Architecture For Everyone

In the UK, the Bespoke Access Awards are encouraging architects to think beyond basic accessibility, and apply fresh thinking and innovation to architecture, design and services for people with disabilities.

The mission of the Bespoke Access Awards is “Better design to improve the hotel experience,” for all guests, but in particular demonstrating innovation in designing for those with disabilities. “Ideas could address the experience from pre-arrival, to the front door, to any room or service within a hotel,” says the Bespoke Access Awards website.

The awards are inspiring fresh thinking. Hospitality industry website The Caterer.com, says many of the design concepts entered in the 2017 competition have been adopted by properties across the UK, and hotels as far as Tokyo have registered their interest in the concepts.

 The CEO of Bespoke Hotels himself is a person with a disability. He has become known as a disability-rights champion within the hotel industry. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph he says, “Forty-seven per cent of hotel guests answered ‘no’ when asked if they would be happy to relocate to the disabled room. It’s considered a demotion, what with the handrails in the shower and the plethora of gadgets dangling from the walls.” Sheppard aspires to turn this statistic on its head, and hopes that, with the success of this year’s entries, in a few years’ time hotel guests will be requesting to upgrade to the fully accessible suite. 

The competition is sponsored by Bespoke Hotels, a UK-based chain of 170 hotels world-wide and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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