Unlike the past, we are slowly trying to develop buildings and architecture with a more universal touch – that is, making them more disabled friendly. It doesn’t really harm the aesthetic quality of the place as such, nor does it impede the movement of abled-people. So, what’s the harm?
Well, the harm might be ‘change’. People are so resistant to change that they would not want to change certain structures or plans, even though they know that those structures are disable-friendly. Case in point: Malaysia. Azari Mat Yasir has been a teacher of architecture at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for about 18 years. He observed that property builders often cut corners and do not build structures which are friendly to people with special needs. Even the government turns a blind eye towards this cause. Azari mentions that life expectancy was short for Malaysians a few decades back and so, people did not concern themselves with architecture for people with special needs. But now that life expectancy has improved, it is time to look into this sector as well.
So, Azari found a way out. He made some sketches that show the plight of the people with special needs. They are sarcastic but they hit the right nerve. He spread it all over the internet and now, people are making it viral. People with special needs can relate to them in so many ways. Young architects are also getting encouraged by this. And Azari is hoping to start a course on it as well in his University.
Here are some of Azari’s masterpieces:
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Let’s hope Malaysia can do something about this – and fast!