Human Rights Watch: Universal Design and Sustainability Consulting

Market: Commercial
Type: Office
Location: Washington, DC
Developer/Owner: : Human Rights Watch
Architect : Unispace
Office Size: 14,171 sq ft

Project Background

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), a long standing organization dedicated to investigating and reporting on the abuse of human rights around the world, recently renovated its new leased office space at 1275 K Street, NW, Washington, DC, and hired Steven Winter Associates (SWA) to provide Universal Design and Sustainability consulting services. SWA first became acquainted with HRW in 2016 when it was hired to provide Universal Design recommendations for its New York City headquarters office location.

Project Services

Steven Winter Associates’ Accessibility Team reviewed the renovation plans, specifications, and FF&Es and provided Universal Design recommendations intended to create an office environment that accommodates the widest range of employees, regardless of ability, age, size, gender, language, cultural understanding, and other factors of human diversity. For HRW employees, SWA developed an educational handout summarizing the Universal Design recommendations implemented by the HRW. SWA’s Sustainability Team worked closely with the design team to ensure that the interior fit out was designed with the best practices for sustainable design. SWA coordinated a sustainable design charette and provided advisory services to ensure best practices for sustainable design were successfully integrated into the final fitout as well.

Energy Conservation, Health, and Universal Design Features:

  • Energy Efficient LED lighting used throughout the office.
  • All spaces have occupancy or daylight sensors for lighting.
  • Emphasis on selecting healthy materials, including low-emitting products such as flooring, ceiling systems, and paints and coatings.
  • Fulfillment of the Eight Goals of Universal Design throughout the office:
    1. Body Fit: Accommodating a wide range of body sizes and abilities.
    2. Comfort: Keeping demands within desirable limits of body function and perception.
    3. Awareness: Ensuring that critical information for use is easily perceived.
    4. Understanding: Making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear, and unambiguous.
    5. Wellness: Contributing to health promotion, avoidance of disease and protection from hazards.
    6. Social Integration: Treating all groups with dignity and respect.
    7. Personalization: Incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences.
    8. Cultural Appropriateness: Respecting and reinforcing cultural values and the social and environmental context of any design project.