Accessible design: A home for a young family

Architects Rachel Coll and David Tigg designed a beautiful home to meet the accessibility needs of two young boys.

By Hugh Metcalf | 4 January 2021

Nick and Klara Taussig ran an architecture competition in 2016. The couple’s aim was to find an architectural practice to create an accessible design for their young sons Theo and Oskar. The boys have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that involves progressive muscle weakness and affects mobility. The resulting project would lead to a light, spacious and barrier-free home to help with Theo and Oskar’s needs. Rachel Coll and David Tigg of Tigg + Coll Architects entered their ideas for layout and structural changes. They won the competition and the work.

An extension with accessible design ideas such as wide doorways

The timber roof acts as a continuous canopy along the extension. Photo: Andy Matthews

Why was this project so important?

What made this an endeavour of such importance is that Theo and Oskar have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. As they grow their needs will change and we had to design a house that will adapt to those changes. But without knowing how this may manifest in future.

The accessible design includes a generous roof overhang on the extension - grand designs

The roof overhang is angled to let in light and the views across the garden. Photo: Andy Matthews

Describe the main challenges

We had to figure out how to adapt a period cottage to provide level access on the ground floor for wheelchairs. It also had to be an accessible design for the whole family to enjoy. The new wraparound extension includes three ground-floor bedrooms, one each for Theo, Oskar and their younger brother, Luca. Nick and Klara’s bedroom is on the same floor in the original house with a guest bedroom upstairs. Another important part of the brief was to integrate the front and back gardens with the interior. We gave careful consideration to levelling out the plot. The front driveway was re-landscaped and Oskar and Theo’s rooms have glazed sliding doors that glide into the walls for an open connection with the rear garden.