Awesome Flexible Design Strategies and the Future of Inclusive Accessibility
Tomorrow kicks off the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017—and I’m honored to be among the presenters chosen to speak.
As a sustainability expert, I don’t always get to talk about accessibility. But, in my work over the past several years, I’ve seen these two – sustainability and accessibility – cross paths in some unlikely scenarios. At the A'17 Conference, I’m teaming up with Heidi Johnson-Wright, the ADA Coordinator for Miami-Dade County in Florida, and together we’re exploring the complex, sometimes paradoxical relationship between sustainability and accessibility.
Sustainable architecture in the 21st century has followed (at least) two contradictory paths. One path foregrounds so-called sustainable approaches which are blatantly ableist. An example is the “irresistible stairway,” meant to replace elevators, created in the name of energy conservation and physical health.
Another path, however, promotes healthy spaces in ways that go beyond conventional access measures, operating in a mode I call the “unintentionally awesome.” An example of this latter path is an increased emphasis on mental/emotional comfort in built spaces. In both cases, however, sustainable architecture tends to work without explicit attention to disability. I suggest that sustainable architecture can follow the lead of organizations such as Delos and the International WELL Building Institute, which promote the design of flexible interior spaces to meet the needs of individual users—in other words, which consciously consider both sustainability and accessibility as creative design challenges.
In the profession of architecture, sustainability and accessibility are generally treated as separate entities. However, if we look at specific design strategies, sustainability and accessibility actually overlap in interesting ways, which we can build on to create even better sustainable/accessible spaces. If you’re headed to A’17 and are also passionate about these topics, please join the conversation:
Awesome Flexible Design Strategies and the Future of Inclusive Accessibility (FR215)
Friday, April 28 | 2:00-3:00 PM
Orange County Convention Center, Room W311B
Director - Sustainability
Johnna (ze/hir) is a passionate and energetic project manager. Being a LEED AP, WELL AP, LFA and a registered architect, Johnna is the go-to person at M+A for sustainability insight. Ze's full of creativity and passion, but not only for sustainability, in hir free time Johnna likes to test the limits through endurance multi-sports.