The missing link in implementation of Universal Design: the barrier between legislative framework and architectural practice


Camilla Ryhl


D3. Legislation, user involvement and an inclusive society

Date and Time

2014-06-17, 13:45 - 14:25


MA 1
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The research project ’Universal Design in Architecture: a new strategy for implementation’ investigates the understanding of UD as a legislative and architectural concept as perceived from the point of view of the practicing architect. The project is based on theoretical studies of multisensory architecture and on qualitative interviews with 7 practicing architects from Norway and Denmark and case studies of their work.
The project shows that practicing architects have broad experience of working with Universal Design and that sensory and social aspects of UD have particular presence in all of their work. But also that the legislative interpretation of UD takes precedence over the architectural interpretation and that it is perceived as limiting to their creativity and the quality of their work. Furthermore the projects documents how the architects consistently work with sensory, social and cognitive aspects of architectural quality, but only perceive physical accessibility as UD in the legislative sense. Their methods, values and architectural thinking is built on a foundation of multisensory inclusion and quality, only they do not perceive this understanding as being UD in the general and legislative manner. Hence they point to the need of a new strategy for discussing and developing UD as an inclusive architectural means of quality within the architectural profession.
The project is financed by the Norwegian State Housing Bank.