School of Architecture Sponsors Second-Annual Accessibility Awareness Day

Author: School of Architecture

The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, with the support of the Office of the University Architect, Disability Services and LCM Architects will host a day-long program on Wednesday, September 2 to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with physical disabilities.

The program is designed to increase architecture students’ awareness of the many facets of accessible design in the context of daily student life on the Notre Dame campus. Senior architecture students will be divided into three groups: one with crutches, one with wheelchairs and one with blindfolds and canes. They will navigate the campus and participate in various day-to-day activities such as riding the shuttle, attending class and using public restrooms. Students will follow their regular schedules in the morning, navigate Notre Dame Stadium in the afternoon and conclude the day with a lecture on designing for compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The lecture given by Jack Catlin and Gigi McCabe-Miele of LCM Architects, a Chicago-based firm that consults nationally on ADA compliance, begins at 3:30 p.m. in Room 104 Bond Hall. It is open to the public.

The intention of the program, said Doug Marsh, associate vice president and university architect, is to make architecture students aware of the barriers that people with disabilities can face while distinguishing between Universal Accessible Design and minimum building and accessibility code requirements. Marsh said that this effort is a component of the university’s commitment to accessibility.

Scott Howland, coordinator of Disability Services at Notre Dame’s Sara Bea Learning Center for Students with Disabilities, said the best way to provide an environment that is accessible to all is at the design stage. Howland said it is a good way to make architecture students more aware of the things they can do to incorporate universal design.