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Multigenerational modern home turns wheelchair ramp into a design feature

Fit for three generations

White house with light in windows Yao Li

Multigenerational living often leads to interesting design solutions. Out of necessity, the residences must accommodate people (and sometimes animals) with different abilities and needs—these constraints can help architects get creative.

This house in Nansong, China, is a great example of how a need for accessibility becomes embedded in the overall design of the residence. AZL Architects created the five-bedroom house for a 50-something couple, who built out space for their mother, daughter and her husband, and her husband’s parents.

White house with wheelchair path Yao Li
Living room with neutral colored furniture Yao Li

The house is split into various living quarters to give each person or couple a sense of privacy. “The bedrooms form an interconnection of independence, privacy, and publicity, as well as a sense of ritual and a sense of belonging,” AZL founder, Zhang Lei, told Dezeen.

Living room with gray interior Yao Li

The architects wrapped an angular wheelchair ramp around the outside of the modern, white house, effectively turning it into a design feature. From a distance, the white pathway looks Guggenheim-esque as it snakes around the north side of the house, leading from the ground floor to the bedroom of the in-laws, who occasionally use wheelchairs.

The architects put a bedroom for the owner’s own mother right on the ground floor, so she can easily access the main living area, central courtyard, and rear outdoor garden and kitchen.

Yao Li