Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Integrated Practice in Architecture January 29, 2009

Filed under: Philosophical — ia2studio @ 4:52 am
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George Elvin explains in his book, Integrated practice in Architecture, the importance of integrated practice.  He provides strategies and methods of integrated practice. The steps to the integrated design process are:

1. Building the integrated project team

2. Planning the integrated project

3. Communication and building information modeling

4. Managing risk, uncertainty, and change

5. Putting ideas to work

6. Adopting integrated practice


Elvin , George. Integrated practice in architecture: mastering design-built, fast-track, and building information modeling. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Rana Salah


What is Integrated Design?

Filed under: Philosophical — ia2studio @ 4:29 am
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Integrated design is a process that involves interactions with professional groups or individuals in different but specific areas of expertise to produce a better and a more successful design.  Although the traditional design process holds the same principles as integrated design, there is a massive difference when it comes to integrating information from different individuals and fields of study. The traditional design process  gathers information separately by each individual rather than creating a group/team that involves all the individuals throughout the whole design process to create a complete and unified design.


Bonda, Penny, and  Sonsowchik,Katie, and Reed, Bill. Sustainable Commercial Interiors New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Rana Salah


Defining Disability January 22, 2009

Filed under: Philosophical — ia2studio @ 6:15 am

“ADA defines disability in three factors: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual.” The definition of disability has been easily misused because of the word “impairment” is such a broad term. Disability is the best word to describe the condition of the user in the design because a person with a disability has limitation that need to be accommodating. The designer should be aware of the accommodation to produce a good design for everyone to use.

By: Katie Huddleston

Page: 139

Source: Switzer, Jacqueline, and Jacqueline Vaughn. Disabled Rights. Georgetown University Press, 2003.


Universal Design in the Workplace: Common Design Flaws

Filed under: Philosophical,Workplace Design — ia2studio @ 6:06 am
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When universal design is a top priority of your client it is imperative to gain an extensive knowledge of what constitutes a compliant workplace.  Standard accessibility dimensions can easily be retrieved from a book but there are some common designs flaws that even the skilled designer can overlook.

1.        It is typical for facility managers to standardize components to save money.  This means that many worksurfaces are actually mounted to the tops of file pedestals.  This cost-   saving solution can accommodate most workers but will cause accessibility compliance issues (Whitson).


2.        Access control systems device heights are commonly mounted too high to be universally accessible (McPherson).


3.       Accessible parking spaces often do not have access aisles (Wilson).



McPherson, Ron. “ADA integration.” Buildings. 95.9 (September 2001): 26.

Whitson, Alan. “Feel the churn? Universal plan is one way to mitigate the cost of change.” Buildings. 91 (March 1997): 64

Wilson, Marianne. “ADA Myths Remain.” Chain Store Age. 82.1 (January 2006): 104.

Posted by Bret

Universal Design in the Workplace: Important Considerations January 21, 2009

Filed under: Philosophical — ia2studio @ 9:12 pm
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Of the many important considerations when implementing universal design into the workplace, the following considerations can add to the success of a design solution:

  • Eliminating client’s common perception that only individuals with disabilities can benefit from universal design.
  • Take special care to avoid lowering the feeling of independence or creating feelings of isolation in the individual requiring special accomodations as a result of their workstation location, appearance, etc.
  • Standards and regulations should not be considered sufficient in all cases. By learning about the abilities of the disabled individual and by considering standards as the minimum, the individual will be provided with a more accomodating environment.

Other useful references include:

Kelly II, Joseph Dennis. “Universal Design.” ICON 2004. 12-22. 21 Jan 2009 <;.

Posted by: Jenna Tharrett


Defining Disability: Definitions, value and identity.

Filed under: Philosophical,Uncategorized — ia2studio @ 8:10 pm

The word “disability” has many models of definition. There are medical, architectural, economical, and sociopolitical models of the word disability. From a sociopolitical standpoint, the definition of disability focuses on “the interactions between individuals and the environment,”(Marinelli, 6), and has thus created a minority-group model for discrimination. A way to segregate those placed below the “standard”, the sociopolitical definition of disability has been challenged by the ADA. More so now, than ever, the word disability has evolved into a word that describes a mental or physical characteristic but is not to be confused with an impairment. Out of respect and consideration, an individual with a disability should always be addressed by their name first and their disability following. This “people first” terminology was enacted by the American Psychological Association style guide so the impairment may be identified but is not modifying the person, (Wikipedia). When designing, I believe the word disability helps define tasks that may need extra consideration. Taking into account ADA regulations helps to bridge the gap between sociopolitical models of disability and architectural stability.

“Disability.” Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. July 2007. 21 Jan. 2009 <;.

Marinelli, Robert P., and Arthur E. Dell Orto, eds. The Psychological and Social Impact of Disability. Boston: Springer Company, Incorporated, 1999.
Shawn Calvin