The Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, California, was visited by Rob Imrie, December 2011, to consider what a universally designed space feels like to be in and how it works as a space. The centre piece of the main building is a helical ramp to the second floor, placed behind the glazed facade facing the main entry plaza. It is a beautiful piece of design, with aesthetic curves and a striking colour scheme providing the means to way find and distinguish between different elements of the building. The interior is spacious and contains diverse seating areas to enable people to sit in a conventional way or lie down to relieve back pain or if fatigued. There are water fountains creating directional noise, and placed in strategic points to guide vision impaired people.
Bathrooms have state of the art facilities including wide doors, and lever taps that can be operated in a range of ways depending on a person’s needs. The building features much more than I have ever seen anywhere else in the world and it is particularly good with its siting beside a public transit facility that is easy to get to and well connected with options to use steps and lifts. The process of designing the building involved a wide range of stake holders and was possible because of the local politics and community commitment to providing the very best of design for all, irrespective of who they are or how their bodies may perform in space.