Universal Design

Beautiful, functional spaces that empower everyone to participate fully 

Bright ramp connecting first and second floors of Ed Roberts Campus. Image from our Universal Design Summit 7 Courtesy of LEDDY MAYTUM STACY Architects

Most practicing architects and builders are taught ADA Code Compliance. Some view the exercise as adding cost to a design without adding value. For these uninspired builders, the final designs are often so poor that they serve no one well. Building just to the minimum standards of ADA Code makes disability an afterthought, a compliance checkbox. Conventional ADA-compliant construction often includes unsightly ramps and inconvenient entrances. By contrast, Universal Design assumes nothing, welcomes all, and promotes inclusion. 

Universal Design is a design philosophy that creates built environments and products that can be used, accessed, and understood by everyone to the greatest extent possible, regardless of age, size, or disability. It goes beyond basic ADA compliance to create physical and digital spaces that are equally welcoming to all people.  

Since our founding, Starkloff has been a leading expert in Universal Design. On a biennial basis, we host the Universal Design Summit, North America’s premier conference on Universal Design. The Summit brings together architects, engineers, builders, developers, interior designers, disability advocates, and interested community members from across the world. Presenters showcase universally designed facilities and products and share design strategies and innovations to push the field of Universal Design forward. 

Thanks to the efforts of Universal Design advocates, St. Louis landmarks like the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum and Gateway Arch Museum have been masterfully renovated according to the principles of Universal Design, offering a far more complete and rewarding experience for guests of all abilities. 

More program details coming soon!