Universal design in architectural education – community liaison on ‘Live Projects’

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Busby, Kevin
Harrison, Jim
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IOS Press
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The infusion of Universal Design principles into existing courses in architecture should become evident in any project work undertaken. ‘Live project’ is a term used to describe projects that engage the academic world with real-world groups/organizations. CCAE sees such projects as valuable exercises in a student's education, particularly, the practical experience of interaction with ‘user-experts.’ In 2016 Cork County Council approached CCAE with a proposal to promote age-friendly housing as part of their age-friendly initiative. CCAE developed this into a ‘live project’ for Year 2 architecture students, continuing the integration of UD into the curriculum. This helps students to identify the negative disabling aspects of ageing and show UD principles can be seen as commonplace. For their part, the County Council were able to expand their own thinking, availing of the less constrained ideas that students brought to their schemes. An approach to achieving the adoption of UD is to consider the Vitruvian definition of architecture as having ‘commodity, firmness and delight’. From this, the aesthetic integration of features to benefit users of limited ability can be achieved without stigmatising anyone as being old or disabled. Now in its second year the project is being run in West Cork. The chosen site in Bantry town centre, has interesting challenges for the students to incorporate UD principles. This paper will present imaginative but viable projects as examples of student' responses to the challenges of designing housing solutions and will report on their ability to integrate age-friendly features at different scales.
Universal design , Elderly , Architecture , Education
Busby, K. and Harrison, J. (2018) 'Universal Design in Architectural Education-Community Liaison on 'Live Projects'', Craddock, G., Doran, C., McNutt, L. and Rice, D. (eds.) Transforming our World Through Design, Diversity and Education: Proceedings of Universal Design and Higher Education in Transformation Congress 2018. Amsterdam: IOS Press, pp. 205-213. DOI:10.3233/978-1-61499-923-2-205