within very shallow tolerances.
  • Be designed so that the principal building entrance and any entrance where queuing and / or waiting will occur are furnished with a campus assistance point and pause point (or a nearby activity hub).
  • Have the campus assistance point, identification sign, and any building entry controls located under the shelter or canopy.
  • Design-in capacity for sufficient building identification signage and directories to avoid the need for building tenants and / or management to place information stands, A-frame signage and the like at building entrances where such items potentially create visual clutter and a physical barrier.
  • Be designed so that entrances function as a means of emergency egress for people with a disability.
  • Meet AS1428.4.2, with an identification sign at the doorway.
  • Be designed with automatic sliding doors at principal building entrances.
  • Be designed so that any minor, outward opening doors are recessed or guarded when located along any building shoreline.
  • Be designed so that service doors are not furnished with accessible features, as determined through the application of Section D3.4 Exemptions of the Premises Standard. In keeping with Universal Design Principles, such exempted doorways could be ‘painted out’ and door hardware removed or visually minimised to reduce navigational error.

Automatic sliding doors, glazed airlocks and entry lobbies

Design Criteria

Within the Curtin context glazed entries to buildings should:

  • Not be designed with fully glazed airlocks as these can be highly reflective, challenging to visually navigate and potentially pose a safety hazard.
  • Be protected from any glare with external awnings, window tinting, privacy film or blinds.
  • Whilst natural lighting is recommended, over glazing entrances can result in visual confusion due to the masking of any wayfinding features. Whist it is important to have brighter lighting at the entrance of a building, external lights must not dazzle a pedestrian and spotlights should be directed to a feature.
  • Have centrally opening automatic doors rather than from the left or right as this provides greater predictability and enhances wayfinding.
  • Be installed/ adjusted so that automatic door opening times and speed do not require the user to alter their stride.
  • Have door framing in luminance contrast, an application opaque film, colour treatment, a traversable and colour contrast mat or change in floor colour and treatment at the entrance. This strategy will enhance navigation to and through a doorway.
  • Have any building entry controls within an entry airlock or lobby, positioned to enable adequate manoeuvring space to access to the controls, for all people.
  • Give consideration to soft landscaping directly in front of glazed walls or sidelights as this will prevent users from mistaking glazing as an opening.
  • Have a feature that allows automatically controlled doors to be capable of manual operation in the event of power failure.

Bridged walkway

Vertical access options to address a topographically challenging landscaping and building siting can be effectively managed by the installation of a well-designed bridge link.

Design Criteria

Within the Curtin context any bridge link should:

  • Be covered as there is likely to be increased prevailing weather conditions associated with an elevated bridge link. Cover should protect the bridge and approach to the entrance with appropriate weather protection for the anticipated conditions.
  • Be no less than 2500mm wide to accommodate turning for a scooter user and enable wheelchair passing, proportioned to enable an automatic sliding door to be installed rather than an automatic, outward opening swing door.
Hot Tip
An airlock that is designed for the management of internal temperature control or wind tunnelling purposes that is a ‘glazed box’ arrangement can be confusing for people with vision or cognitive impairment as they can be tactually and visually disorientating. Revolving doors are not-allowable and therefore the design of any airlock or wind lock in lieu of a non-allowable revolving door should be considered only in exceptional instances and must be designed to minimise visual disorientation and enhance wayfinding in order to reduce user error and maximize user safety.
Retrofit Hot Tip

In a retrofit situation, a movement sensor activated automatic swing door could pose a safety hazard. Ideally a sliding automatic door would be installed. If an automated swing door provides the only alternative in a retrofit situation, the following to be incorporated:

  • The leading edge should be visually contrasting and must be protected so that pedestrians cannot walk into it. The door should not swing into transverse pedestrian traffic.
  • The floor surface to be marked out to visually cue to the extent of the door swing.
  • Be sensor protected to ensure the door cannot close on a user, including a person who is seated.
  • Sensor to be orientated to ensure detection of persons who are seated.
  • The door should revert to manual control in the event of a power failure.
  • Ideally ensure an audible cue is incorporated as the door swings open.

Decorative/ privacy film on glazing

Design Criteria

Within the Curtin context any decorative/ privacy film on glazing should:

  • Be applied to fixed glazed panes with the intent to aid visual orientation to an opening or to ensure a pane cannot be mistaken for an opening. Give careful consideration to:
    • Achieving sufficient opacity to ensure an adequate measure of visual detection. A translucent film may offer very limited visual detection.
    • The type of film applied. A very reflective glazed surface, particularly in the outdoor environment, may render film applied to the inner face of the glazing challenging to see.
    • Patterns or colours used. The application of a highly patterned film may cause visual confusion or disorientation and add unnecessary visual clutter.

Applying luminance contrast to doorways. This feature must be applied in accordance with current Australian Standards on access and mobility, must be achieved. The purpose of this application is to aid visual orientation to a doorway. Careful consideration should be given to the combined effect of warning strips, privacy film, decorative film, ad hoc signage and doorway luminance contrast elements to ensure wayfinding is enhanced and legible, rather than creating visual confusion and clutter.

Maintenance and specification

In the specification of products associated with the entrance, consideration must be given to the potential barriers that may be unintentionally created by the specification of inferior products or the incorrect product for the job at hand.

Design Criteria

Within the Curtin context consider:

  • Durability of the any mat to ensure no lip or gap is created within the mat well.
  • Prevention of water ingress to an internal floor surface creating an unintended slippery surface.
  • Glare created off extensive glazing, lighting products, highly polished or reflective surfaces.
  • Ongoing maintenance associated with door closing mechanisms and retention of a doorway that is both light to open and slow to close without being challenging or heavy to operate.
  • Maintenance / reliability associated with push button, semi-automated door controls.