Universal Design and Cultural Heritage

architectural plansDo architects design first and worry about legislation later or is it the reverse? Danish researcher Camilla Rhyl from Aalborg University decided to find out in the context of increasing universal design in the built environment. She found that the legislative interpretation takes precedence over architectural interpretation and is perceived as limiting creativity and architectural quality. Architects regularly work with sensory, social and cognitive aspects of design, but there is no legislative reference to this part of their work. The following is from the second half of Camilla Rhyl’s abstract from a book chapter, So much more than building regulations: Universal design and the case of practice.

“The article shows how 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. There seems to be an apparent gap between their values, methods and architectural thinking and the legislative framework in which UD is presented and perceived currently in Norway and Denmark. Through an example of a cultural heritage (CH) project by the Danish architect Merete Lind Mikkelsen, the article demonstrates how it is possible to interpret UD in CH practice without compromising architectural quality or UD, but rather expand and develop the architectural understanding of the possibilities of UD.”

The full document may be access through the Aalborg University site, or the Danish National Research Database. If you subscribe to ResearchGate or Academia.edu you may be able to access this chapter without needing the whole book.

Published in: Accessibility As a Key Enabling Knowledge for Enhancement of Cultural Heritage, 2016, p. 115-130. 

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