Whether you sit in a wheelchair permanently or as a means of learning about the experience firsthand or borrow a friend, colleague or relative to gain the experience, I recommend it as a design strategy for any architect considering accessible architecture. Shadow a person with a disability for a day, accessing different environments and this will provide much more than simply listening to a lecture about their disability. It will open your eyes and your sensibility to the possibilities. When I spent a day shadowing a friend with a visual disability, I learned a lot about the use of echolocation as a means whereby persons with visual impairments locate themselves in space. My design methodology is not about Function versus Aesthetics. It is about both. My design methodology is focused on how all people live and interact with the environment. Accessible Architecture needs to become normal.
RON WICKMAN ARCHITECT
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA