Photo by Ivan Samkov
Here at Phinesse Construction Group, ergonomic thinking is deeply important and vital to realizing the company’s vision for an interactive and inclusive community.
There is no one constant demographic to think about when designing a structure or space. You just can’t factor in one group of people at the expense of everyone else. You have to take into account a varied range of populations that might find themselves making use of and accessing your buildings. One might think that this expectation severely limits the creativity and ingenuity of the design by requiring a sort of “one size fits all” arrangement, but that is far from true. By attempting to create spaces that value inclusivity, one can be stimulated into branching out and developing novel and intriguing possibilities.
Now, that’s simply a tangential advantage. The true benefit of an inclusive building design is that it helps cultivate appeal while showing the community that you have their best interests in mind.
What is more of a way to showcase your sincerity by establishing a place where anyone can access it?
What is ErgonomicS, and Why Should Anyone Care About It?
Ergonomic thinking is developing ideas that are in line with the standards of ergonomics, which is the process of developing spaces, tools, etc. so that both users and products achieve a basic level of synergy. Now, ergonomics is mostly associated with furniture and auxiliary tools, e.g., chairs, sofas, and remote controls, but it can also be applied to structural design and building maintenance.
Ergo, a foundational aim of design, whether it is architectural or instrumental, should be to provide accessibility and comfortability to the user.
Although it is an important aspect of modern design today, ergonomics is a relatively young branch of science. Yet, its foundations are interdisciplinary and cover a wide range of older, more established sciences, such as:
- Anthropometry. Ergonomic thought is heavily associated with the human body and, as such, goes to great lengths to conceive of outcomes where the human body is met with the least chances for harm and discomfort.
- Biomechanics. Ergonomic thought relies on a clear understanding of how the body works and how it interacts with the forces of nature to establish accurate standards for design with regard to usability.
- Environmental Physics. Ergonomic thought aims at providing the best designs for human spaces and tools, and doing so requires working knowledge of how natural processes, such as weather, sensation, etc., work.
- Social Psychology. Ergonomic thought does not mainly focus on the individual and their ease and comfort but on the community as a whole; as such, it is vital that there is an understanding of how people react and engage in groups, whether a couple or a whole city.
The Main Spaces that Require Application of Ergonomic Thinking
The word most synonymous with ergonomics is the word “accessibility.” This is usually defined (in architectural and design circles) as the quality of allowing for convenience. If your building is accessible, that means that anyone, or at least close to anyone, can make use of it.
- Entrance. This is a key factor in determining accessibility. If only a certain type of person can enter the space without the use of supplementary tools, then accessibility is dead on the water. What does having an accessible entrance mean? It means that people, who are wheelchair-bound, cane-reliant, or caregiver-escorted, have the opportunity to enter the space without too much of a hassle. This is usually indicated by the presence of ramps, handrails, elevators, etc.
- Corridors. Now that the entrance is highly accessible, anyone can just get in without having to do half an hour’s work of entering. But what do you have to do to make things consistently accessible? Critical spaces to consider are hallways, passages, and corridors. Width and length are key factors; lack of obstruction also. This means that corridors should be wide enough for most wheelchairs to pass each other without grinding against the walls; there should be little to no hindrances between rooms, and directions, like signs, logos, etc., should be appropriately placed.
- Bathroom. The comfort rooms are often ignored when thinking of accessibility. This should not be the case. A bathroom is as important as the entrance when it comes to establishing accessibility. Doing your “business” seems easy enough with a bathroom, but imagine you are visiting a hospital or a park and you have nowhere to do it. That would be unimaginably terrible–so much so that you would always factor in that possibility when visiting those places again. By making bathrooms accessible, you are allowing more people the benefit of not having to worry whether they can hold it in or not.
The Phinesse Construction Group is invested in accessibility, advocating for more inclusive spaces and user-friendly design in their projects. As such, ergonomic thinking is embedded in their vision and mission.
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