Designing Inclusively, Educating Globally with Architects

Designing Inclusively, Educating Globally with Architects

Thursday, February 22, 2024
Webcast: 2 hours
10:00 am – 12:00 am Eastern time | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Central Time

Sponsored by the Institute for Human-Centered Design (IHCD).

Register for the free webcast using Eventbrite

With this webcast, IHCD introduces an expanded education commitment. We will roll out a mix of webcasts, podcasts, interviews, and case studies this year. We believe that sharing stories and real experience delivers the most impact.

Chris Downey lost his sight completely mid-career and created a new identity as the Blind Architect. He digs deeper on every project to create multi-sensory solutions.

Deepak KC, with a physical disability since birth, has worked on global initiatives with the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Union of Architects to make inclusive architecture a central goal of equal rights in the Global South.

Through sharing their experiences, we’ll demonstrate the themes that we will continue to explore: the power of design in social equity, the value of lived experience and participatory design, and the role of media.

About the Speakers:

Chris Downey, President, Architecture for the Blind

Chris Downey has 35 years of experience. Since 2008, he’s leveraged this altered perspective as a strength, and specializes in cultural, transit and technology projects for the blind and low vision.

As the inaugural UC Berkeley, Department of Architecture Visiting Professor of Practice in Social Justice in Design, he taught a graduate architecture studio in 2022 and seminar in 2023.

Downey has been featured in numerous media stories and exhibitions, including 60 MinutesTED Talk, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Deepak KC, 2023-2024 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow

Deepak KC is an architect, accessible design consultant, and disability rights advocate in Nepal.

As a consultant for the World Bank Group Nepal’s Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project, he ensured that homes were fully accessible for people with disabilities. KC has also worked with the International Union of Architects (UIA) to promote Inclusive Design.

Currently, KC is a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow for 2023-2024 and will pursue Urban and Regional Planning studies at MIT.

Project Overviews:

United States of America

[Four (4) photos are included on the Eventbrite registration page. Descriptive captions are listed below.]

The Life Skills Training Center at Washington State School for the Blind, in Vancouver, WA, prioritizes the Blind, Low Vision (BLV) community. The Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (or the LIFTT program), a 9-unit residence, integrates Inclusive Design principles with multi-sensory formats, tactile elements, and outdoor spaces. Chris Downey consulted on its development.

[Photo 1 caption] (TOP) Concrete that is scored at different scales in contrasting colors at the building’s entry supports blind and low vision users as they identify and navigate their way to the front door. Access is identical for all users – simple and intuitive. [Photo 2 caption] (BOTTOM) Functional spaces for residents also double as a space to gather and socialize to facilitate building a supportive community. Images from Life Skills Training Center at Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, Washington. Photography by Lincoln Barbour. All rights reserved by Chris Downey.


Accessible toilets and public infrastructure are vital human rights. Despite a 90% increase in toilet accessibility in Nepal since 1990, this doesn’t ensure access for all, including people with disabilities. Initiated by Deepak KC, Ensuring Toilets for All: Universal Access Public Toilet Project receives support from Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) and the Society of Nepalese Architects.

[Photo 3 caption] (TOP) Deepak KC and team for the Universal Access Public Toilet Project in Nepal. [Photo 4 caption] (BOTTOM) A new design for public toilet. This project was the winning design from the professional category and was subsequently chosen for implementation. Images from Ensuring Toilets for All: Universal Access Public Toilet Project in Nepal. All rights reserved by Deepak KC.