See me, feel me. Doing disability differently


I was lucky enough to attend a talk by Jos Boys on building better universities (29 May 2015, actually). I bought a copy of her book on the day – for obvious reasons – and by chance, I discovered another title that chimed with some work I was doing to assist the University Digital Accessibility Plan (DAP). The book is difficult to read and absorb (for me) but the gist of it is that building with dis/ability ‘front of mind’ can re-frame the design process so the built environment (or online space) can be better for everyone.

My (pretty second rate) take-outs from the chapter on Strategies and tactics:

  • Seek ambition AND subtlety
  • Aim for clarity (echoes of why, how, what)
  • Look for choices (e.g. seats, close to doors; walls as seats)
  • Look at the space holistically, and use design thinking in specific contexts
  • Think how children, artists, film makers, sculptors might think about the space
  • Access is always possible and it can be beautiful, theatrical and dignified
  • Act naturally, get away from learned behaviour
  • Aim for circular and open forms (maluma) rather than rectilinear and closed (takete)
  • Maluma and takete might be concepts to explore another day

This think-piece in the Architectural Review is quite a lot more accessible than my own comprehension and it also raised another couple of (new to me) fascinating ideas: Koolhaas Houselife and Le Corbusier’s Modulor Man.