Obstacle-free Architecture

All places are already occupied!

To design the built environment open to all is a fundamental attitude in architecture. Diversity is a high social good. Yet physical, mental and intellectual disability is still understood as a deficiency. The Swiss Specialist Center for Obstacle-Free Architecture counters this by raising awareness of the diversity of normality and promoting holistic approaches to the high-quality design architecture without barriers. Obstacle-free architecture means access for all and goes further than the topics of “accessibility” and “mobility”. The intersection with historic preservation stems from building in the existing fabric as well as the demand for a heritage that reflects the diversity of society.

The focus work is dedicated to researching how existing buildings and monuments are converted for people with disabilities and which models already exist. What preliminary work is necessary and what are the design attitudes? How are examples of obstacle-free architecture evaluated by the users? How can high-quality conversions be made possible in exchange with the users? Which objects have exemplary character and should be protected?

The Swiss Specialist Center for Obstacle-Free Architecture publishes guidelines, competition results and basic research on obstacle-free architecture on an ongoing basis. Its staff is available for questions and discussions. The topic of the advanced thesis is research of obstacle-free architecture under a question to be discussed at the professorship.

Link to Bulletin Specialist Center (in German and French)