Three Canadian designers won awards recently showing you can fit a lot of Universal Design features into a small amount of space. Quebec graduate student André Jacques and Charles Laurence Poulx and Gil Hadry-Groleau of Montreal-based NÓS Architectes were announced as the winners of the Richelieu Awards for Young Designers. The contest challenged designers to create a Universal Design layout for a 450-square-foot condo.

Here are some Universal Design features included in the winning designs:

  • A kitchen table on wheels allows the unit to serve multiple purposes beyond dining.
  • A Murphy bed, when closed, converts to an office space.
  • The bathroom's vanity sink has an easy-grip faucet handle, an adapted, walk-in glass shower and a 17-inch-high toilet.
  • Storage units feature tip-on openings and Blumotion-sliding drawers rather than doors to allow access for people with reduced mobility.
  • The second winning design's open layout keeps wheelchair users in mind. Note the all-wood cabinetry and partitions throughout the condo.
  • A flexible bathroom partition rather than a door separates the adapted bathroom from the rest of the condo.
  • The proposed design has a foldaway bed to provide more open space in the multipurpose kitchen/office/bedroom area of the condo.
  • The second winning design also utilized a simple hanging system for storage and work spaces, enabling the adjustment of surface heights as needed by potential residents.