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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
Architects have an important role in designing and creating buildings and outdoor environments for inclusion. Previously, the knowledge on accessibility in the architectural education has been focusing on the legislation regarding accessibility of public buildings and apartments buildings for special groups of people. The aspect of the user and the Universal Design thinking have been lacking in the education. Since 2015, in the Department of Architecture, Aalto University, Finland, a course on User Driven Space Design has been introduced. Each year approximately 15 master level students have been participating in the course. The course introduces knowledge on user-oriented space design through collaborative pedagogical methods and lectures. The assignment has been consisted of analyses of existing buildings, observation on site and identification of user groups of a specific building. Moreover, the task has been to evaluate how well the building design does enhances equal use of the premises. The students have been working in small multidisciplinary teams. As result, students participating in the course have become more sensitive about Universal Design, accessibility and user experience. They have learned by analysing, observing and experimenting themselves. The work in a small group challenges students to be more sensitive of the other person. The feedback of student has been very positive. Furthermore, they have self-reported the knowledge on Universal Design very useful in the architectural practice and expressed a need to get more education on the topic.
Verma, I. (2018) Introducing Universal Design in Architectural Education, Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress, 30th October -2nd November 2018, Dublin Castle