I've been emailing a bunch with Aimi Hamraie, soon to finish her Ph.D. at Emory University. Aimi's researching universal design and disability politics in the built environment, among other things. We have a lot to talk about, and I'm hoping to post a long exchange between us here. It was Aimi's research that pointed me to one particularly striking example of new construction with elegant, considered, universal design: The Blusson Spinal Cord Centre in Vancouver, home to a large interdisciplinary research group called the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD).
The building houses a continuous 200 meter ramp with a 5% incline. Every 5 meters is a level "landing" built in. You can see how dynamically this structure was achieved; the architects wanted to obviate the need for the International Symbol of Access. (You all know how I feel about that particular icon...)
I'm thinking about ramps quite a lot these days, especially since writing about the subtleties of transportation access in Curitiba, Brazil. I'll be launching a big networked architecture project in the coming weeks. I'll want your feedback. More to come (here and elsewhere).