Beyond – Caravan Concept
University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Design, Darmstadt, Germany
Beyond – Caravan Concept
The Beyond Caravan Concept was a well presented entry with very nice design detailing.
This student showed good forward thinking skills by looking at ageing demographics. Most of us will be in wheelchairs at some point in our lives, and this student should be highly commended for designing an accessible mobile holiday home.
Overall, this is a wonderful piece of design that we felt represented what design should be: making things better for all.
Beyond – Caravan Concept
Beyond is a concept to make travelling with a caravan possible for people of all ages with and without impaired abilities. Freedom from barriers is an important and contemporary issue. The Increasing percentage of aged human beings in worldwide societies as well as additional physiological and psychological diseases require a change of thinking within our community. Therefore this universally designed caravan is supposed to remove special status. Universally designed interiors and functions of this caravan are less expensive than custom-built caravans. It is possible to access and exit the caravan barrier-free and spontaneously.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
My diploma thesis was free to choose and I decided myself to deal with the topic ''independence'' therefore my focus was on finding a solution how people (e.g. families) with and without physiological and/or psychological problems can enjoy vacation together and not to be reminded of their problems by obvious and separating design decisions.
It was very challenging to regard the state of affairs concerning caravan developments. The way to integrate impaired people into our society partially lacks of sensitivity, tolerance and knowledge. Yet, it is not possible for people depending on a wheelchair to access a caravan barrier-free nor to use the space of the interior appropriately.
In order to achieve my goal I focused on different criteria:
• acquiring enough moving space
• the bathroom has to be spacious and must offer possibilities to sit and to support oneself on grips
• wheelchair accessible furnishing
• ergonomic and adaptable functions of working spaces
• reachability of storage space and sliding doors
• possibilities to turn around
During the design process I was facing various questions, e.g. what is the most comfortable possibility to access and exit a caravan or how many space can be made available within a small layout?
My biggest motivation was to proof the opposite of current developments within the caravan industry and general ways of thinking towards a contemporary problem: our aging society. Achievements in architecture regarding inclusive design inspired me to transfer ideas for my project. Universal Design has been the perfect choice to create a new kind of caravan design which distinguishes itself from known caravan classes. The positive side effect was that the overall design of the exterior and interior appears as modern, flexible and user-friendly.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The project is based on research about actual caravan types (European standard), human basic needs, disease patterns, and anthropometric basics to be aware of the challenges for the designing process and to choose the right measurements for an applicable design. I was able to perform a field research and to reveal the weaknesses of caravans especially regarding moving space, accessibility and aesthetics. The essence of my research is that recent types of caravans which are made for handicapped people are only custom-built ones and that no one else is tempted to buy it. The consequence is that these measurements are functionally, aesthetically and economically questionable. The variety of disease patterns has at least one requirement in common: to enable preventive and individual adjustments, for example the usability of the kitchen while sitting and standing.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Our society inclines to abandon our basic social needs. It is one of our most important goal to have work. But it also is important to pursuit balance in our life. Family and recreation motivates us to stay productive and creative. People with handicaps are endangered to become excluded from our society even they are capable of working efficient, not only for their health but to be a reliable factor for others. In order to change the way of thinking my project may help to raise tolerance for the fact, that nobody is perfect and nobody can guarantee to stay healthy. Additionally my project may fascinate new and old customers to rent or invest in a universally designed caravan to own a valuable possibility to refresh from everyday life. This project takes responsibility because it deals with future problems without dramatizing their effort.