Innovative Practice 2019 on Independent Living and Political Participation

Incorporating Universal Design into Home Building

Fundación ONCE, a leading Spanish foundation with a focus on disabilities, has created a smart, accessible, and sustainable house-prototype to demonstrate the possibilities of constructing and equipping a home that meets a variety of disability needs. The house, which can be towed by a lorry, was designed to address issues of accessibility, security, energy, and communications. In 2016–2017 the house, along with a team of demonstrators, travelled some 20,000 kilometres throughout Spain to show the public, building professionals, and public officials the various ways that they can incorporate Universal Design into their work. More than 70,000 people visited the house on its national journey.

“People with disabilities want to experience the same things as all people, but they don’t want products designed specifically for them. It’s important to advance the concept of design4all.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:The Smart, Accessible, and Sustainable House
Organisation:Fundación ONCE
of Implementation


  • The 140m² home includes a kitchen, bedroom, living room, and bathroom, and incorporates a range of intelligent devices and technologies that solve accessibility problems throughout.
  • During its 2016–2017 tour, the home travelled to 36 cities and towns throughout Spain.


Architecture and design professionals often do not take account of Universal Design when creating homes because this is not normally incorporated into standard training.


La Casa Accesible Bathroom

The project consists of a specially-designed extendable trailer that mimics a family home, with an internal area of 140m² that is accessible for people with a variety of disabilities or reduced mobility. The home, which includes a kitchen, bedroom, living room, and bathroom, incorporates a range of intelligent devices and technologies that solve accessibility problems throughout. Features include touch lamps, fall detectors, adjustable-height wash basins, and automated blinds.

A team of demonstrators provide guided tours and answer questions, and additional solutions are displayed via screens. The home targets professionals in the public and administration sector and those responsible for developing policies on accessibility, security, and sustainability. More than 70,000 people have visited the facility, and devices associated with the house were presented at a workshop on accessibility products and services at the European Commission in February 2017.


Funding was provided by Real Patronato de la Discapacidad (the Royal Board on Disability), with the project costing €550,000 over two years, including build and touring costs.

The accessible home is no longer touring, but variations of the technology and model continue to be exhibited as example rooms at fairs in Spain, such as the Salón Inmobiliario Internacional de Madrid (Spanish Real Estate Exhibition) and the Barcelona Building Construmat.

The model has proven to be influential across Spain and therefore has strong potential for replication in other European cities and towns. Notably, during the initial tour several cities requested the home to be brought to their locations.

La Casa Accesible Living Room


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