i + D - September/October 2020 - 45

Barrier-free Benefits
Robert Wilkoff, owner of the architecture firm Archaeon, also is
noticing the beginning of a shift toward well-designed fixtures and
mechanisms being more available in the United States. "There's
definitely more stuff available every year, but sadly, I'm still not
seeing much of it generated here in the United States," he says.
"There is great potential for industries to start designing some of
these solutions." Wilkoff looks towards Europe for many of his
projects, such as a home he designed for a family with two young
boys who are wheelchair users and have visual and perception
challenges. One noteworthy find: a sleek, stainless-steel changing
table that holds more than 250 pounds and can rise and lower from
the floor.
Wilkoff is innately familiar with accessible design-his father,
William L. Wilkoff, not only served on President Kennedy's
committee for barrier-free design but also was a consultant during
the creation of the ADA. Later, the younger Wilkoff would assist
his dad on site studies to retrofit existing buildings. It comes
as no surprise that he later ended up specializing in accessible
custom homes for people living with disabilities. Even his standard
residential projects are often designed with aging in place or basic
accessibility in mind.

A counter lowers with the push of a button to accommodate two kids who
use wheelchairs in a custom home by Robert Wilkoff of Archaeon Architects.
(Image: Kenneth M Wyner Photography Inc.)

i+D - September/October 2020

"For our custom homes, we would talk to clients about the
concept: If you're planning on staying in this house as you're
getting older, you might consider having your primary bedroom
suite on the first floor. We did an amazing number of custom
homes with first-floor primary bedroom suites before anyone
was thinking about it, and we routinely put in wheelchairaccessible doors and accessible bathrooms with grab bars and
a decent amount of space around the toilet."
The basic design elements of accessibility for a commercial
space are simple, says Wilkoff: "It's the path of travel, how
you get through spaces, and how to get from the exterior
to the interior. And then there's access to basic needs that
people have: the bathrooms, water fountains, and any common
element that all people use."
While residential spaces aren't held to the same set of criteria,
Wilkoff says that since the ADA has been adopted, buildings
both commercial and residential are now being designed with
these basic tenets in mind. "It's become more mainstream
because of the ADA, and so many components of the ADA
are adopted into building codes," he notes.

A custom home by Robert Wilkoff of Archaeon Architects
features a custom handrail in the hallways to support those
with physical disabilities.
(Image: Kenneth M Wyner Photography Inc.)

45



i + D - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i + D - September/October 2020

Contents
i + D - September/October 2020 - Cover1
i + D - September/October 2020 - Cover2
i + D - September/October 2020 - 3
i + D - September/October 2020 - 4
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i + D - September/October 2020 - Contents
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