by David Buddendeck, IIDA, LEED AP
Senior Project Designer

A Brief History

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) officially became a law on July 26, 1990.  The law ensures equal access and opportunity for all people with disabilities in the United States.   On the first anniversary of the ADA’s enactment, the Access Board of the ADA issued the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for buildings and facilities and followed up with guidelines for transit vehicles, including buses, vans, and rail cars.   
 
On July 27th of this year, the White House announced that new regulations for ADA had been developed and new rules created by the Dept. of Justice were to go into effect. (http://www.access-board.gov/news/obama-ada.htm)  In addition the White House announced that in approximately 18 months from that date, "all new buildings must be constructed in a way that's compliant

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by Jeremy Roither
Senior Project Designer

Too often we find ourselves with our heads down at our desks, working feverishly on a massive deadline. In these situations, it is easy to shut out the outside world and just crank the work out. But, the best design is done collaboratively, not alone at our computers.

Dialogue is critical to the process – even the greatest designers bounce ideas off of other people and actively engage others in discussion. Encouraging this dialogue does not need to be difficult or time consuming. Here are some simple ways that you can encourage design dialogue in your work day:

  1. If you see a design you like, share it. Were you looking at a magazine and came across a space that just blew you away? Did you have dinner over the weekend at a fabulously designed restaurant? Tell your coworker about it. Likewise, did you see a space that was

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Have you ever thought about how similar your workplace is to any other ecosystem found in nature? An ecosystem is made up of a community of (living) organisms and their local (non-living) environment.  In other words… you and your coworkers in combination with the space in which you work. In order to understand the unique context of the workplace, and design it appropriately, we can study people and place separately. We also need to take into account the work that is being done, or the process.

The people in a workplace may be thought of as a community, and every community is comprised of different ‘populations’ functioning together as a single unit. In ecological terms, a population is made up of members of the same species, i.e. individuals who share identifiable characteristics. So if you think about your

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by Marie Moutsos
Senior Project Designer

Back when I was studying Architecture at Catholic University, we took just one AutoCAD class in five years.  Everything was still done by hand.  I’m not suggesting we go back to that, but in my experience a hand sketch can create quite an impact.



From the Ancient Greek word σχέδιος – schedios, "temporary” (leave it to those Greeks!) a sketch is a “rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work”.

Hand sketching is an art form. It’s not as defined and can be less intimidating to clients than a CAD drawing, which almost looks like a finished product where all the decisions have already been made.

This freehand process allows us, as designers and architects, to record our ideas on paper and quickly communicate these ideas to our clients. Whether you are helping your client visualize a preliminary concept or

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