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Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2(1), 4;

Designing from a Disabled Body: The Case of Architect Marta Bordas Eddy

KU Leuven, Department of Architecture, Research[x]Design, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
(Full) Scale Architecten, 3010 Kessel-Lo (Leuven), Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing for the Body)
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Studies on design, disability and phenomenology offer rich insights into how the designed environment is experienced by people with different abilities. In architectural design, this experience is only starting to become recognized as a valuable resource for designers. Considering disability as a particular kind of experience, we report on the focused ethnography of architect Marta Bordas Eddy’s design practice. We analyze how her design practice and outcomes connect with her embodied experience of being a wheelchair user and the role of architecture therein. We interviewed Marta, her sister/co-worker and her life partner/co-habitant, gathered design documents, and analyzed the house she designed for and by herself. Our study highlights how Marta’s experience of being disabled, combined with her background, informs how she assesses design and establishes distinct architectural qualities. Being a disabled person and a designer enables Marta to detect problems in an intuitive body-based manner and think of solutions at the same time. The analysis of Marta’s house moreover raises awareness of architecture’s role in (disabled) people’s lives insofar it can support or impair human capabilities. It challenges prevailing views of what a house for a disabled person looks and is like, and how design can neutralize apparently restricted capabilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: architecture; disability experience; design practice; embodiment; technology architecture; disability experience; design practice; embodiment; technology

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Pérez Liebergesell, N.; Vermeersch, P.-W.; Heylighen, A. Designing from a Disabled Body: The Case of Architect Marta Bordas Eddy. Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2018, 2, 4.

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