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Adult Day

Adult Day

The handrail weaves its way through the facility, transforming as it responds to different spaces and events as a way to support more than just physical balance.

Des Plaines, IL
1990-92

The symbol of the handrail was chosen as the main armature around which to construct the project. The handrail is already a symbol of gerontological and handicapped design, but it is a negative symbol, a symbol of defeat — a place you go to when you have to, when you have no choice. The task of this project has been to transform the handrail into a place of engaged interest and stimulation. The new handrail weaves its way through the facility, transforming as it responds to different spaces and events (as coatroom rail, as lounge bench, as photographic display) acting as a way to support more than just physical balance. As you enter the facility the new handrail supports photographs (past and present) of the clients and the staff as well as fragments from the institution's documents and from the recorded interviews. At other places in the facility the handrail was designed to act as an architectural organism adapting and responding as it encounters various habitats in its environment to turn into a bench, a physical therapy device, a photographic recorder, an archive, an audio system, a calendar, and a camera mount for a wheelchair-bound client.

For an extended discussion of the project see “Transformational Constructions (For example: Adult Day),” Assemblage 19 : 6-31.

Design: LeClair Lucas