The virus isn’t simply a health crisis; it is also a design problem.
The Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL ran an architecture and design workshop for people with visual impairments this summer.
Universal accessibility in architecture refers to the capacity that all people have to access and inhabit a space regardless of their cognitive and physical capacities, and it is a subject that cannot be dismissed.
The CATEA at Georgia Institute of Technology is a multidisciplinary engineering and design research center dedicated to enhancing the health, activity and participation of people with functional limitations through the application of assistive and universally designed technologies in real world environments, products and devices.
Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the nation’s leading institution for the deaf and hard of hearing, has published a report outlining what they call DeafSpace Guidelines that help design practitioners understand what to consider when designing spaces to be friendly to people with hearing impairments. Hansel Bauman, director of campus design and planning at Gallaudet, led the effort to create the guidelines. The resulting report describes five factors that impact the way in which people with hearing impairments interact with the built environment; space and proxemics, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and acoustics.
At a forum last week at the Center for Architecture, three architects presented stunning designs with this problem in mind and educators from the field and the Department of Education responded with their own ideas. The evening’s event, which I moderated, was part of the Center’s exhibition on The Edgeless School: Design for Learning.