SWA Collaborates to Advance Inclusive Design as Building Performance
Washington, DC, New York, NY, Norwalk, CT, Boston, MA – Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) recently launched a new partnership dedicated to advancing the firm’s work in inclusive design. The collaboration, spearheaded by Peter A. Stratton, Managing Director of Accessibility Services at SWA and Victoria Lanteigne, Owner and Principal Consultant of VL Consulting Co., aims to align inclusive design with sustainability, health, and other high-priority building performance initiatives.
Stratton and Lanteigne have previously integrated concepts of inclusive design into building rating systems through their contributions to the LEEDv4 Inclusive Design pilot credit and the WELLv2 Accessible and Universal Design feature. However, more work is needed to graduate inclusive design from its rank as an optional subset of building rating standards. “We want everyone to understand that environments are only truly sustainable, healthy, and resilient when they are also equally usable, beneficial, and inclusive to all,” said Lanteigne.
The team will explore innovative applications of inclusive design across disability, gender, culture, LGBTQ+ identity, language, among other factors of human diversity. Stratton and Lanteigne are also excited to introduce a participatory inclusive design model centered on connecting architectural project teams with a diverse range of building users and community members. “Inclusive design is not a templated approach,” said Stratton. “We intend to bring experiences and viewpoints to the forefront of the conversation to create truly usable and meaningfully inclusive environments.”
Remaining central to the team’s work will be a focus on inclusive design for people with disabilities. Stratton has dedicated his career to promoting the importance of removing environmental barriers through accessible and inclusive design. “Federal, state, and local regulations and building codes focus primarily on structural access, omitting strategies that address cognitive, sensory, and mental and emotional disabilities,” said Stratton. “When overlayed with accessibility requirements, inclusive design is an extremely valuable approach that ensures comprehensive access and usability for people with varying disabilities.”
Stratton and Lanteigne uniquely approach inclusive design as an evolving process for an emerging market that can impact equity through the design of buildings, spaces, and communities. “We believe inclusive design can be a pathway for effectively addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the context of the built environment,” said Lanteigne. “Through our work together, we are eager to contribute to the next iteration of inclusive design to further advance social justice.”
Peter A. Stratton is the Managing Director of Accessibility Services at Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Under his leadership, the accessibility consulting team at SWA provides services that drive social justice in the built environment by helping clients break down physical barriers to access that have traditionally marginalized people with disabilities. Stratton sits on the WELL Community Concept Advisory Committee to provide guidance on accessibility and inclusive design.
Victoria Lanteigne, WELL AP is the Owner and Principal Consultant of VL Consulting Co., a practice dedicated to advancing healthy, equitable, and inclusive environments. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree from the College of Design at North Carolina State University where she is focusing her research on inclusive building experiences. Lanteigne sits on the WELL Health Equity Committee to advise on Universal Design and health equity; she is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP).