Inclusive design and co-design practices emerging in several design disciplines demonstrate the need for new ways of understanding and practising design. Both design approaches attempt to restore the feedback loop between processes of design and practices of use that got interrupted since the industrial revolution. This restoring remains limited, however: even if users are involved in design, designers cannot gain direct access to their experience.

With the support of the KU Leuven Research Fund the Research[x]Design group starts a 4-year research project to explore the potential of embodying user experience in architectural design. To this end, it focuses on disability experience as a particular kind of user experience. By documenting and analysing the design practices and outcomes of architects who have become disabled, the project seeks to contribute to design research and practice: it will challenge prevailing notions of design and the role of user experience therein, and it will invite and enable architects to reconsider this role as enhancing rather than detracting from design quality.

Would you like more information about the project, do you have suggestions for the project team, or would you like to stay informed about the project results? Please contact ann.heylighen@kuleuven.be

Picture: © Chris Downey