Architecture, at its core, combines art and science to enhance the human experience. Beyond aesthetic appeal, its true essence is fostering belonging, connection, and inclusivity. It’s more than tangible structures; inclusive architecture is a philosophy celebrating diversity and individuality and creating empowering environments for everyone.
Accommodating People and Elevating Experiences
One of the fundamental principles of inclusive architecture is universal design. It aims to create spaces that are accessible and usable by people of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and ages.
The Eldeco Centre, a mixed-use commercial building in New Delhi, resonates with the urban planning induced in Malviya Nagar. Individuals become part of the inclusive ecosystem of reaching the facility by the convenient Delhi Metro or a low-floor bus to accommodate wheelchairs. Maximising inclusivity and comfort for individuals with disabilities, the building is designed without any sudden elevation changes covered by steps.
Universal design for a space covers doorways, corridors, signage, and assistive technologies, ensuring inclusivity for individuals with diverse needs making it people-centric, a core ideology at Design Forum International (DFI).
Celebrating Diversity and Cultural Heritage via Design Elements
Culturally inclusive architecture often uses local materials, traditional design elements, and symbols that resonate with the community. It may involve creating spaces that accommodate specific cultural practices or traditions, such as prayer rooms, community gathering areas, or spaces for traditional crafts and celebrations. Vanijya Bhawan, an office complex for the Department of Commerce, carefully blends with the historic planning, based at Lutyens Delhi, near India Gate. Whilst balancing classical influences with modern coherence, the building honours the urban identity shaped over a century.
Crafting Spaces for Diversity, Empowerment, and Belonging
The architecture of inclusivity is not merely a set of guidelines or a checklist of features; it is a mindset, a commitment to creating spaces that embrace diversity, empower individuals, and foster a sense of belonging for all. A reflection of the same is found with the development of Sobti Sapphire, an upcoming high-end residential intervention. The idea draws inspiration from traditional village life, where people felt connected to others and never felt lonely. By creating a community where everyone owns a part of the land, this project is envisaged to foster a sense of togetherness and belonging.
Inclusive architecture goes beyond addressing specific disabilities; it aims to craft universally welcoming spaces. Architects are responsible for defying norms and integrating inclusivity into the core of design. This approach ensures functional spaces and cultivates a sense of belonging and empowerment. In essence, inclusive architecture is an embodiment of empathy, understanding, and humanity, celebrating the diverse experiences and perspectives within our communities.