The principles and goals of universal design have no criteria for aesthetics. It’s focus is on functional requirements rather than sensory experiences. It doesn’t help when architects and planners continue to associate universal design with regulations and standards and leave aesthetics out. But the key to designing environments for everyone is to draw together architecture, aesthetics and universal design.
Carolyn Ahmer’s paper discusses universal design in the context of renowned architects. She explains how their designs include inclusive elements together with aesthetics. For example, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work which includes the famous Guggenheim Museum. The article covers visual and non-visual information and movement through space.
The aim of the paper is to highlight the qualities of design essential to creating buildings that stimulate our senses. One source of inspiration is in our architectural history.
She concludes that inclusive architecture should be based on qualitative and quantitative measures. Quantitative assessments are based on controllable data and standardised specifications. Qualitative assessments focus on sensory experiences of an architectural project. These are features that cannot be measured but should not be discounted.
The title of the article is, The Qualities of Architecture in Relation to Universal Design. The paper was presented at the UD2021 conference in Finland. It’s published in Universal Design 2021: From Special to Mainstream Solutions.