One of our central tenets of ‘Great Green Design’ is that our buildings and spaces should be welcoming for everyone. Accessible or ‘universal’ design captures the idea that as Designers, we need to be aware of how people with differing perspectives and abilities will perceive and interact with the spaces and places we create.
Do we design for you or design with you?
Ideally, we design with, instead of designing for our Clients and the end users of all of our projects, not just those that clearly are intended for use by people with differing abilities. Our most valuable skill as Designers is to listen to our Clients.
Often, the big issue when we speak of accessibility is how to ensure that everyone can equally access and enjoy everything that our buildings have to offer – be that an easy way to navigate the 4’ change from street to main floor with a walker or stroller, a set of stairs that is safe and comfortable for someone with visual impairment, the entrance to an emergency family shelter that welcomes young and old alike, or a walkway to a store that remain free of icy patches
Accessible workplaces & the AODA
Over the years, The Architect Builders Collaborative have been asked by several of our non-profit and institutional clients to help them make their workplaces and public spaces compliant with the AODA – the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
We typically focus on 3 key sections of the AODA:
- Customer Service – with things such as fully accessible reception desks and lobbies that make everyone feel welcome
- Removing Barriers to Employment – making a workplace suitable for use by an employee with a disability
- Design of Public Spaces [DOPS] – which relates to the outside area around your building and looks at things such as ramps, clear markings, width of walkways, etc.
For more information on AODA Compliance including your obligations as an employer, visit: