Many older people, either by choice or by limitations of their physical conditions, are largely confined to their dwelling units, and access to a private outdoor space over which they hove control is very desirable. It offers a welcome change of atmosphere, a chance to grow flowers, cook out, and enjoy the sun. In the event of fire, a balcony con provide refuge and access to fresh air. Provision for private outdoor activities may take the form of balconies or patios. Requirements for patios are discussed in the Townhouse Development Process*
Accessibility The private outdoor space should be directly accessible to the main general living area of the dwelling unit, if possible this area should also be directly accessible to the food preparation area,- however, if this is not possible, the indirect accessibility between the outdoor space and the food preparation area should be via a non-circuitous circulation path. Accessibility to all other areas should be indirect and placed as dictated by the functional organization of the dwelling unit, except that there may also be direct accessibility to the sleeping/dressing area.
To protect the privacy of each private outdoor orea on the ground floor, direct access from it to the public outdoor area should be avoided by creating an identity for the outdoor private areas. There should be no direct accessibility between the private outdoor areas of separate dwelling units. (See Fig. 23.}
* Michigan Stote Housing Development Authority, Townhouse Development Process, 1970.
Fig. 10 Act«nihility of boltiioom.
Fig. 23 Prlvoty at ground level.
Visual accessibility between the private outdoor area and interesting views on and off the site should be maximized, while al the same time loss of privacy from views outside the outdoor area should be minimized. The visual accessibility between the general living area of the unit and the general outdoor area should not be impaired by the design of the private outdoor area.
Orientation The configuration and orientation of the outdoor space should be such that sun falls on the space for at least 30 percent of each day during the prime spring, summer, and foil months.
Fumistiability and Spatial Characteristic» On grade patios and/or private areas shad be well defined. Location and design shall provide spatial privacy from other living units and from adjacent walks or drives in public space.
Overhead protection of balconies is very desirable but not required. A shelf for plant pots should be included for all balconies at o height of 24 to 30 inches above the floor.
Access doors to balconies should be fully draft-proof and should not be the only source of natural ventilation to the room. The door sill should be kept as low as possible. Passage doors of the swing type are preferable to sliding glass doors and shall be required when economically feasible to eliminate lorge sills.
Balconies or terraces above the twelfth floor are generally undesirable and should not be provided except in special or unique circumstances.
Where private balconies are not provided for all the dwelling units on a floor, a common balcony shall be provided at a central location.
All balconies, terraces, and patios shall be provided with artificial lighting which is switched on within the dwelling unit. At least one duplex electric receptacle which is weatherproof shall be provided in each private outdoor space.
The criteria for minimum privacy require that screening walls at the sides of outdoor spaces be provided to protect the space from being overlooked by adjoining dwelling units and their private outdoor spaces. The side of the space opposite the building wall may be partially closed and/ or defined by planting.
On-grade private space shall have a least dimension of 12 feet and include a paved patio of at least 100 square feet. The remaining area shall be lawn or planting beds.
Private on-grade outdoor spaces may become o security problem if their design provides the potential intruder with o space completely free from observance and control. Therefore, completely enclosed patios shall themselves be secure. Partially enclosed patios shall be designed so that they can be controlled visually from public areas.
The paved surface in outdoor spaces shall be smooth and free from unexpected changes in level. All steps required to provide a transition from unit floor level to ground level shall have handrails.
Private outdoor spaces above grade (raised terraces and balconies) should be included in the integral design at Ihe beginning of the design process and not added later as an afterthought. Only in this way can the problems traditionally associated with balconies be overcome. Balconies shall have a least clear dimension of no less than 5 feet and a total cleor area of no less than 50 square feet for one-bedroom units and 60 square feet for two-bedroom units. Because the elderly are particularly concerned about security and heights, balconies must not only be safe, but they must also feel safe. The use of solid balustrades is desirable. Where this is not possible, a sturdy railing with a large solid top rail p/t QTxJtlOft
Fig. 24 Example of balcony.
should be used. In either case core should be taken to avoid obscuring views out from the interior of the dwelling unit. For this purpose a solid balustrade to a height of 24 inches with an open handrail above is a good solution. Railings or balustrades shall have a minimum height above the balcony surface of 36 inches and shall extend completely along all open sides of the balcony, (See Fig, 24.}
Whenever possible balconies should be recessed behind the main face of the building be cause this technique provides a strong sense of enclosure, privacy, and security. Where this is not possible, and where there are adjoining balconies or the balcony is exposed to broad public view, balconies should be provided with screening walls or devices at their sides which achieve privacy and security.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.