Aimi Hamraie

Architecture and Access: Aimi Hamraie

Fall 2018 / Experiments in Pedagogy
Architecture and Access
Organized by Gabriel Cira and Emily Watlington

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) outlines requirements for architectural accessibility. While the adoption of this code was monumental for disability rights, serving as minimum requirements for architects who might otherwise not consider the needs of disabled people, it unfortunately frames “access” as an exclusively architectural concern while also inhibiting experimentation or negotiation.

As Marta Russell posits in her 1998 book Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract, ramps—non-ambulatory access
to buildings—have been privileged over other issues including socio-economic access. Further, the code has limited provisions that accommodate evolving conceptions of difference, disability, and neurodivergence shaped by the burgeoning output of disability scholars and activists of the past thirty years.

This two-week workshop will feature a series of themed duet-style lectures with a range of expert artists, theorists, architects, and activists. The events will be open to the public, and the students that are enrolled in the workshop will serve respondents. They will be assigned readings in the beginning of the semester that will equip them to do so, and debrief in two seminar-style workshop sessions. The themes are: Body Extensions and Environ- ment Hacks, Technorealism, Code and Care, and Universal Access and Community-based Practice. Students will leave equipped with a critical vocabulary to incorporate disability concerns into their practices, and will be exposed to leading voices in disability design and theory. The workshop proposes vital unaddressed avenues of design thinking that should always be part of architectural pedagogy and practice.


Sara Hendren and Wendy Jacob
6-8 pm

David Gissen
5-7 PM

Mara Mills and MIT Biomechatronics
6-8 PM

Aimi Hamraie, David Mitchell/Sharon Snyder
5-7 PM

Aimi Hamraie