Words etched in braille onto a railing. The idea is simple, yet it's my second time writing about it and it's not just me. It was this railing's claim to social media fame. It's a seemingly minor change, yet for a person who is blind visiting the site, it means being able to share in the experience - on their own.
It's the small things. In this case, the words of Italian author Giuseppe de Lorenzo etched in braille make experiencing the view - independently - possible.To me, sharing in an experience is what universal design makes possible.It goes beyond removing architectural barriers to account for varying degrees of physical, social, and cognitive abilities. It's a sobering reminder of the power of design, in this case, to elevate rather than diminish someone's sense of independence.
Ask Barcelona-based Architect Enrique Rovira-Beleta, one of the architects in charge of accessibility for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and one of the presenters in ourChange by Design series, and he will tell you it goes a long way. Himself a person who uses a wheelchair,Mr. Rovira has made the elimination of architectural and communication barriers his life's work, which he considers "not only a necessity for people with disabilities but also an advantage for all."
not only a necessity for people with disabilities but also an advantage for all.