Architecture as a Matter of Inclusion: Constructing Disability Awareness in Architectural Education
Environmental and anatomic factors determine the limits of an individual's participation in daily activities. Design decisions determine the inclusivity of the built environment. Within this respect, disability studies take place in the architecture curriculum. This study investigates the disability and design relation within the context of architectural education. It seeks to answer how the experiencing method affects the approach of architecture students to the disability concept. For this purpose, the experiences and activities of undergraduate students of the "Disability in Design" elective course in the Department of Architecture at Duzce University have been analysed and evaluated. Within the scope of the study, enrolled students were asked to form 3–5 membered groups, choose a disability type, and experience the campus according to the determined disability. Data sources of this study are video recordings, empathy maps, student groups' reports, and observation results. The students' work was analysed and discussed to identify the effects of experiencing on disability awareness. The participating students of this study showed that through experiencing, they could relate the designed environment to the physical, emotional, and social aspects of disability. This study reveals that the experiencing method can be a powerful tool to help students comprehend the influential role of design decisions in the participation of different user groups in daily life.