Five multi-discipinary teams of designers and architects holed up in the Morgan Hotel in Dublin on 6 November and worked through the night to deliver design responses to the Challenge, for the first 24 Hour Universal Design Challenge to be held in Ireland.
Organised during Design Week by the Centre for Excellence in Univeral Design (CEUD) at the National Disability Authority (NDA) and Trinity Haus, the aim was to raise awareness among the design community and the public of how universal design could transform the built environment of Dublin's historic city centre.
Initially, the main tourist route from Trinity College, which houses the Book of Kells, to the Guinness Brewery, was divided into five sections, one for each team. However, a large-scale demonstration by public sector workers on 6 November forced a change of plan. Five alternative routes were selected running north and south of the River Liffey, each with a different set of challenges.
The teams were asked to take a journey with their disabled design partner along their assigned route and using insights gained from this journey design an inclusive intervention or set of interventions that would improve the journey for people of any age, size or ability.
The results were presented at a public event the following afternoon at the Digital Exchange, chaired by Sean McNulty of the Institute of Designers in Ireland. There was a keynote speech by Challenge patron Michael Wolff and Dublin's Lord Mayor, Emer Costello.
The Judge's prize went to Team M, led by architect Peter Crowley of Pac Studio for 'What a Load of Bollards!' - which they described as: 'an innovative reconfiguration of a current obstruction into a valuable navigational marker that turns a problem into an opportunity. Dublin becomes a city you can meander through by getting the bollards to work in a simple and inclusive way.'
Team A, led by Justin Knecht, from the Centre for Design Innovation in Sligo, won the audience prize for 'My Way', an online service that allows people to navigate the built environment by the route most appropriate to their needs.