Karen Braitmayer


Owner, Karen Braitmayer, FAIA
Appointee, U.S. Access Board

Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, offers the unusual combination of personal experience as a lifelong wheelchair user with her professional expertise as a registered Architect. She has made accessibility consulting and design services her focus since 1990 and co-founded Studio Pacifica, Ltd. in 1993. In 2012, Studio Pacifica became Karen Braitmayer, FAIA.

Ms. Braitmayer has worked with civic and private organizations committed to complying with federal laws and state codes while creating spaces that work optimally for the widest variation of individual users. She has served on numerous boards and committees, supporting inclusion or representing people with disabilities and has won awards for her contributions.

Ms. Braitmayer continues to be a resource for federal, state and local government officials, architects and disability rights advocates in her region and across the country. Since 1989 she has participated in the development of codes and standards to ensure that the State Accessibility Code reflects the needs of the citizens of Washington. She was an appointed member of the Washington State Building Code Council, representing persons with disabilities, from 1994 through 2001.

In September of 2010, President Obama appointed Ms. Braitmayer to the U. S. Access Board, an independent Federal agency that provides leadership in accessible design under the ADA and other laws.

She has provided consulting on numerous community development projects, including community stadiums, museums, library, light rail development plans and improvement to our local airport. She has also been retained as an expert witness in cases involving compliance with federal regulations. She is a frequent and enthusiastic speaker to other professionals and the general public on the topics of accessibility, universal design and the art of turning your differences into your strengths.

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Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.