Universal Design Development Direction

The 2014 Universal Design International Seminar has obtained written consent from the speaker to publish the summarized and edited content

SPEAKER: Choi, Jong-gil (Director of Jongno Welfare Center for the Disabled)


Jongno Welfare Center for the Disabled opened in June 2012 and the building has four stories. The cneter has a higher proportion of the deaf and visually impaired users than other welfare centers, as the 100-year-old Seoul National Blind School and the Seoul National Agricultural School are right next to it. In addition, according to the user distribution survey in 2013 showed that users were distributed evenly from children to adults. In this discussion, the six construction guidelines for welfare centers are explained, and you can see how carefully they thought about them.


1. Finishing material

First, in terms of design elements, it was recommended that warm and soft finishing materials are used rather than cold and hard materials such as metal fittings. In addition, non-slip finishing materials are used to prevent people with disabilities from falling, and wall coverings made from natural materials are used to give a feeling of comfort. For the treatment room, sound absorbing and insulating materials were used on the walls to block out noise and focus on treatment.



2. Doors and windows

It is recommended that the doors and windows use clearly distinguished colors so that people with low vision can easily recognize them. Therefore, the Jongno Welfare Center for the Disabled clearly distinguishes the color of the door from the wall so that users with amblyopia and developmentally disabled users can clearly recognize the door. If possible, windows should allow effective use of natural light. The treatment room on the second floor of the Jongno Center (seen in the photo above) has a large window that was placed to let in natural light, and blinds were installed to control the light.


3. Color

When the walls are white, children and people with developmental disabilities can be distracted. Taking this into consideration, yellow and orange were used in the lobby on the 3rd floor of the welfare center to create a bright environment. In addition, green was used on the wall of the program room on the second floor, giving a sense of stability and concentration.

4. Lighting

Using indirect lighting can prevent afterimages, so the use of indirect lighting is recommended. In some spaces, direct lighting is used, which needs improvement.


5. Signage

Welfare centers for the disabled have a high rate of use by persons with developmental disabilities. So, when installing signs, pictograms were used to make it easier for people with developmental disabilities to recognize them. In addition, two handles were installed on the wall, at the top and bottom, for the convenience of children and people using wheelchairs.

6. Furniture

When installing furniture, it is desirable to think in advance about the purpose it will be used for. Therefore, unneeded teaching aids are stored out of sight during the program to increase concentration, and safety cushions are installed to prevent accidents for children.

Choi Jong-gil concludes his speech by proposing three needs for system improvement recognised in the field when constructing or reinforcing welfare facilities at welfare centers.

“Before constructing welfare facilities, it is necessary to conduct a user needs survey in advance. And it is desirable to reflect the operator's opinion by selecting an operator from the new construction stage.

In particular, the most important improvement is that the unit price of the functional enhancement cost is measured low, so it is difficult to use the budget in the actual field. Therefore, it is necessary to measure the enhancement costs realistically.”

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