ROW DTLA is a new district in Downtown Los Angeles that is full of stores, restaurants, and offices that are spread out over six buildings in 32 acres. One of the six buildings is Alameda Square Building 3, which we were contracted to do ADA signage for. ADA signs are signs that are required in public buildings per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Not only are wayfinding and identification signs helpful to those using the building, but they are also required for a new public building or an existing public building that is being renovated.
The first sign you imagine when you think of ADA signs is most likely restroom signs. But there are so many more required signs that a new building needs to pass inspection. Just a few of the required signs include room ID signs, evacuation maps, stair ID signs and elevator signs. As you can see from the close-up photos, all of these signs require Braille and raised text for those who are visually impaired. The placement of these signs is very specific as there is a standard to make sure that those who need to feel the lettering or Braille are able to locate the sign easily. The reason that the restroom door sign doesn’t have any icon, letters, or Braille is because the restroom door sign doesn’t require any of these features. The important restroom sign is the one next to the wall. If the sign on the door had tactile lettering or Braille and someone with vision impairment was trying to read it, it would be a hazard because the door can move. This is why restroom signs are installed on the wall next to the door, on the side that the door handle is on.
Room identifications are crucial for large buildings to help everyone navigate properly. Without any sort of sign, it would be impossible to find the room you’re looking for without having to open every door. Signs like evacuation maps and stair signs are necessary in case of emergencies and all of these ADA signs are reviewed by a fire inspector before the building is allowed to open to the public.