At CCO Architects, we work purposefully with inclusion in architecture. We do this by systematically incorporating universal design and accessibility through all phases of our projects from the earliest sketches through to commissioning.
Our advice is based on a broad knowledge of the users’ needs and functional impairments, as well as our experience with user processes, project analysis, preparation of strategies and requirements specifications for universal design and accessibility. We work to identify “user types”, user needs based on image registration from users, walk-throughs, and interviews. Based on our analyzes and legislation, we revise drawing material and existing conditions.
Our method is based on seven architectural tools that are important for creating multi-sensory spaces. This means that we focus on creating spaces that can be understood and read with several senses at once. In this way, for example, you can orientate yourself with the help of both sounds, smells and tactile surfaces
Materiality: Tactile surfaces and use of materials’ inherent properties strengthen understanding of space. Choice of materials and transitions between materials for e.g., flooring and walls support wayfinding.
Scents: Represent activities and materials in a place. Scents can complement both vision and hearing to strengthen orientation. Scents strengthen human experiences.
Orientation: Wayfinding and way-showing in architecture includes clear and visible signage. Intuitive organization and programming. Minimal visual noise.
Light: Both daylight and artificial light – as wayfinding elements, light that supports activities, use of light and shade as well as color and contrasts.
Differentiation: Experience of space is connected to the human scale. Variation in interconnected spaces strengthens a sense of wayfinding. Differentiated toilet facilities, variations in options in e.g., office spaces and variated furniture supports different user needs.
Sound: Sounds are important for orientation and how a space is perceived. Acoustic regulation and reduced noise from background activities supports understanding of space. Textiles contribute to this as well as a secluded, quiet area will strengthen inclusion.
Fresh air: Access to fresh air strengthens a healthy indoor environment and supports well-being. Access to fresh air from an open window or a door can also help regulate temperature.
We work with universal design to create the right conditions for all citizens to participate and contribute to society’s development. We anchor universal design in our sustainability strategies and plans because we know that it is not a quick fix or an add-on solution that you fix at the last minute. We work systematically from the early stages of the projects to final design delivery. This ensures that we create equal solutions where people’s differences are incorporated into the design.
Presentations and workshops: We are happy to give presentations on universal design and inclusion in the physical framework. We are also happy to run workshops and longer training courses that support your work in carrying out universal design and accessibility in construction and/or landscape.
Strategy and implementation: Based on initial dialogue and visits, we prepare strategies for the implementation of universal design. Such strategies identify both ambassadors at workplaces and prescribe concrete adjustments to the physical framework so that they function equally. In larger buildings we prepare wayfinding and -showing strategies, which, depending on the scope of the task, may include product development, recommendations and design of furnishings, signage and communication.
Auditing and certification: Our accessibility auditor can, either in connection with projects or as a separate service, certify your workplace. In connection with construction projects, we offer audits for accessibility and universal design. We assess solutions and quality in relation to the needs of both the client and the users as well as in relation to applicable legislation.
Design and planning: We develop solutions and designs with a particular focus on being able to handle differentiated user needs. Our solutions consider both cognitive and physical impairment.
Everyone has needs in connection with the physical environment and these needs vary over time. Factors such as age, size, physical ability, and culture influence these needs. Needs can be permanent, temporary, or fleeting. By working with differentiated solutions, our design becomes user-friendly even if the user group and the individual user’s needs change over time.
The concept of Universal Design
Universal design was introduced as a concept by the American architect Ronald Mace in the 1980s. In 1985, Mace founded the Center for Universal Design. Since then, the concept has developed and today we often see that the concept is mentioned as part of social sustainability.
Our in-house specialist has a master’s degree in Inclusive Architecture and is a Certified Accessibility Auditor from BUILD.